How Many Calories Do You Burn on a Stationary Bike?
Being calorie-aware is great for maintaining (or losing) body weight.
Keeping track of the calories you burn makes it easier for you to achieve the proper fitness level. There are many ways to count your calories.
For the most part, many of us are happy with the built-in calorie counters present in most stationary bikes. But the thing is…
Are they accurate?
The short answer is no; calorie counters on stationary bikes are not accurate.
However, to be fair, getting a computation that’s 100% accurate is an extremely difficult, nearly impossible feat.
You would need to check in with a lab full of scientists and gadgets to hook you up with sophisticated monitoring devices.
For the normal person, that is too much—which is why it’s not surprising that even premium calorie counters such as Fitbits or Nike bands can still be off the mark.
The good news is, calorie counters on stationary bikes are relatively more accurate than those on any other type of gym equipment.
Researchers from the University of California state that stationary bikes have only about a 7% overestimation.
Factors affecting calorie burn during a workout
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to burning calories—and it’s not just the amount of time you spend on the wheel.
To get a more accurate estimate of the calories you burn through stationary cycling, let’s consider some additional components:
- Intensity of exercise
- Fitness level
- Body composition
Intensity of exercise
The more you engage your body in physical activity, the more energy it burns.
Once your body demands more energy, it takes a portion of stored calories. As a result, you burn more fat.
You can switch up your intensity levels on a stationary bike in many ways.
One popular routine is HIIT, or high-intensity interval training.
You can add short bursts of pedaling for a few minutes, and then squeeze in a few seconds of rest, preferably 30-60 seconds.
Your fitness level includes your body weight and how sedentary or active you are.
A body that has been exposed to higher physical activity will burn fewer calories than a completely sedentary person (this doesn’t factor in muscle mass).
This is because the more accustomed you are to movement, the less effort you have to exert on it. Hence, your body has a lower demand for using up energy.
Fitness level becomes a whole different story if we include body composition.
One big component of body composition is muscle. Essentially, a body that’s used to working out will have a bit more muscle.
More muscle means more calories burned. This is because muscle helps in the biological process of burning calories.
Then again, getting some ballpark figures on burning calories is not so bad.
It gives you a rough idea of how much impact your exercise is having, so let’s get some numbers on stationary biking.
An hour of moderate exercise on the stationary bike can shed calories equivalent to three times your weight.
So if you weigh about 130 pounds, you can lose about 300 to 410 calories. Hold it for 30 minutes, and you burn about 200 to 300 calories.
Interestingly, you can lose more calories within the same time frame by adding some intensity to your workout.
You can make your exercise more challenging by incorporating a heavier flywheel or increasing the speed of your pedaling.
As a result, the average 130-pounder can lose six or even seven times their weight—that’s about 620 to 740 calories in total.
The general consensus is, the heavier you are, the more ideally you lose calories.
Does it really matter?
Constantly keeping the tiniest detail in check sounds exhausting.
If you obsess over numbers, you’ll find yourself straying further from your goal—be it weight loss or maintenance.
Don’t get us wrong, though. Checking calories burned can definitely reassure you.
The numbers are there to remind you that working out pays off. Plus, the calorie-in versus calorie-out equation counts for something.
However, it doesn’t account for other important factors.
Remember that numbers aren’t everything.
In the grand scheme of things, counting your calories is irrelevant if you fail to appreciate the joy of sweating it out.
So, the next time you hop on that stationary bike, try not to worry too much about the calories you burn.
Instead, focus on consistency and efficiency. In the end, sticking to what you enjoy doing will definitely reap results.