Is Cycling Every Day Too Much? How Often Should You Cycle

Our resident health & fitness expert Ben Gibbons examines the benefits and risks of training every day

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reviewed by Rory McAllister

If you’ve succumbed to the infectious allure of cycling, you know the routine – waking up with thoughts of your trusty bike, spending your days contemplating the next ride, and drifting off to sleep with dreams of the open road.

But amidst this love affair with cycling, a crucial question lingers: Is cycling every day too much? In my career as a personal trainer and sports massage therapist, it’s a question that I’m asked regularly by clients.

Fear not, fellow cycling enthusiasts. Cycling every day is not inherently problematic, but the devil lies in the details – duration, intensity, and your body’s unique response to the physiological demands of cycling are key.

In this comprehensive article, we will ride through the cardiovascular advantages, mental health boosts, and weight management wonders that going for a cycle every day can bring.

We’ll also discuss the risks and potential drawbacks of cycling every day and discuss the possibility of a more balanced approach.

Read on!

Close-up of a cyclists hands on a bike's handlebars on a blue background.
Credit: BikeTips Staff

Is Cycling Every Day Too Much?

Riding a bike every day can be a valuable and attainable goal, but whether it is too much for your body depends on your fitness level, training experience, and overall health.

If it is your first time cycling, getting out for a bike ride each day will likely be overwhelming for your body as it tries to respond and repair to the physical demands of cycling. However, if you are a seasoned Tour de France athlete, then 30 minutes of low to moderate cycling will barely be noticeable.

Understanding how often to cycle involves a careful consideration of both duration and intensity, as these factors play a crucial role in determining the appropriateness of cycling every day.

The notion of biking daily is not inherently problematic; however, the key lies in how long and how hard you ride, especially when setting goals and aiming for progress.

How many miles should I bike in a day? Individual differences come into play when it comes to cycling daily. Some individuals can comfortably cover 10 miles on a daily basis without encountering issues, while others may find this more challenging.

Some cyclists would be able to cover 50 miles a day without much undue stress.

Those who find 10 miles challenging may find it easier after a period of progressively increasing their weekly cycling volume, but in the short term, it may prove too much.

Determining whether cycling every day is too much for you involves assessing your base fitness level. Your base fitness is the foundation that allows you to engage in exercise comfortably for a realistic duration.

For instance, if you find yourself exhausted after riding for 20 minutes, it becomes essential to tailor your daily cycling goals to a more manageable 10 to 15 minutes until your body becomes accustomed to the routine.

Intensity is a critical factor. If you consistently ride at your maximum speed or engage in high-intensity intervals every day, there is a heightened risk of burnout or injury.

The strain placed on your body by such intense activities on a daily basis exceeds the capacity for sustainable, long-term performance. It is crucial to strike a balance that aligns with your fitness level, gradually increasing duration or intensity to avoid overexertion and potential harm.

Therefore, cycling every day can offer numerous benefits, and you should absolutely try it if it’s something you want to do. Just be sure to find the right balance tailored to your fitness level to ensure a sustainable and healthy routine.

Benefits Of Cycling 7 Days A Week

As a daily activity, cycling can offer a host of benefits. Here are a few notable benefits you may experience:

#1: Cycling Reduces The Risk of Cardiovascular diseases

At the heart of the matter is the cardiovascular health benefits that cycling offers.

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting, daily cycling contributes to overall heart health. It elevates your heart rate, promoting a robust cardiovascular system that wards off heart disease and high blood pressure.

#2: Cycling Positively Impacts Mental Wellbeing

Studies have found that exercising in an outdoor environment, specifically through cycling, positively impacts executive function and mental health in adults.

Notably, the study revealed that the e-bike group demonstrated similar or even greater effects than the conventional pedal cyclists, implying that the benefits are not solely attributed to strenuous physical exertion.

Both pedal cycles and e-bikes facilitate increased physical activity and outdoor engagement, with e-bikes potentially offering additional advantages.

#3: It’s Convenient

Cycling presents a readily accessible exercise option without the need for specialized facilities. Unlike driving to the gym every day with a spare change of clothes, you can jump on your bike and head out the door.

Bicycles are generally cost-effective, and indoor cycling on a stationary bike offers a convenient alternative on a wet and windy day.

#4: It’ll Help You Build Muscle Strength

Although cycling is commonly thought of as an aerobic exercise, the repetitive nature of force and muscle engagement play a role in facilitating muscle development, particularly for individuals who are new to exercise.

It’s not just strength training that will get you big muscular quads and hamstrings!

The process of cycling initiates a stimulus-response cycle within the body. Pedaling stimulates specific muscle groups, prompting the body to adapt in response to the demands imposed by the activity.

