Sometimes there's no better way to recharge than with a beat-bumping, high-energy ride on a stationary bike. You can feel yourself breaking a sweat, but without an indoor cycling distance calculator, it's hard to know how far you're really going. A 30-minute bike ride is how many miles?
Your mileage in an indoor cycling class depends on factors like personal effort and the number of hills you ride. Most people can expect to cover around 10 miles in a 30-minute class.
Benefits of Indoor Cycling
Not only are indoor cycling classes fun; they're also one of the best cardio workouts out there. Indoor cycling gets your heart rate up without putting too much stress on your joints, which makes it great for people working through knee, ankle or hip injuries. And according Harvard Health Publishing, a 2016 study in the Journal of Fitness Research reports that indoor cycling might provide a more efficient fat burning workout than other moderate-intensity exercises like running.
Read more: Stationary Bike Workout: How Long?
How Many Miles?
Your mileage in indoor cycling class depends on how fast you're pedaling. According to Harvard Health Publishing, 30 minutes on a stationary bike at a moderate pace will burn anywhere from 210 to 311 calories, depending on your weight. And vigorous cycling for 30 minutes will burn between 315 and 466 calories.
Speed on a bike is measured by cadence, the number of wheel revolutions per minute (RPM). You can think of this as the number of rotations one leg makes around the bike in 60 seconds. In order to mimic the speed of cycling outdoors on a flat road, Spinning.com recommends maintaining a cadence of 8 to 110 rpm. For hills, your cadence should be between 60 and 80 rpm.
Unfortunately, unless your bike comes with a built-in indoor cycling distance calculator, it's tough to know exactly how many miles you're fitting in. According to IndoorCyclingMixes.com, one hour of robust exercise on a stationary bike will take you are as far as 20 miles (10 miles for 30 minutes).
If you're cycling on a hill (with your bike resistance turned up), you'll obviously have a lower RPM than if you're sprinting on flat road (with low resistance). This means your mileage will be lower — but it doesn't mean your workout won't be as effective! According to the American Council on Exercise, your work in a cycling class is based on a combination of factors like terrain (resistance) and speed. Mileage alone does not determine your success in a cycling class.
Measuring Your Heart Rate
Ultimately, your mileage really depends on the specific focus of the class. Are you doing more hills than flat road? Rather than thinking about the miles you've traveled, think about how much effort you're exerting. Using a heart rate monitor is a great way to ensure you're getting a high-intensity aerobic workout, which will improve your cardiovascular health.
Read more: What Is a Good Exercise Heart Rate?
Monitor your energy zones throughout the workout based on your heart rate. The Energy Zone Heart Rate Chart from Spinning.com provides an estimate of exertion levels based on age. For maximum weight loss benefits, Harvard Health Publishing recommends spending most of your workout between 60 percent and 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. This number, more than your mileage, will ensure you're pushing your body to its limit without overdoing it.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "What Are the Average Miles You Ride in a 60 Minute Spin Class?"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- IndoorCyclingMixes.com: "How Many Miles Do You Ride in a 45 or 60 Minute Indoor Cycling or Spin Class?"
- Spinning.com: "High Intensity Training in the Spinning Program"
- Spinning.com: "Energy Zone Heart Rate Chart"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Feel the Beat of Heart Rate Training"
- American Council on Exercise: "Terms to Know to Tackle Your First Indoor Cycling Class"