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How To Use The Exercise Bike For Weight Loss

Exercise & Weight Loss | Why Exercise Bikes | Workout Ideas

Weight loss is challenging, but simple -- eat less calories than you burn. Creating a calorie deficit through your diet is the best way to achieve this, but exercise is also part of the equation. While you can lose weight without working out, being active increases the number of calories you burn each day and makes weight loss easier and more sustainable.

While there are lots of ways to increase your activity, below we look at how and why to use an exercise bike for weight loss.

Exercise & Weight Loss

The number of calories you burn each day (known as total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE) depends on four factors:

  • Basal metabolic rate: How many calories you burn just by being alive.

  • Thermic effect of feeding: How many calories are burnt digesting your food.

  • Exercise energy expenditure: How many calories you burn through exercise.

  • NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis): How many calories you burn by doing everything else, like shopping, walking to the shops, or hoovering.

Increasing the number of calories that you burn means you can eat more calories while staying in a calorie deficit.

One way to do this is by increasing your NEAT (we have shared how to increase your NEAT here). Another is through cardiovascular exercise. Adding a few cardio workouts to your week can increase your overall TDEE and allow you to eat higher calories while still losing weight.

It's important to note that TDEE calculators include the calories burnt through exercising, so you shouldn't 'eat back' the calories burnt in your workouts.

Why Are Exercise Bikes Good For Weight Loss?

Stationary bikes are great for weight loss in a few ways:

  1. They burn a lot of calories. According to Harvard Health, 30 minutes of moderate cycling on a stationary bike can burn 210 calories for a 125lb person, 252 calories for a 155lb person, and 294 calories for a 185lb person. This goes up to 315, 378, and 441 calories respectively for vigorous cycling.

  2. They are low impact. Running, jumping, and aerobics style exercising can place a lot of pressure on the ankle, knee, and hip joints, particularly if you are at a high weight. Stationary bikes offer a low impact, joint friendly way to burn calories, making it ideal for those with joint issues.

  3. You can adjust the intensity. You can increase or decrease the intensity of a stationary bike workout in three ways: changing the resistance, changing the speed, or standing up. This makes it easier to increase the number of calories burnt.

  4. It's beginner friendly. Cycling can be more accessible to beginners than other forms of cardio like running. Because the intensity can be adjusted, you can increase the difficulty as your fitness improves.

Other benefits of the stationary bike include:

  1. It's safe. Indoor cycling is safer and more accessible than outdoor cycling, as there are no hazards like traffic and poor weather or surface conditions.

  2. It improves cardio health. Cycling strengthens the heart and circulatory system, which has multiple benefits including lower risk of disease, improved blood pressure, and better mood.

  3. Increases lower body strength. Using the exercise bike strengthens the calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes, particularly if using a higher resistance level.

4 Ways To Use Stationary Bike Workouts For Weight Loss

  • LISS (low intensity steady state cardio) workouts

    LISS workouts are moderate intensity workouts (around 6/10 effort) carried out for around 30-60 minutes. Adding in 2-3 LISS cycling workouts to your weekly routine is a great way to increase your TDEE to help with weight loss.

    It takes 3500 calories to lose 1lb of fat. Adding 2-3 low intensity exercise bike workouts each week can help to burn more calories, so that you don't need to reduce your diet by as many to achieve the same result. Taking the 155lb person example from above, doing three 60-minute LISS cycling workouts a week would burn 1512 calories, meaning you'd only need to eat 2000 less to lose 1lb compared to if you were not exercising.

  • HIIT workouts

    HIIT workouts are a type of interval training that pair short bursts of high intensity activity with short periods of rest, for around 10-20 minutes. They burn a lot of workouts in this short period of time and continue to burn calories after the workout is finished.

    HIIT workouts can be a great way to burn lots of calories without spending hours on the bike each week. 2-3 HIIT cycling workouts should be enough to bump up your TDEE. Just make sure to really reach maximum intensity during the activity periods to get all the benefits.

    You can learn more about the benefits of HIIT here, and find 5 HIIT cycling workouts to try here.

  • Cycle classes

    Spin classes are a great way to get the benefits of using a stationary bike for weight loss, without having to plan your own workout. Group fitness classes are great for motivation too, so if you struggle putting in the effort for solo workouts, this can be a good way to ensure you give it your all.

  • Warming up for other workouts

    If you're already working out at the gym regularly, adding a 15 minute bike workout is a great way to warm up for your workout while burning some calories. Although it may not seem like much per bike session, it adds up over the week!

If cycling isn't right for you, don't worry -- there are plenty of ways to keep active and increase your calorie burn! Check out our running for weight loss guide, walking for weight loss guide, and gym workout plan for weight loss to get started.

Ready to lose weight? Find your nearest gym here and get started today.

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