Smartphone data shows that bicycle couriers riding in cities for food delivery services are the fastest things on wheels, beating even motorized two-wheelers from the same companies. A fitness guru has now claimed that these couriers are also doing a job that burns more calories than any other profession.
Jane Wake found that courier cyclists burn 1,080 calories per hour on average. Firefighting is the second best job for fat burning, using 845 calories per hour. A plumber burns just 247 calories per hour while physical education isn’t much better, with a PR teacher burning just 282 calories per hour.
Wake regularly appears on TV shows as a fitness expert and has a background in sports science.
She based her fat-burning calculation on an adult male weighing 154 pounds, and was tasked with doing so by London-based food delivery service Deliveroo.
“Becoming a Deliveroo rider requires a certain level of fitness but it’s almost guaranteed to get you into better shape,” she said.
“There’s an obvious cardio workout, however all riders improve their balance, and both core and leg strength too. Carrying orders from door to door whilst negotiating steps and stair cases will improve agility, speed, upper and lower body strength which is why this really so good for the whole body.
“Biggest of all is the incentive to move fast. Activity that’s built into your lifestyle can be far more effective for long term fitness, health and weight loss.
Deliveroo is often criticized for using “gig economy” self-employed riders, many of whom will be working to earn money not burn fat. However, Deliveroo’s head of communications Joe Groves countered: “A large number of our riders tell us they took up the role partly due to the health benefits associated with it.”
Full disclosure: as revealed in The Guardian this time last year I spend eight hours per week riding for Deliveroo in my home city of Newcastle upon Tyne. I do this for fitness.
As I wrote at the time: “There’s a way to get healthy from fast food: the trick is to deliver it, not eat it. I’m 52, but am now fitter than I was at 22. As a gig-economy food delivery rider I’m getting paid to melt my middle-age spread. I … have lost 5kg. Although I only do a few evening hours per week, I have already banked enough cash to pay for a trip to see the Giro d’Italia in May. My wife is a hospital doctor and works weird hours. Most nights we don’t sit down to eat until 11pm, and by delivering gourmet burgers between 7 and 10pm [on the weekend] I can squeeze in exercise when otherwise I wouldn’t have done a jot.”
Using an Apple Watch I find that I burn about 700 calories per hour. Not every minute of the hour is spent riding. I weigh 133 pounds.