How Long Should I Ride My Stationary Bike to Lose Weight?

How Long Should I Ride My Stationary Bike to Lose Weight?

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Riding a stationary bike will strengthen your lungs and heart and improve how your body utilizes oxygen. When done properly it can also assist you in losing weight.

Even though outdoor riding is an excellent low-impact exercise, it is not always possible due to weather conditions, or for people that are not confident with outdoor riding.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), adults between the ages of 18 to 64 should be exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time, five days a week. If you are wondering how long you should be riding a stationary bike to drop a few pounds, keep reading.

It is understood that 3,500 calories are equal to one pound of weight. So if a person that is weighing 155 pounds is able to ride a bike for 30 minutes (at a moderate rate) they should burn around 260 calories.

This would mean that this person might lose one pound of weight over 7 hours when using a stationary bike at a moderate pace.

However, if the same person were to ride a stationary bike for 30 minutes at a more vigorous pace they could potentially burn 391 calories. In this case, the person could burn 1 pound (of weight) over 5 hours of riding a stationary bike at a vigorous pace.

That being said, none of this is an exact science.

There are various factors involved, and you should also have a plan in place if you want to succeed. And if you plan to succeed, your plan should involve a practical and logical strategy.

How Long Will It Take You To Lose Weight?

Research and studies show that you won’t notice results overnight. For many people, it will take a few months to see the changes.

In general, if you stick to a consistent workout and you are eating well, you should start to notice changes in your body within the first month.

According to Todd Buckingham, Ph.D., using a stationary bike to lose weight should involve consistency and trying to ride the bike daily for a minimum of 30 minutes every day.

Stationary Bike Benefits

a man riding an exercise bike in green shorts and white shirt

Here are some of the top benefits you can achieve when you participate in a regular exercise plan that includes riding a stationary bike:

  • Boosts Your Cardio Fitness/Endurance

Cycling is one of the best ways to get the heart pumping when your heart rate increases. Cycling will also get the heart muscles to work much harder to match your oxygen demand.

In the Journal of the American Heart Association, a study discovered that riding a bicycle to work, helped to prevent some of the cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged women and men.

  • May Lower Cholesterol

Exercise will lower bad cholesterol and encourage good cholesterol. These beneficial effects have been reviewed in a variety of scientific studies.

The AHA (American Heart Association) advises that adults should be aiming for at least 150 minutes of exercise (moderate-intensity) each week to reduce low-density (bad) lipoprotein cholesterol levels.

  • Can Help You To Lose Weight

Using a stationary bike can assist you in losing weight and burning lots of calories, but this usually depends on how intense your workouts are.

This means, that the longer you are able to pedal while keeping your overall heart rate in the “fat-burning zone” according to your age group, the more likely you will burn more calories.

  • Good For Your Breathing Capacity And Your Lungs

When you are exercising, your heart will pump faster and harder to provide oxygen to all your muscles. This will also cause you to breathe harder and faster which will increase your lung capacity.

This method of increasing your breathing helps to exercise the lungs.

  • Strengthens Your Lower Body Muscles

When you add speed and resistance to your cycling routine, you force your body to work harder. This addition of resistance will build strength in areas such as your lower back, butt, and legs.

Facts About Weight Loss

Each person will burn and use calories each day to function and the number of calories that are burned will depend on factors such as your age and gender. Your calorie burn will also depend on how much you weigh, how long you are cycling, and the intensity of your workout.

You will probably notice different opinions on the amount of weight you could potentially lose when using a stationary bike. However, the amount of weight that you stand to lose will depend on the calories you are burning.

If you want to maintain a specific weight, you should be eating meals that are going to supply the calories that your body needs. Every action of your body will be fueled by “calories”.

This includes anything from breathing, jumping, running, to even just smiling. If you want to lose weight, you need to reach a “deficit of calories”.

This means making sure you eat fewer calories than what your body requires to maintain your current weight. Exercising is one way to burn calories and contributes to a deficit that you will be needing to drop the pounds.

When it comes to shedding weight, you need to ensure that your HR (heart rate) remains in a fat-burning zone for at least 30 minutes.

