Cycling can be as hard or as easy as you want to make it. Granted, there’s nothing easy about Sir Chris Hoy hitting 50mph on two wheels. Nor does Chris Froome covering 2,200 miles over 23 days on the Tour de France seem like a whirl around the park. But for many, cycling can be the easiest way to burn fat.
Let’s not over complicate things. Any time you move your body you burn calories. It’s known as the thermic effect of exercise. The problem is too many people attack the gym, bike or weights room with too much vigour and not enough common sense. What this means is day one of training was so hard, day two never arrives.
It’s widely known in strength and conditioning circles that training at a moderate intensity can have a positive effect on your immune system. In fact, a light jog or leisurely bike ride can burn calories and stimulate the immune system. But high intensity, balls-to-the-wall type training can have a negative effect. Research from the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Copenhagen found high intensity training causes oxygen usage to shoot through the roof, increasing lactic acid accumulation in the muscles and prompting the body to pull alkaline reserves from bones. This can result in the immune system’s efficiency being reduced for anything from three hours to three days which means a week of solid training is never going to happen.
Which is exactly why a leisurely bike ride — avoiding any mountainous, steep, leg-burning inclines — that gently burns calories and stimulates the immune system might be the best and easiest way to burn fat.