Regular physical activity is one of the most important things a person can do for health and weight loss. This can include a variety of different exercises, and cycling is a great option. Doctors recommend doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week.

The number of calories a person burns while cycling depends on many factors, including the following:

the type of bike
the duration
the weight and height of the person

In general, the heavier a person weighs, the more calories they burn per minute while cycling. Exercise physiologists estimate the number of calories a person burns during physical activity using a measure called the metabolic equivalent of the task. This article explains how many calories a person can burn while riding a bicycle.

How does cycling burn calories?

A person’s basal metabolism is the rate at which their body burns calories to sustain them. This includes calories needed for respiration, circulation and other essential functions. In contrast, active calories are the number of calories a person burns when they are active and exercising.

Cycling is a type of aerobic exercise, known as cardio. As such, it increases a person’s heart rate and breathing. The target heart rate during moderate-intensity activities is approximately 64-76% of a person’s maximum heart rate. During vigorous exercise, the target heart rate should be between 77 and 93% of the maximum heart rate. The term “aerobic” refers to the oxygen a person takes in while breathing. Aerobic exercise can help keep a person’s heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy.

When a person exercises, their body uses oxygen to convert fats and sugars into a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy-carrying molecule that cells use to fuel their processes because it can release energy quickly. The human body expends about 5 calories of energy to consume each liter of oxygen. The more oxygen a person breathes during physical activity, the more calories they burn.

Moderate pace

If a person’s breathing and heart rate are noticeably faster, but they can still carry on a conversation while riding a bike, this is likely moderate-intensity exercise. According to Harvard University, a moderate pace is about 12-14 miles per hour.

Here are the number of calories a person can burn if they cycle at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes:

a 56.7 kg person can burn 210-240 calories
a 70.3 kg person can burn 260 to 298 calories
an 83.9 kg person can burn 311 to 355 calories.

Fast pace

If a person is breathing too hard and too fast to hold a conversation while riding a bike, and their heart rate increases dramatically, this is high intensity exercise.
In general, the higher a person’s speed, the more intense the exercise and the more calories they can burn. This is due to the increased energy required by the body to move the bike faster.

Here are the estimated number of calories people of different weights burn while cycling vigorously for 30 minutes:

a 56.7 kg person can burn between 300 and 495 calories
a 70.3 kg person can burn 372 to 614 calories
an 83.9 kg person can burn 444 to 733 calories.

Stationary bike or outdoor bike

Stationary cycling burns slightly fewer calories than outdoor cycling. However, many people may find it a convenient alternative that suits their lifestyle. A 70.3 kg person riding a stationary bike at a moderate pace for 30 minutes burns 260 calories, while a vigorous bike ride burns 391 calories in the same time.

The indoor stationary bike has several advantages. It can help those who need to plan their exercise time. Spinning classes at the gym, which use exercise bikes, can be a good option. Another reason a person may prefer the indoor cycle is the time of day when they tend to exercise. Cycling outdoors when it is dark can be more dangerous.

Outdoor cycling, on the other hand, has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Outdoor bicycling can be potentially more dangerous than stationary bicycling, due to the presence of other road or trail users. However, people can use the outdoor bike for transportation and exercise, cycling to work or school. This can help motivate a person to maintain their exercise routine and can save money on transportation. According to Harvard University, a 70.3 kg person cycling outdoors at a moderate pace of 19.3 to 22.4 km per hour for 30 minutes can burn about 298 calories. If she is going 20 miles per hour or more, she can burn about 614 calories or more.

Other Considerations

One of the advantages of cycling over other exercises is that a person can do it at their own intensity. For example, she may start with low-intensity training when recovering from injury or illness, and progress to more demanding physical activity as she progresses. A person may also burn more calories cycling over more difficult terrain, such as hilly areas, than riding on a flat surface or using a stationary bike.

Cycling offers more benefits than burning calories.

Some of the many health benefits of frequent cycling include:

better cardiovascular fitness
increased muscle strength and flexibility
better joint mobility
decrease in stress level
improved posture and coordination
bone strengthening
decrease in body fat percentage
prevention or management of certain diseases
reduction of anxiety and depression
30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week, can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Cycling is a good way to do low impact exercise. Running can have a big impact on joints and knees, and can potentially lead to injuries, such as shin syndrome, while cycling poses a lower risk. Cycling can also be an easy way to get 30 minutes of exercise a day, especially if a person already uses a bike to get around.


The number of calories a person burns while cycling depends on a series of factors. Regardless of the type of bike you choose, cycling is a low-impact exercise that can help burn calories and improve overall fitness.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.