Is an exercise bike good for losing weight?

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Are you looking for an effective tool to help shed excess body fat?

Get ready to ride your way to a fit and leaner you. ​Exercise bikes are the perfect tool to facilitate rapid weight loss and improve overall body composition, including reduced body fat, increased muscle tone and maximum calorie burn.

The formula for weight loss! They are an excellent resource for providing non-impact, heart pumping, fat-blasting, and fun activity.

These bikes are a staple in fitness centers across the globe, with nearly 10 million fitness enthusiasts flocking to their neighborhood fitness center cycling classes each year. Not to mention, they are one of the top-selling pieces of weight loss equipment for home use.

But what exactly are the benefits of using an exercise bike?

Benefits of Using an Exercise Bike

Weight Loss

On average, using an exercise bike can burn anywhere from 200 to 700 calories or more per hour during the workout, and depending upon the intensity, this number can skyrocket and even increase the number of calories you burn tomorrow, or your "epoc".

Burning just 500 extra calories each day is proven to result in weight loss. That’s approximately 60 minutes of moderate movement each day, or 20 minutes of more intense work for the same time.

Muscle Endurance and Tone

Exercise bikes are notorious for their ability to burn fat and tone your muscles. With a primary target on the legs and core, including the quads, hamstrings, calves and abs, this can be a perfect choice for getting those lower bodies into top shape.

Dual-action exercise bikes incorporate the upper body, making it a total body conditioning tool that is unparalleled.

Cardiovascular Health

Pumping the pedals will certainly bring about improved efficiency and endurance of the heart muscle, leading to improved heart rates and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. It strengthens the heart and improves the respiratory functioning of the lungs, oxygen exchange and is even proven to lower blood pressure.

Well-Being

Studies have shown a direct relationship between pedaling an exercise bike and the body’s release of dopamine, the chemical in our brain responsible for feeling good and motivated. This, in turn, reduces our fatigue levels by up to 65% as well as increasing our energy levels. It is also scientifically proven to improve memory function, reasoning and planning skills.

Simplicity

Based on the various styles available on the market, exercise bikes are one of the best tools for those who are limited by certain physical or environmental factors, such as injury and busy schedules. They are less bulky than other types of equipment, easier to move around, compact for quick storage, safe and simple to use.

Versatility

Whether you are someone who prefers routine in solitude or someone who requires action and stimulation, an exercise bike is a perfect solution. It is both fun and effective and can be positioned in your favorite spot, such as in front of a TV screen or on an outdoor patio, to create the perfect ambiance. Some versions actually have attached monitors that simulate real riding experiences.

Why I love Exercise bikes!

As an athlete, trainer and weight-loss coach, I have experienced many obstacles in my own journey, with those becoming even more prevalent as I have a greater number of age-related aches and pains.

For over thirty years, I have successfully achieved outstanding results by adding the exercise bike to my own programming and training. Its simplicity of use and gentleness on my joints make it my “go-to” tool for cardiovascular endurance, fat burn, and leg toning. It even helps me overcome my own training obstacles, especially with the age-related aches and pains of my body.

As an athlete, I trained through several sport-related injuries, including back and knee injuries, using a second-hand exercise bike I purchased for less than one month’s gym membership. In fact, it was the fundamental piece of equipment I used for injury rehab following a recent and very painful disc herniation. Its design helped improve my cardiovascular conditioning, improve my calorie burn all while continuing to improve my overall fitness level.

I was able to shed the excess pounds that had accumulated from a lack of activity and improve my cardiovascular endurance and muscle endurance while protecting my low back from further injury.

Even today, I use the bike regularly as part of my overall training plan for my upcoming powerlifting meet.

Ready to ride, but not sure what bike to choose?

Exercise bikes can be used in many ways, providing an effective and fun way to lose weight. Its simple design and versatility make it an optimal choice for any fitness level.

Although some bikes have a few extra bells and whistles to enhance the experience, such as digital tracking displays, monitors, tension controls and seat adjustments for personal comfort, the overall simplicity of the exercise bike gives it the upper hand when comparing options.

Running and other activities have excellent results for a certain segment of the population; however, individuals who suffer from joint pain or other limitations may find these to be problematic.

Exercise bikes, especially the recumbent bike, eliminates the impact placed upon the body and allows for resistance, cardiovascular improvement and movement without pain.

There is no question as to why this is the primary piece of equipment used by medical experts as part of the plan of care for rehabilitation following a knee injury and surgical procedures.

Although there are many brands of exercise bikes on the market, ranging in price and features, it is prudent to do your own research in order to find the one that fits your preferences and needs.

