Recumbent stationary bikes have back rests, and you pedal with your legs in front of you rather than below your body like a regular bike. The amount of calories you burn cycling depends on your gender, fitness level, age and body composition, says exercise physiologist William McArdle.
Basal Metabolic Rate
Basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the number of calories you burn while at rest, dietitian Ellen Coleman says. The more fat-free mass you have, such as muscles and connective tissues, the more calories you will burn, which influences how many calories you burn while cycling. For example, if you have 132 pounds of fat-free mass, you would burn about 1,666 calories a day without taking exercise into account.
If you weigh between 100 to 130 pounds, you would burn between 2.8 to 3.8 calories per minute at 5.5 miles per hour, according to McArdle. At 9.5 miles per hour, you would burn between 4.6 to 5.9 calories. If you weigh between 170 to 200 pounds, you would burn between 4.9 to 5.8 calories per minute at 5.5 miles per hour and between 7.7 to 9.9 calories at 9.5 miles per hour. For example, if you weight 100 pounds and you bike at 5.5 miles per hour for 30 minutes, you multiply 2.8 by 30 which equals to 84 calories.
Interval training increases the number of calories you burn. This may involved biking at a high intensity for one minute, followed by low-intensity biking for two minutes. This increases your metabolic rate much higher than doing steady-state cycling, Coleman says.
- "Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance"; William McArdle; 2001
- "Ultimate Sports Nutrition"; Ellen Coleman; 2004