Your “fat-burning zone” references your heart rate and how fast it should be beating when you exercise. To achieve this you should be using an HR watch or bracelet or the HR monitor on a bike.

You can also do a calculation to work out your HR by subtracting your age from 220. To lose weight, you should aim to ensure your heart rate is between 65% to 70% of your heart rate maximum according to your age.

Reaching this “fat-burning zone” and keeping it there for a minimum of 30 minutes will go a long way toward helping you to achieve your goal.

Types of Stationary Bikes

a woman in red pants and white shirt rides an exercise bike

Stationary bikes come in two types which include non-computerized and computerized. Both types provide excellent workouts, but the computerized versions can help you to track your heart rate, cadence, distance, and exercise time. These models also usually have various preset workouts to choose from.

The stationary bikes also come in three different styles including the spin, upright, and recumbent bikes.

  • Recumbent Bikes

These are regarded as the more comfortable version of a stationary bike. These bikes allow the user to sit in a comfortable position. The pedals of the bike will be below you rather than in the front, which makes this version ideal for people with back issues.

It is also much easier on the shoulders, ankles, and knees.

  • Upright Bikes

Upright bikes are similar to outdoor traditional bicycles.

The pedals are also underneath you, but there won’t be any back support. With these bikes, you will be forced to lean forward so that you can hold onto the handles rather than reclining or sitting up straight.

This bike also allows the user to stand while they are riding which helps to engage or activate more muscle groups.

  • Spin Bikes

If you have decided to try out one of the spin classes at your local gym, you will find rows of these bikes in a dedicated room. The difference with this type of bike is the weighted flywheel that connects to the pedals.

This version provides a similar feeling to a mountain bike.

What Are Cadence And Resistance?

Stationary bikes also feature different resistance levels. The resistance level can be increased to create more challenging workouts. A non-computerized bike will usually come with a knob or lever that you can either turn down or up for less or more resistance. The computerized models have settings you can change on a touch-screen display.

When choosing a resistance, it should feel challenging but at the same time not too difficult. Fitness instructors usually recommend rating how difficult a workout is from 1 to 10 (10 being the most challenging).

For example, you should be able to reach up to 5 when you ride over flat surfaces and adjust your resistance accordingly.

Cadence references how fast a person is pedaling. Your cadence is indicated by how many times you are pedaling in 60 seconds or your RPM (revolutions per minute). As a beginner, you should be aiming for 80 to 90 RPM. Cadence can also help you to find your correct resistance level.

For example, if you are finding it hard to pedal fast enough so that you can reach a minimum of 80 RPM, lower your resistance.

Tips On How To Adjust A Stationary Bike

If your stationary bike is not adjusted properly it can be very uncomfortable or result in injuries. The seat should be at your hip level (when you stand next to the bike). Your legs should also straighten out when they are close to the floor. Your knees should be bent over your feet (when your feet are up).

You should also adjust the handlebars so that when you are sitting up straight your arms can extend, but are still slightly bent. Your feet should also be positioned so the center of each pedal lines up with the center of each foot.

How To Adjust A Recumbent Bike

Recumbent bikes are a little bit different since your feet are going to be in the front instead of below you. There are also no handles. Avoid leaning forward and make sure that when you extend your legs they are still slightly bent.

If you take spinning classes, ask the instructor for advice on how to adjust the bike before you start your workout.

Stationary Bike Workouts

All physical fitness levels will find an appropriate skillset workout when using any type of stationary bike. All you need to do is to adjust your resistance and speed to match your goals. You should aim to challenge yourself, but avoid pushing yourself too hard to meet certain metrics.


Exercising is very important, but the results that you achieve can take a lot longer if you are not eating a healthy and calorie-controlled diet.

The correct eating plan can help you greatly to achieve muscle tone and to lose weight by providing your body with the fuel that it needs.

You should also aim to drink lots of water which will help to curb hunger and speed up your metabolism.

Consistent workouts on a stationary bike will benefit your mood, health, and body. Exercising also has positive psychological effects and exceptional health benefits for your body.