How Long Should a Beginner Ride a Stationary Bike?
It’s pretty easy to get carried away and overdo a workout; it’s even easier to not get much out of it.
Miscalculating how much time you actually need to sweat away fat is a fairly common mistake most of us make.
So, let’s cut to the chase: What’s the case with stationary bikes?
Factors to consider for beginners
We’re serious when we say there are A LOT of elements to consider. However, for the most part, how long you should spend on a stationary bike depends on these factors:
- Type of stationary bike used
- Current fitness level
Type of stationary bike
Stationary bikes aren’t all made equal. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but different types create different benefits.
It’s up to the user as to which one best fits their needs.
There are three main types of stationary bikes:
- Recumbent bikes
- Spin bikes
- Upright bikes
Recumbent bikes essentially have reclined seats with pedals to give the user maximum comfort while working out.
However, this also means they provide the least impact in terms of physical activity and results.
Because of their laid-back design, recumbent bikes are commonly used for injury recovery purposes or low-impact workouts.
Spin bikes sport a different mechanism. They provide a higher impact due to their heavier flywheel, which is basically a heavy wheel that spins when the user starts to pedal.
Spin bikes are perfect for more intense workouts in which the goal is to build muscle and burn fat in less time.
Upright bikes fall between recumbent and spin bikes.
They are much like spin bikes but without the heavy flywheel and provide just the right amount of comfort to get you moving.
Upright bikes are perfect for beginners because of their versatility.
How fit you are determines how much time you need to spend on a stationary bike.
The good news is, you don’t have to be a full-blown cyclist to reap the benefits of stationary cycling.
Whether you’re active or sedentary, healthy, or even injured, stationary bikes can effectively help you maintain or achieve a healthier body.
Setting your goal helps you avoid unnecessary workout plans, so make sure you know why you’re planning to use a stationary bike.
Ask yourself: Is my goal to lose weight? Maintain weight? Improve cardiovascular health? Recover from injuries?
All these things can be achieved through the effective use of a stationary bike—it’s just a matter of knowing what you want to accomplish.
So, commit yourself to a purpose, but most importantly, remember not to stress yourself out too much.
If the journey isn’t enjoyable, you won’t likely stick with it.
Stationary cycling is a relatively low-impact workout. No matter which type of bicycle you choose, it will mainly target cardiovascular health and endurance.
Ideally, a sedentary adult beginner looking to improve cardio and overall health should spend at least 20 minutes at a steady intensity to ease into the workout.
Once you get comfortable with that, you can switch up the intensity by doing interval workouts.
This involves changing up the resistance on your bike within a certain period, which helps you burn more calories and further improve cardiovascular health.
Losing weight is a different matter. You already know that the golden rule is to never neglect your diet as you start on your journey.
As for the workout part, the typical beginner should start with 35-60 minutes of stationary cycling.
You can start slow by keeping the intensity constant.
Then, as you get more comfortable with a prolonged period of cycling, you can ramp up the intensity with added intervals of rest to give your body a break.
If you suffer from an injury, it’s important to consult your doctor rather than get a generic diagnosis online.
However, you do want to avoid spin bikes in general. While all stationary bikes are relatively low-impact, those with injuries are better off starting on recumbent or upright bikes, as they are more lightweight.
Remember that conditioning your body to a workout takes time and patience. Many think that starting with a bang is the best way to go—but this is actually counterproductive.
Getting off to a rough start will just put your body into unnecessary stress, and you might end up relapsing to your sedentary state.