If you have chosen a bicycle as a means to getting more active, fitter, and healthier, then you have chosen well. Biking is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, but it's important to put in some work before seeing some progress. But how much effort should one really put in before significantly losing pounds?
Workouts that are planned well will help you maximize your time on your two-wheels. Pedalling harder will make you lose weight faster but like everybody else, it's important to consider gradual progress. Begin slowly and as your health improves gradually, you can intensify your work outs, also gradually.
Light workouts are the starting point. The intensity levels of physical activities can be measured in other ways such as oxygen consumption; but the heart rate is the most commonly used method. Light or low intensity would mean that your heart is working at about 40% - 54% of its maximum heart rate (MHR) or 200 beats less your age. Your heart rate is at 68 to 92 beats per minute (bpm) and other physical cues are the absence of sweating unless it is a hot and humid and no perceived change in your breathing pattern. With light biking, you will burn about 300 to 500 calories per hour, depending on your weight. One pound is lost for every 3,500 calories burned. So with light biking, you'll tend to lose a pound in 7 to 10 hours.
Moderate biking is when your heart is beating at 55 to 69 percent of your MHR or 93 to 118 bpm. Here, you will notice that you will sweat for about 10 minutes after your workout and your breathing is deeper and more frequent. This will help you burn about 400 to 600 calories or one pound in about 6 to 8 hours.
For vigorous or high intensity biking, your heart will be beating at 70 to 80 percent of your MHR or more than 119 bpm, you'll break a sweat after 5 minutes into the workout with breathing becoming rapid and deep. With vigorous biking, you'll lose a pound in approximately 4 to 6 hours.
Know that whether your biking is light or vigorous, you will still burn up energy and this will be helpful to your goal. The more intense and longer your work out, the more calories are burned and more weight is lost.