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This is how many calories you burn on an exercise bike

What you need to know about this kind of exercise and calories burned

Stationary bike
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There are numerous benefits exercise can have on an individual’s health, such as reducing diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, among others. Another benefit of exercise is that it burns calories and can help promote weight loss. Physical activity of any type increases your energy expenditure, which can contribute to creating a calorie deficit necessary for losing weight. That said, the number of calories you burn in a given workout depends on various factors, one of which is the activity you partake in.

There are various bikes, including stationary bikes, also known as upright bikes, recumbent stationary bikes (which simulate sitting on a chair and peddling), as well as indoor cycles, which are also called spin bikes. Exercise bike workouts are a great way to improve your aerobic fitness and strengthen your legs while minimizing joint stress. You can also potentially burn a fair number of calories in an exercise bike workout.

Curious to know how many calories you burn on an exercise bike? Continue reading and check out our pro tips to burn the most calories on a stationary bike!

Man and woman on stationary bikes.
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Factors that affect how many calories you burn on an exercise bike

Unfortunately, there’s not an easy answer or simple formula you can use to determine exactly how many calories you burn on an exercise bike. Numerous factors impact the actual number of calories burned in an exercise bike workout. Taking these factors into consideration can help you get a more accurate estimation of your actual energy expenditure. The primary factors that impact the number of calories you burn riding an exercise bike include the following:

Body size

The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn per minute riding an exercise bike. Additionally, because muscle is more metabolically active than fat tissue if you have less body fat and a more muscular build, you’ll burn more calories. Men tend to burn more calories during exercise than women for this reason, even when matched in body weight, as men have a higher percentage of lean body mass compared to women.

Type of exercise bike

In general, you’ll burn more calories on an indoor cycle or spin bike than a stationary bike, particularly a recumbent bike, because muscle activation is greater on spin bikes. Recumbent bikes have a chair seat that supports your trunk, so only your legs are involved.

Compared to upright stationary bikes, spin bikes are tilted forward more aggressively, so they also recruit your shoulders, arms, and core. You can also stand up on a spin bike, which turns the movement into a total-body exercise and significantly ramps up the caloric expenditure.

Intensity of your workout

One of the key determinants of the number of calories burned on an exercise bike is the intensity at which you work out. Increasing the resistance and cadence (pedaling speed) increases the wattage or energy output required to ride the exercise bike.

It should come as no surprise that you’ll burn more calories when you dial up the resistance level and pedal harder and faster. Tackling high-intensity intervals and standing up on an indoor cycle for climbs also boost the number of calories you’ll burn in the workout.

Duration of your workout

Of course, the longer your workout, the more calories you’ll burn, provided the intensity is the same. That said, a short, high-intensity workout on an exercise bike can potentially burn more calories than a long, easy aerobic workout, depending on the intensity and duration.

A father and his son using exercise bikes in a gym on a sunny day.

Is a stationary bike a good way to lose weight?

Almost any form of exercise can support weight loss when combined with a healthy, calorie-controlled diet. The more calories you burn, the greater the caloric deficit you create, and a caloric deficit of approximately 3,500 calories results in one pound of fat loss.

Exercise bike workouts can help you lose weight in two ways: the workout itself burns calories, and if you’re able to build muscle in your legs, you can increase your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories even at rest.

Keep in mind that the best way to lose weight with your exercise bike workouts is to push the intensity and throw in hard intervals. Riding at an easy to moderate aerobic pace will burn calories and burn fat, but really ramping up the effort and dialing up the resistance and cadence is a more efficient way to torch calories and stroke your metabolism even after the workout is over.

Older man on stationary bike.
Kampus Production/Pexels

How many calories do you burn on a stationary bike for 30 minutes?

The number of calories you’ll burn on an exercise bike per minute depends on the intensity of your workout and your weight. Though it’s pretty difficult to make specific predictions for calories burned on an exercise bike, Harvard Health Publishing reports that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity stationary biking burns about 210 calories for a 125-pound person, 252 calories for a 155-pound person, and 292 calories for a 185-pound person.

A 30-minute vigorous stationary bike workout burns approximately 315 calories for a 125-pound person, 378 calories for a 155-pound person, and 441 calories for a 185-pound person. If you weigh more than that, you’ll burn even more calories.

Man riding stationary bike.

How many calories do 20 minutes on an exercise bike burn?

We don’t always have a full 30 minutes to exercise, but even 20 minutes on an exercise bike can burn a decent number of calories. Riding an exercise bike at a moderate intensity burns about 140 calories for a 125-pound person, 166 calories for a 155-pound person, and 193 calories for a 185-pound person. A 20-minute vigorous stationary bike workout burns approximately 208 calories for a 125-pound person, 250 calories for a 155-pound person, and 291 calories for a 185-pound person.

Two men hiking.
Kamaji Ogino / Pexels

Do you burn more calories riding a stationary bike or walking?

In general, most people burn more calories riding an exercise bike than walking. For example, 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace of 3.5 miles per hour (17 minutes per mile) burn about half the number of calories of riding a stationary bike at a moderate intensity (107 calories for a 125-pound person walking versus 210 on an exercise bike, 133 calories for a 155-pound person walking versus 252 on an exercise bike, and 159 calories for a 185-pound person versus 292 on an exercise bike).

Woman riding stationary bike in spin class.
Yuliya Mulyukina/Pexels

Tips to burn more calories on an exercise bike

If you’re looking to increase the number of calories burned on an exercise, consider trying the following:

  • Try HIIT: High-intensity interval training will torch more calories and rev your metabolism, which is termed excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC). Pedal faster and harder and against more resistance.
  • Stand up: If you’re riding a spin bike, stand up on the pedals for sprint intervals. You’ll use more muscles and feel your heart racing.
  • Use a heart rate monitor: Heart rate training can help you be more precise and scientific with your workouts. Getting into higher heart rate zones will help you burn more calories.
  • Work your muscles: Resistance is key. You want your muscles to be challenged. Building muscle will help you burn more calories and get stronger and more powerful for even harder workouts.
A close-up of a bowl of oatmeal with banana slices, blueberries, and seeds on a table.

Nutrition for optimal performance

Any time you engage in a longer cardio workout, whether it be something like biking, running, or swimming, properly fueling your body can make all the difference in your performance. You have likely heard that fasted cardio is a great way to lose weight. While this may be true, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to put in as much effort and burn as many calories on an empty stomach than otherwise.

Try eating an hour before you start biking. Consume a moderate-sized meal that contains a larger amount of healthy complex carbs and a moderate amount of lean protein. An example would be protein oatmeal or chicken and sweet potatoes.

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Christine VanDoren
Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her…
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