Are Stationary Bikes Good For Weight Loss?

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There are many gym machines to choose from when getting in shape. Find out whether stationary bikes are good for weight loss.

If you want to lose weight, you need to get to a point where your body uses up more energy than is coming in from the things you eat.

Stationary bikes are good for weight loss in the sense that they help this process. The cycling involved requires more energy than typical daily activities.

Some of the additional benefits of stationary bikes are that they are low-impact and that you can easily make the workouts more enjoyable by watching TV or listening to audio.

This can make it easier to stay consistent with your weight loss exercise routine.

On the flip side, riding a stationary bike means having to go to the gym for many people. This requires a good amount of extra transport time compared to certain alternatives like walking.

This article will also go over how a stationary bike compares to other options for weight loss, whether it can help you lose belly fat, and how long to use the stationary bike for certain results.

Can a stationary bike help you lose weight?

Before going into the details, it is worth quickly noting that stationary bikes can indeed help you lose weight. However, there are certain conditions you need to fulfill to make this happen.

More specifically, to lose weight, you need to make it so your body requires more energy to function than is coming in from food.

When you get in a situation like this, your body starts using energy stores like body fat to get the remaining needs.

Riding a stationary bike helps in this weight loss process because the intense movements involved use up more energy than typical daily activities.

On the other hand, this also means your habits in health areas like your diet still need to be good enough before a stationary bike can help you lose weight.

Besides that, you likely also want to know how the stationary bike compares to other workouts. Your time to exercise is limited so you will have to make choices.

Calories burned stationary bike vs other exercises

To make this comparison between a stationary bike and other weight loss gym machines and exercises, you can look at the amounts of calories (energy) they burn.

Before doing this, you do need to know that you should not interpret these numbers too literally.

In reality, you will likely burn different amounts of calories due to differences in muscle mass, hormone levels, and exact stationary bike intensity.

At the same time, the rough predictions do give you an idea of how good stationary bikes are for weight loss compared to alternatives.

These estimations below are for a 155-pound (70 kg) person using the machines or doing the exercises for 30 minutes (1, 2).

The W’s next to the calories burned with stationary bikes are the resistance settings.

  • Stationary Bike (50 W): 128 calories
  • Stationary Bike (100 W): 249 calories
  • Stationary Bike (160 W): 322 calories
  • Water Aerobics: 144 calories
  • Stretching (Hatha Yoga): 144 calories
  • Walking 4 mph: 175 calories
  • Swimming (general): 216 calories
  • Rowing, Stationary (moderate): 252 calories
  • Running 5 mph: 288 calories
  • Elliptical Trainer (general): 324 calories
  • Jumping rope (fast): 421 calories

As you can see, how many calories stationary bikes burn depends a lot on details like the resistance setting.

That aside, it also becomes clear that stationary bikes can be very effective for burning calories and losing weight.

At the same time, there are a few more effective options too.

Can you lose belly fat from riding a stationary bike?

Many people get the impression that you have to do certain exercises to lose fat from around your stomach.

However, it is generally not possible to lose fat from specific areas like your belly. Not with a stationary bike and not with other exercises.

If you want to lose belly fat, you have to lose enough weight overall. As your body burns more and more body fat, you will see more and more results around your stomach.

So you can get to a point where you lose belly fat from riding a stationary bike.

To do this, you will likely still need to have good habits in areas like your diet. And even if you start losing weight, it may take a while before the fat from around your stomach will disappear in significant amounts.

Exactly how long depends on many details.

How long to ride a stationary bike for weight loss

By now you likely understand that riding a stationary bike can benefit your weight loss journey. The next question is then how long you need to use this machine for what types of results.

How long you need to ride a stationary bike to lose weight will depend a lot on your habits in areas like your nutrition. On the flip side, there are ways to get interesting estimations.

Assume there is a 155-pound (70 kg) that is at a weight loss plateau with their current routine. The only thing they will change is riding a stationary bike more often.

This person can burn an extra 1245 calories or about 0.36 pounds (0.16 kg) of body fat by riding a 100 W stationary bike for five 30-minute sessions a week.

If this 155-pound (70 kg) person follows the same stationary bike routine for four weeks, they can burn an extra 4980 calories or about 1.42 pounds (0.62 kg) of body fat.

Something important to note is that this person (and you) will start to burn fewer calories with the same stationary bike routine as they lose weight.

Additionally, you likely need to keep an eye on areas like nutrition to make sure this calorie-burning comes from belly fat and other areas.

Should you use a stationary bike for losing weight?

When it comes to burning calories, using a stationary bike can be a great way to lose weight.

One of the unique benefits of this exercise choice is that you can watch TV or listen to a podcast while using this machine.

Additionally, if you have your own stationary bike, you can do your weight loss workouts at home without having to spend any time going somewhere.

Besides that, riding a stationary bike is a low-impact workout which means it involves a lower injury risk than certain alternatives.

One potential disadvantage of stationary bikes for people who don’t own their own machines is that they have to drive to their local gym to use one.

Even if this “only” takes 10 minutes, the durations of the trips really add up over time.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.