How Long Should I Ride An Exercise Bike?

Whether you already own one or are considering buying an exercise bike, one question you may be asking is "how long should I ride?". The answer depends on your aim of achievement.

An exercise bike is excellent for home workouts. However, many may think that to achieve the same results as you would on a treadmill, you'd have to spend more time. Although this may be true, depending on your efforts, an exercise bike can keep you going for longer. 

But to answer the question. Everyone is unique, so what might apply to me, could be different for you. I've listed a general idea below, with guidance on how long you should be churning the pedals to reach your particular goal.

How long should you ride a stationary bike to lose weight?

There are numerous reasons why most of us want to lose weight. Whether it's to fit in your old jeans or improve a medical condition, such as type 2 diabetes, weight loss is usually beneficial to your health (unless a doctor advises otherwise). 

Obesity has become a predominant issue in most of the developed world. Proven to decrease the quality as well as quantity of many lives. Fortunately, medical science and pure logic has shown that regular physical activity will increase your lifespan, lower the chance of obesity and, most importantly, lift your spirit for life. 

When determining how long you should spend on your exercise bike to lose weight, you have to include your weight and body structure into the equation. 

Now, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans advise that the average adult incorporates at least 150 minutes of exercise a week (about 20 minutes a day), as well as two days of strength training, to stay healthy. 

But as we're looking to lose weight, this amount has to be increased. To be successful, you must try to do at least 30 minutes a day. If you're not used to physical activity, just do this a few times a week during the first two weeks. 

You can disperse the 30 minutes throughout the day; as long as you're getting 30 minutes total you should be fine. This may be better if you're just starting out.

As you get stronger, it's recommended to increase the time. Ideally, you should be spending an average of 60 minutes of moderate, paced pedaling. Longer rides equal higher calorie burn. But take your time. A gradual weight loss is more accessible to maintain long term.

If you want to know how to burn the most calories while cycling on an exercise bike, here's a good video which highlights a few different workouts:

By the way, if you don't own a stationary bike yet, you might want to check out these articles:

Building Cardio Endurance

Strong cardio endurance is what enables you to withstand intense physical activity for more extended periods. Endurance will not only improve your cycling, but you can yield the benefits in your strength training as well. 

Cardio endurance on an exercise bike is built by pacing yourself. It's essential that you take your time while listening to your body, especially if you're used to being relatively inactive. 

Your body requires time to get accustomed to the new activity. You can help it along by doing about 30 minutes a day, for three days a week in the beginning. As you progress, lengthen some of your workouts as opposed to increasing the number of days spent exercising.

For example, up your time to between 45 and 60 minutes for three days a week, rather than doing 30 minutes for five days a week. Increasing the length is what's going to build your endurance.

Set time aside to include some interval training once in a while. The interims of high intensity and slow pace will have your heart and body working harder, boosting your stamina in a shorter amount of time. 

Look to do a few minutes of moderate to high intensity followed by a brief, slow-paced pedaling. Repeat this for about 15 to 20 minutes, one or two times per week. This will help to build cardio endurance.

For Toned Muscles

A toned body is a look many people desire. But can you tone your body using an exercise bike? Absolutely!

Even though pedaling away on your bike won't do much to your total muscle mass, it will help define those desired curves from the waist down. 

It's a good idea to understand which muscles are working, to engage them better while pedaling. An exercise bike will, of course, work your lower body; this will include the quadriceps and hamstrings in your thighs as well as your glutes and triceps sural (calf muscles) in the posterior of the lower leg.

These muscle groups are continually being contracted while pedaling. Now, if you adjust your seat a bit, or engage your core, you are actually able to tone those abs as well. 

HIIT—or high intensity intervals—is one way to define your muscles. This workout will push your system to its limit, releasing the tension, before shocking it once more. 

To get your desired muscle definition, try to do about 30 to 45 minutes for two days a week of HIIT workouts. If you're a beginner, 20 minutes will do until you feel stronger and more confident. Refrain from overdoing it and keep within your limits. Pushing your muscles too far will only set you back.

If you need more information on how to get the most out of your exercise bike, you can watch this video:

Conclusion

Knowing how long to ride your exercise bike, no matter what your intentions, is vital to achieve the best results. Spending too little or even too much time will likely not get you where you want to be. However, doing something is always better than doing nothing at all!

An exercise bike is great in general as it's relatively low impact, which means you can spend more time without feeling the hurt. 

The amount you'll need to spend will depend on your goal and body composition. But look to take an average of 30 minutes out of your day a few times a week, to stay healthy, lean and happy.

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