a woman exercising with an exercise bike

Are Exercise Bikes a Good Option for Trying to Lose Weight?

Juhi

Written by health expert Juhi. Last updated:

Exercise bikes are popular cardio equipment because both beginners and regular exercisers alike can use them. If you want to shed some extra pounds, exercise bikes are good for losing weight. Riding a stationary bike will not only help you lose weight but will also make your heart stronger and tighten your abdominal muscles. Various factors affect how long you’ll need to use an exercise bike to achieve your weight loss goals. As well, keep in mind that proper form is essential to reap the full benefits of an exercise bike and to prevent injuries.

What is the Best Way to Lose Weight on an Exercise Bike?

To get the most of your workout on an exercise bike and maximize weight loss, use the resistance level on the bike. An exercise bike works core and leg muscles, and a higher resistance level forces you to put in more effort throughout the workout. Choose a resistance based on your fitness level and your weight loss goals. It’s a good idea to start slowly and build up the intensity of your workouts.

When you’re using an exercise bike to lose weight, another thing to keep in mind is proper form. You should adjust the height of the saddle to be roughly at hip level. This will allow you to extend your legs comfortably without putting pressure on your joints. The handlebars should also be adjusted so that your back is upright (you shouldn’t have to lean too far forward to reach them). Ask a certified personal trainer to help you with the correct form, if possible.

personal trainer watches a group of girls working out

To lose weight with an exercise bike, you can either use preset workouts, ask a personal trainer to develop a program for you or create your own programs. Some good workouts for weight loss on an exercise bike include:

  • A steady state ride involves riding a stationary bike for up to 60 minutes at a steady speed and resistance level. Do this to build cardiovascular endurance and burn calories and body fat.
  • A hill climb involves starting with a steady state ride, then gradually increasing the resistance every 5 minutes to simulate climbing a hill or weight training. Do this if you want to burn more calories.
  • A speed interval workout involves starting with a warmup, then increasing the speed for 2-minute intervals alternating with a regular pace. This type of high intensity interval training is a great way to build cardiovascular endurance and burn fat.

How Long Do You Need to Use an Exercise Bike to Lose Weight?

First of all, if you don’t know how much weight you need to lose, use a BMI calculator to find out what is a healthy weight for you. That will tell you how many pounds you need to shed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, for every pound of weight you want to lose, you need to burn 3,500 calories.1 Assuming you weigh 185 pounds, riding your stationary bike at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes will burn 311 calories.2 This means that exercise bikes should be ridden for 5.5 hours to lose 1 pound of weight, provided your diet remains the same. Note that if you weigh less, you’ll burn fewer calories. If you weigh more, you’ll burn more.

Remember, the 3,500 calories burned rule is a rough guide because weight loss with an exercise bike depends on various factors like your age, sex, and basal metabolic rate. Here’s a quick guide on how much weight can be lost in different time periods:

  • By riding 60 minutes every day, you can lose 1 pound in 5-6 days
  • By riding 60 minutes every other day, you can lose 1 pound in 11-12 days
  • By riding 30 minutes every day, you can lose 1 pound in 11-12 days
  • By riding 30 minutes every other day, you can lose 1 pound in 22-23 days

Which Exercise Bikes Are Good for Losing Weight?

a group of people exercising together using exercise bikes in the gym

The two main types of stationary bikes are computerized and non-computerized. The latter comes with a host of extra features, but you don’t necessarily need them to lose weight. Both kinds of exercise bikes are good for weight loss. However, if you would like to track your heart rate and use preset workouts for weight loss, a computerized model might work better for you. Here are the different types of stationary bikes you may come across:

  • Fold away exercise bikes are a great option for people who have limited space at home.
  • Stationary recumbent bikes allow you to lean back slightly while riding. The pedals are in front of you rather than below you. This type of exercise bike is great for people with back issues because it provides more lower back support than an upright bike.
  • Spin bikes are popular in gyms and are used for group cycling classes. The workout on a spin bike is similar to riding a mountain bike. There’s a weighted flywheel on the bike that gives you the feeling of riding on a real road with inclines that require more effort.

If you stick to a regular schedule, you can lose weight on an exercise bike no matter what kind it is. What’s more, this cardio workout has several additional health and fitness benefits. Your cardiovascular endurance will increase, your legs will become stronger, and your abdominal muscles will get toned. It’s an all-weather workout that is especially great if you can’t ride a traditional bike or worry about the safety issues associated with riding a bike in traffic.

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