When searching for a bike, it is essential to evaluate its usage level and comfort relative to your individual needs. There are three primary types of bikes to choose from, and the options within each can be overwhelming if you are unprepared.

After selecting the style you prefer, look for sales or read the product reviews in order to better understand particular features and even frustrations.

The most popular bike on the market is the “indoor cycle”, which allows the rider to experience a more outdoors feel when moving. It has features congruent with road bikes, giving a more authentic riding experience.

The handlebars are positioned away from the rider, creating a forward lean and providing the ability to stand up while riding. These bikes tend to be simple and compact and result in the greatest caloric burn among its users. These are often found in the popular “spin class”.

An indoor cycle is an excellent option for intermediate and advanced fitness enthusiasts targeting lower body toning and intensity.

The "upright bike” is another option, often seen in commercial and rehabilitative gyms due to its simplicity, safety and monitoring capabilities. It is similar in design to a classic bicycle, where the rider sits in an upright position and pedals.

It allows for greater weight support, making it an ideal option for those who are overweight, de-conditioned or working with older injuries and physical rehabilitation.

If you have chronic low back issues, prolonged use of the upright can cause additional pain.

Also in the upright category, you will find one of the more popular bikes trending in cross-training gyms around the globe. Known as the dual-action “air bike”, this bike is my personal favorite for cardiovascular endurance building and overall weight loss capacity.

The air bike provides total body engagement and is optimal for injury and rehabilitation. Not only does it provide a complete and total body workout, but it evolves with you, creating a greater challenge as you become more conditioned.

This prevents the plateaus that can be seen with adaptation. As a bonus, this bike can be targeted to utilize the upper body only, facilitating movement and resistance without the use of the legs.

This is perfect for individuals recovering from hip injuries or issues limiting their lower body movements.

The “recumbent bike” is the last of the three styles, which is more like a comfortable recliner with pedals. This style is the premier option for those needing maximum bodyweight support and comfort.

It allows the rider to exercise in a fully supported position, making it the best choice for those with chronic back issues as well. Although the recumbent bike offers the least benefits compared to the other bikes in terms of cardiovascular endurance, it is an excellent option if your goal is to simply to get moving.

Some other exercise bikes you may encounter include the pedal-only mini-bike, or pedal exerciser, which is great for older populations or those with limited mobility, and the folding bike, which is perfect for those who have very limited space or travel, preferring to take their fitness on the road.

Tips for Weight loss with an Exercise Bike

Here are a few recommendations to help with weight loss and staying consistent with any workout program.

#1 For maximum weight-loss potential, increasing frequency, duration and/or intensity of any calorie-burning workout is essential, with intensity being the easiest to manage.

After a brief warm-up, try setting a timer for 20 minutes, alternating the movement between an all-out sprint for 20-30 seconds and a regular pace for 30-40 seconds.

This pattern of movement is proven to increase the calories you burn, thereby increasing your potential for losing weight.

#2 Low on time? Using an exercise bike or other modes of movement, you can maximize your workout with the 4-minute Tabata Method. If performed at high levels of intensity, studies found this method to be just as effective as 30-minutes of steady-state cardiovascular training. Some bikes come with pre-programmed workouts, such as the Tabata.

#3 Many of us suffer from injury or pain, ranging from mild to moderate. This can create physical and psychological barriers, preventing us from the movement necessary for healthy weight loss. By increasing the duration of a workout session, from 20 minutes to 60 minutes, you can actually reduce the physical impact on the joints by using a more gentle form of movement and still obtain the cardiovascular benefits, as well the achieving your weight loss goals. Take a brisk 1-hour walk each day or try riding your bike while watching your favorite movie. You won’t even know you are exercising!

#4 If you struggle with creativity or get bored easily, working out on your own may pose somewhat of a challenge. To offset boredom, a quick online search for workouts has become a popular way to try something different or more challenging. Searching for workout plans or targeted body fat shredders can yield some amazing results. Entering “Exercise Bike Workouts” into your search engine is a great place to begin.

Bottom line

Although getting outdoors in nature’s bounty is the best overall option in terms of wellness, not everyone has the ability or even the time. Environmental issues such as air quality and weather can put a  significant damper on your weight loss goals.


Not to mention time constraints, busy schedules and other issues that seem to manifest without notice. It can be challenging to maintain the consistency required to meet our weight loss goals.

Implementing a program using the exercise bike can help omit almost every excuse we may have!


With an abundance of exercise bikes on the market and options targeted to every fitness goal, including weight loss, the exercise bike may simply be the best choice overall for fitness training and in-home use alike.


Therefore, an exercise bike is good for losing weight...


No rules. Just ride.

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