This question assumes most other variables are constant. Assume that a bicycle rider rides ("exercise time") the exact same distance over the exact same course for a 2 hour duration.

During one 2-hour session, the rider stops every 30 minutes and takes a 20 minute break, before beginning the next 30 minutes, for a total of 4x30 minute sessions.

During the other 2-hour session, the rider simply rides non-stop for 2 hours straight.

Will this rider roughly burn the same number of calories? I say roughly because there are a few other implications that I've noted. I actually did this experiment and what I realized is that:

When I rode for 2 hours straight, I did not stop and thus the cardio workout was slightly more consistent - meaning, my heartrate never dropped below about 130bpm.

However, when I took the breaks, my HR would drop way down to resting, and this also implies that I had to slow to 0 and then "get back up to speed" for probably 2-4 minutes in total. BUT, I also noticed that when I took the breaks and then re-entered my ride, my muscles were more rested and I was actually more willing and able to increase my speed/intensity level for each 30 minute block. This is likely due to lactic acid being removed during the break, perhaps restore of ATP, etc... Meaning, I effectively turned 1 long workout into 4 sprint-style workouts.

Is there any useful information comparing calorie expenditure of this type of physical activity? Is there any further analysis which would suggest for example, the more breaks the rider took the more or less calories they would burn?


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.