People work out for all sorts of reasons. Whether it’s for building muscle, losing weight, or just for aesthetic reasons, exercising can seem complex.
What metrics should you be tracking? Is lifting or cardio better for you?
Whatever question you find yourself asking, it’s important to know that exercising is different for everybody. What works for one person may not work for another. It all boils down to your current body shape, weight, and exercise level. Regardless of where you find yourself in your fitness journey, burning calories is always a common goal. And with growing popularity in using exercise bikes, you may be wondering how many calories you can burn from using one. So, let’s explore this question!
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Working Out With An Exercise Bike
Exercise bikes – including mini exercise bikes – are great machines to get used to because they’re so easy to find! Pretty much every single gym out there will have different options for stationary exercise bikes. And if gyms aren’t your thing, then buying one for your home is a good, budget-friendly option to get your exercise in for cheap. No matter where you exercise, you have to think about how you’ll approach a workout on your exercise bike. It’s not as simple as hopping on, pushing the pedals for 10 minutes, and hopping off.
To determine what kind of bike workout you’re going for, you’ll have to asses your goals. If you want to gain muscle in your legs, you should consider increasing your incline rates. This will allow for a “biking uphill” feeling and have you pumping hard. Explore different strategies, like steadily biking on a high incline, or going up and down imaginary hills to find out what’s right for you. If you’re more of a typical cardio type of exerciser, going fast at a lower incline level may be a better option for you.
One of the great things about exercise bikes is that they allow for diversity. Starting out with an easy five-minute warmup at a low resistance, and then jumping into a harder workout is a common practice. How long you should work out is really up to you and your fitness goals.
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How Many Calories do you Burn on an Exercise Bike?
Sometimes you aren’t always up for a high-intensity workout, and that’s okay! Even a basic, easy ride can be beneficial for your health. Many estimates break down how many calories you’ll burn by considering a few factors. Age, activity level, and body composition are all important factors, but most calorie trackers don’t have the technology to take these into consideration for each biker. So, most will just take your weight into account. And, the higher the weight, the more calories you’ll burn by doing the same workout as someone at a lighter weight. For example, light stationary cycling would have a 60kg person burning 325 calories per hour, while a 93kg person would burn 512.
This Nutristrategy chart estimates that for a moderate session of stationary cycling, a 70kg person would burn 483 calories in an hour. That’s not bad for a workout without high effort or intensity! So, even if you want to go for a ride while watching something on TV, you could burn the calories of an entire light meal in one go. For many casual exercisers, this is enough.
The same chart lists estimated calories for different levels of working out. So, for the same 70kg person to go on a very vigorous ride on a stationary bike, they would burn 880 calories. That’s almost twice as much! While moderate rides are still a healthy choice, a more vigorous and high-intensity ride is a great option to get your heart rate up, and help you shed some pounds.
How To Maximise Calorie Burn
That 880 calorie-burning ride is just talking about a basic, vigorous bike ride. But fortunately, a stationary bike allows you to spice things up. Here are a few ideas to burn even more calories.
- Mind your handlebars! When you rely on your handlebars too much, such as leaning on them for support, you lesson how much your legs and core are engaging in your workout. So, fewer muscles are getting a good workout. To maximize calorie burn, ease off the handlebars.
- Keep your core engaged! Raising your behind even a small bit while biking will help engage your core. Experiment with different seated and non-seated positions to feel more engaged in your core.
- Use a pre-programmed workout instead of winging it! Sometimes it’s fun to just bike however you feel that day. Going with the flow can be easier and more fun, but sometimes you sacrifice a good workout. When you follow a pre-programmed workout, you don’t have the option to ease up when you’re getting tired.
- Use light hand weights! Going hands-free or lightly resting your hands on the handlebars is better than resting on them. But for an even better option, consider holding on to some light weights. You can lift while you cycle, and try out different arm workouts. While using heavy weights can be dangerous, light weights can maximize your calorie burn, and help those upper arm muscles!
Indoor cycling and using exercise bikes are a great and accessible way to burn plenty of calories. One of the most important things is variation. If you do the same workout every day, your body will get used to it. So, switch it up! Experiment with your workouts to find a few that your body loves. But the most important thing? To have fun! Pump up the music, fill up your water bottle, and hop on that bike with the intention to have a good workout, while keeping your body happy.