Using an exercise bike for weight loss is an excellent idea for many reasons.
Riding a bike:
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Builds leg muscles, especially in the thigh
- Tones legs and buttocks
- Supports the body’s weight, easing pressure on knee and ankle joints
- Lowers risk of injury
- Encourages lower-body strength, flexibility, and range of motion
The same benefits can be derived when you are using a traditional upright bike.
There are several advantages, however to performing this activity inside. In addition to increased safety, biking indoors removes the threat of weather (and beast), and allows you the opportunity to read or watch television while you burn calories.
It’s amazing how an activity that seems to drone on forever when you are alone outside in the heat or cold, can zip by when you are mentally engaged in a favorite show, novel, or electronic game. That’s one of the reasons why it’s such a good idea to workout with a friend if you are outside.
Most bikes have resistance settings that allow you to control the intensity of your workout. You can start off slow and easy and increase the resistance as you progress. It can be very motivating to keep track of your improvement!
Traditional bike riding is fun too!
Recumbent bikes have become quite popular for indoor use. They usually have wider, more comfortable seats, and many of the more expensive models can be easily folded away for storage. Some have digital displays and can even be programmed to show heart rate, calories burned, or competitive workout routines.
A simple routine of three times a week for 20-30 minutes is recommended for cardiovascular benefit, but don’t forget to add on a brief warm up and cooling down period as well.
A 30 minute workout burns somewhere between 100-300 calories, depending on your body weight, speed, resistance, etc.
Working out on an empty stomach? A 2011 report published in Strength and Conditioning Journal reports that the body burns approximately the same amount of fat regardless of whether you eat before or after a workout. The report goes on to state, however, that without proper fuel for the workout, your body may lose muscle, and your calorie-burn will be diminished. This study directly contradicts the myth that exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat, and will come in handy when using an exercise bike for weight loss.