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Are Exercise/Stationary Bikes Good for Losing Weight?
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Are Exercise/Stationary Bikes Good for Losing Weight?

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 31
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8 min

When deciding on a new workout plan, you want to make sure the time you spend exercising is time well spent.

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Getting back into exercising after living a more sedentary lifestyle – and possibly gaining a few more pounds than you would have liked – isn’t always easy, but the benefits of doing so far outweigh the cons.

To make any weight loss journey more enjoyable, it’s important to choose an exercise that will not only help you burn as many calories as possible but also limit the amount of stress on your body while doing so.

Using exercise bikes for your workouts has the potential to do both, and in this article, we will explore if they are the right fit for you.

Are Exercise Bikes Good for Losing Weight?

Yes, riding an exercise bike is an effective workout for losing weight.

Although you can’t expect to burn as many calories using an exercise bike as you would cycling outdoors, riding a stationary exercise bike remains one of the best exercises for burning calories, as long as you can commit yourself to a longer and more intense workout.

Often, the biggest drawback to stationary bike workouts is that they feel monotonous and don’t always produce the best results when doing the same single-pace workout for extended periods since most of us will hit a plateau after a few weeks.

In order to ensure you’re challenging yourself appropriately and fast-tracking the amount of weight loss you can achieve through cycling workouts, it’s best to follow a personalized cycling plan designed with your unique goals in mind.

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How Many Calories Does a Stationary Bike Burn? 

You can expect to burn around 250 calories during a moderate-intensity 30-minute workout on an exercise bike. 

This number will change depending on your age, sex, and weight and can also be increased by incorporating workouts that include high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

[HIIT Indoor Cycling Workout | 30 Minute Intervals: Fitness Training

How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike to Lose Weight? 

How long you need to ride an exercise bike in order to lose body fat will depend on your level of commitment and how hard you ride during your workouts. 

As with any fitness-related goal, hard work and consistency will always yield the best results. 

The best way to boost any fat-burning effects of riding an exercise bike is to bike at a medium to high intensity for at least 30 minutes at a time. 

You will see results faster if you cycle every day, but a minimum of three times a week will also help you make changes, though you can expect them to come more slowly. 

3 Types of Stationary/Exercise Bikes

#1 Upright

Upright exercise bikes are often the best for beginners. The position of the pedals is directly beneath the body, allowing users to ride them either sitting or standing up. 

They also have a comfy seat and plenty of different exercise options, though the placement of the handlebars can put unnecessary stress on the wrists, making it a bad match for anyone with wrist issues.

During a moderate-intensity 30-minute workout, you can expect to burn around 250 calories.

#2 Recumbent

A recumbent bike has a more laid-back positioning of the body, with the handlebars placed alongside the body and the pedals quite a way in front of the seat.

This design makes it the most low-impact exercise, so it’s perfect for anyone suffering from knee or even wrist problems. 

During a moderate-intensity 30-minute workout, you can expect to burn around 250 calories.

#3 Dual-action

Dual-action exercise bikes are the best fit for more vigorous workouts. Along with pedals that are also placed directly underneath the seat, they also have handlebars that move back and forth with the pedals.

This makes it the only exercise bike incorporating a fuller upper-body workout. 

During a moderate-intensity 30-minute workout, you can expect to burn around 250 calories.

Pros and Cons of Exercise Bikes

As with any form of exercise, riding stationary bikes is really great for some things and not so great for others. 

Getting a better idea of the benefits of this particular form of exercise can give you a better idea of if it’s a good fit for you and if it’s the best option to help you reach all of your particular fitness goals.

Pros

#1 Helps with weight loss

Indoor cycling is also good for weight loss and can help with body composition as well as overall shape, especially for anyone wanting to make their legs appear more toned without building too much muscle in their upper body.

You can burn a lot of calories by doing even moderate-intensity exercise since cycling makes use of many of the biggest muscles in the body, including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, all of which require more energy –in the form of calories – to fuel their movements.

How much weight you lose with exercise bike workouts can be increased by incorporating high-intensity interval training and following a healthy diet that includes eating in a calorie deficit.

#2 Can be done indoors

A big bonus of using an exercise bike is its level of accessibility. For anyone who struggles to find the time to make it to the gym or lacks the motivation to get outside, especially during inclement weather, having the option of riding an exercise bike from the comfort of their own home can be a selling point. 

