Cycling is a great leisure activity, but if you are bike riding for weight loss you need to structure your workout differently than you would if you are just doing a casual ride with a friend.(©kramon)
Cycling is a great leisure activity, but if you are bike riding for weight loss you need to structure your workout differently than you would if you are just doing a casual ride with a friend.(©kramon)

World Health Day 2019: Bike your way to weight loss, a healthy mind and body

World Health Day 2019: Cycling is efficient, enjoyable, easy to slot into a busy day and, best of all, has emotional, mental and physical health benefits.
By Kiran Kumar Raju
UPDATED ON APR 10, 2019 10:56 AM IST

If you’re looking to get fitter, trimmer and lighter, not to mention healthier, then cycling is a great way to lose weight. It’s efficient, enjoyable, easy to slot into a busy day and, best of all, has emotional, mental as well as physical ones. Besides helping you to burn those calories, cycling reduces your risk of serious diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and keeps your mind active. The good thing is that cycling is a low-impact form of exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all age groups, including young children and adults.

Cycling is a great leisure activity, but if you are bike riding for weight loss you need to structure your workout differently than you would if you are just doing a casual ride with a friend. Follow these tips for losing weight to stay safe, enjoy your workouts and start shedding pounds on the bike:

Set goals basis your body type

Start gradually and know your body limits. It is important to know if you’re fit for cycling or else you might incur an ankle injury and back pain. Cycling makes one feel thoroughly energised. An important factor here is we should always measure the metrics like the distance and time taken to reach from point A to point B, the average speed, if possible.

Use a fitness app or tracker to track your movements, as this will help you understand your performance and will also keep a track of your goals. An average person would burn around 300-500 calories in an intense session, if the range covered is over 15/20 km an hour. The rider should definitely cover 15-20 kms depending upon the terrain and profile of the road conditions. An obese person should start with 10-12 km. One’s endurance levels also depend on the background of the person - if they play other sports that will make them sweat easily.

Watch your diet

It is important to keep your diet under control especially if you’re looking to lose weight. Protein and fibre rich food are beneficial when you’re watching your diet closely. The dietary intake also depends on what the primary goal is, for instance, my goal is weight gain. Therefore, my food and calorie intake are on a higher level, compared to the amount that I will burn during cycling. Similarly, a person looking at weight loss would need to focus on a calorie deficit diet.

Choose the right cycling format

There are different forms of cycling - Road cycling, Mountain biking and Downhill racing. Road cycling being the most difficult in terms of posture, one would need to lean as much as possible on a bike, but a person with belly fat will find it cumbersome. However, over a period of time through practice and a strict diet, a person will be able to burn stubborn fat and improve his/her flexibility on the bike. This means he can go as aggressive on the bike by getting into the aero tuck position. This in turn will help in burning belly fat. It is also important to improve your strength and flexibility through regular strength training.

It’s also extremely important to choose the right bike; Trek has recently introduced two news road bikes; the Doman AL series and Emonda ALR 4 & Emonda ALR 5. Road cycling is more about power and enjoyment on the highways, riding at highest speeds, but when it comes to mountain biking, your whole body plays a major role, not just your legs but also your upper body. You tend to burn more calories compared to road cycling.

Cycling in nature, around trees and in forests is way better than cycling on roads. Personally, I love mountain biking and own two high performance mountain bikes which includes a full suspension MTB - Trek Top Fuel 9.9 and a Hardtail MTB - Trek Procaliber 9.9SL. The Trek Top Fuel 9.9 is one of the fastest full suspension XC mountain bikes in the world.

Get a training partner

While you can certainly put in miles alone, having a training partner or two can help on those days when you’re feeling less motivated to get on the bike. In addition to holding you accountable on early morning rides and providing encouragement when you need it, an experienced training partner can also help you learn about the sport and give you tips and tricks to make your rides more enjoyable.

Lastly, weight reduction varies from a pro rider to a professional athlete or to a generic person who cycles for leisure.

Kiran Kumar Raju is a Trek Pro-Cyclist and National MTB Champion

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