This ongoing cycle of stimulus and response contributes to the building of muscle.

#5: Environmentally Friendly

Whether you commute to work or not, opting for regular cycling over motorized transportation aligns with environmental sustainability goals, reducing one’s carbon footprint.

#6: Low-impact Form of Exercise

That cycling is a low-impact exercise is especially advantageous, making it accessible for individuals aiming to exercise without subjecting their joints to undue stress.

BikeTips' Robbie Ferri on a training ride.
BikeTips’ Robbie Ferri on a training ride. © Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

The Risks Of Biking Every Day

Despite its merits, caution must be exercised, as biking every day is not without its potential drawbacks.

Here are a few considerations that warrant attention:

#1: Increased Injury Risk

Performing the same activity every day – in this case, cycling – places a considerable emphasis on the same muscles and tendons, thereby escalating the risk of overuse injuries such as muscle strains, tendonitis, and stress fractures.

The consistent strain on specific muscle groups without adequate recovery can lead to chronic issues if ignored.

You can mitigate the risk by adopting a varied training routine, incorporating rest days, and paying attention to one’s body signals to prevent strains and fractures.

#2: Overtraining Syndrome

It’s essential to recognize that, sometimes, your body requires rest. Cycling every day may bring about increased cortisol levels, potentially leading to overtraining syndrome.

The significance of rest days cannot be emphasized enough. Rest days are not a sign of weakness but a strategic move to prevent overtraining. Progressive increases in cycling must be complemented by adequate rest to allow the body to recover.

Overtraining syndrome is marked by various physical and mental symptoms, including feelings of sluggishness, low energy levels, changes in appetite, hormonal imbalances, difficulty sleeping, irritability, mood fluctuations, compromised immunity, and a decline in athletic performance.

This condition arises when the body doesn’t get sufficient recovery time, and the cumulative stress of daily cycling takes a toll on both physical and mental well-being.

To maintain a healthy and sustainable cycling routine, it’s crucial to incorporate rest days into your schedule and listen to your body’s signals to prevent the onset of overtraining syndrome.

How Often To Cycle: Finding The Right Frequency

Determining how often to cycle hinges on your fitness level and individual goals.

Whether you’re embarking on your first ride or you’re a seasoned cyclist, the importance of progressively increasing your cycling routine cannot be overstated.

Beginners benefit from starting with shorter rides and gradually intensifying, while experienced cyclists might explore high-intensity intervals or longer rides.

In my experience, working with runners and cyclists who have a specific goal or distance in mind, 3 or 4 sessions per week is often the sweet spot.

Ensure that Zone 2 Training makes up the bulk of cycling, constituting around 60-75% of the total training volume.

This balance fosters the necessary physiological adaptations, such as increased capillarization and improved mitochondrial function, ultimately translating to enhanced cycling performance.

Can You Lose Weight By Cycling Every Day?

If reaching a healthy weight or losing body fat is your goal, daily cycling can be a valuable component of a weight-loss strategy.

Cycling is a potent calorie-burning activity and may help promote weight loss by establishing a caloric deficit (burning more calories than consumed).

This deficit is vital for shedding those extra pounds; on average, a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories is required for a weekly weight loss of one pound.

So, how long would you have to cycle each day for effective weight loss? The calories burned during cycling hinge on factors like ride intensity, body weight, and duration.

For instance, a low-moderate effort may burn around 300 calories per hour, while a high-maximum effort could result in roughly 1000 calories burned. These figures are approximations, subject to variation based on individual factors such as size, age, experience, and effort exerted.

That said, the deficit won’t necessarily come about just because of cycling every day. Weight loss is a multifaceted process influenced by diet, overall physical activity, and individual metabolism.

Complementing cycling with a balanced diet is essential, and consulting with healthcare professionals or personal trainers can help personalize your exercise routine to meet specific needs and goals.

Riding A Bike Every Day: Final Thoughts

From cardio benefits to mental health and weight management, daily cycling offers a spectrum of advantages.

The key lies in navigating this terrain with a balanced approach, progressively increasing your cycling routine and steering clear of the pitfalls of overtraining.

So, gear up and find your rhythm!

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As a qualified sports massage therapist and personal trainer with eight years' experience in the field, Ben plays a leading role in BikeTips' injury and recovery content. Alongside his professional experience, Ben is an avid cyclist, splitting his time between his road and mountain bike. He is a particular fan of XC ultra-endurance biking, but nothing beats bikepacking with his mates. Ben has toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom, French Alps, and the Pyrenees ticking off as many iconic cycling mountains as he can find. He currently lives in the Picos de Europa of Spain's Asturias region, a stone's throw from the legendary Altu de 'Angliru - a spot that allows him to watch the Vuelta a España roll past his doorstep each summer.

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