Not to mention that having an exercise that can be done year-round helps you create a workout routine that is easy to stick to and doesn’t need to be changed throughout the shifting seasons.

#3 Low-impact

The impact level of an exercise refers to the amount of stress it puts on your bones and joints while doing it.

While there are benefits to doing more high-impact exercises like running, there are also certain risks involved – mainly that of experiencing overuse injuries like shin splints or knee pain.

Cycling, on the other hand, is one of the lowest-impact activities you can do. No jarring movements are required, and your feet are always suspended on pedals that glide smoothly through the air.

It is also a great exercise to build muscle in the lower body, and this increase in the muscles surrounding the knee can stabilize the joint itself.

This makes doing an exercise bike workout perfect for anyone recovering from an injury or those wanting to lose weight without putting excess stress on their joints.

#4 Improves cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular-related deaths are an epidemic that takes close to 18 million lives every year, according to the World Health Organization.

Indoor cycling can help you reduce your chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease because it not only helps you maintain a healthy weight but also keeps your heart strong and your blood circulating smoothly throughout your body. 

In addition to regular exercise, it’s also a good idea to eat a balanced, healthy diet. All of which can keep your cardiovascular system strong and healthy for years to come.

#5 Builds muscle in the lower body

Although you can expect to build muscle in your entire body, including your core and even your arms, if you choose to do higher resistance workouts, cycling of any kind predominantly targets the muscles in your lower body, including your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and even some of the small muscles like your hip flexors. 

As you continue to work the muscles in the lower half of your body, you can expect to begin melting away any unnecessary fat, reducing the look of cellulite – though having some cellulite in the legs is perfectly normal – and creating an overall more toned look in the lower half of your body.

In addition to any aesthetic improvements, stronger legs can help set you up for success in any outdoor activities you might want to do, including hiking, soccer, and running.

Cons

#1 Can be monotonous

One of the biggest issues people face with doing an indoor cardio workout is how monotonous it can feel. 

Riding nowhere for 30 minutes or more while stuck in either your house or a gym can feel extremely boring, and this boredom can lead to an inability to stay consistent with workouts.

Although this boredom can be mitigated through watching a show or listening to a podcast, cycling indoors will never offer the same level of fun as biking outdoors.

#2 No connection with nature

Although having the option to bike indoors can make it more accessible, you also lose out on the opportunity to get outdoors, which is clinically proven to lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Spending time in nature is a great way to feel less isolated and can help us soak in some much-needed vitamin D. 

In comparison to working out on an exercise bike, outdoor biking can be more easily added into your daily routine through regular commutes to and from work, or as a way to destress at the end of a long day.

FAQs

Does a stationary bike burn belly fat?

Yes, cycling can help you trim down any subcutaneous fat you may have on your belly. When you exercise, you burn more calories, and though it may take time, if you’re consistent, you can expect to notice changes throughout your entire body.

Is stationary bike low-impact exercise?

Yes, biking, in general, is one of the lowest-impact activities you can do. This makes it great for anyone wanting to get back into regular exercise after being sedentary or suffering an injury.

Are 30 minutes on a stationary bike enough?

One 30-minute indoor cycling workout won’t be enough for you to notice results. But if you continue to exercise for 30 minutes a day 3 or more times a week, you will start seeing changes in your body weight and overall health.

A Word From Our Coach

Wanting to lose weight can help inspire you to lead a healthier life, but having weight loss as your only goal for any new fitness program is a good way to set yourself up for failure.

Your weight is just a number on a scale. Depending on it to gauge your results and the amount of effort you’re putting in can lead you to feel defeated. Especially since muscle weighs more than fat, and things like drinking too much water can tip the scale in an unwanted direction.

Instead of focusing on reaching a certain number on the scale, make your goal for working out to feel better. Having more energy, being more focused, and feeling stronger are all goals that can help you feel motivated to stick to your workout plan.

Even if you decide that weight loss and changing your body composition are goals you want to keep, you’re better off using weekly photos to track your progress and not obsess over an arbitrary number on a scale.

Bottom Line

If you’re trying to decide between the many workout options, you can rest assured that riding a stationary bike is good for weight loss. 

Consistently working out on an exercise bike is a great way to burn calories and can bring you closer to reaching all of your weight loss goals.

Although you might not have as much fun biking indoors, any regular exercise can still improve your mental health, help you feel more confident in your body, and limit the amount of stress you put on your bones and joints.

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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