Stationary Bike Workout: How Long?

Participating in regular physical activity provides many health benefits. Cardiovascular workouts, such as riding a stationary bike, require you to move continuously for a significant period of time. How long you need to ride a stationary bike depends on what fitness and health benefits you're looking to acquire.

Group of people on stationary bikes during a workout (Image: Jonatha Borzicchi/iStock/Getty Images)

Your Ride

The stationary bike is a piece of cardio exercise equipment typically found in a fitness club or purchased for home use. It's a popular workout activity because it offers a mode of exercise for those who are unable to handle high-impact exercise. If you want to jazz up your workout on the bike, listen to your favorite playlist, or set up your laptop on a table and watch a video online.

It's All Good

Cardiovascular exercises such as riding the stationary bike causes your heart rate to elevate as it attempts to handle the increased need of oxygen by your muscles and tissues. Your cardiovascular system becomes more efficient, and your heart becomes stronger, pumping out more blood with each beat. Consistent cardio workouts have been attributed to reducing health risks, limiting chronic conditions and decreasing unhealthy cholesterol. Riding the stationary bike also contributes to achieving and maintaining a healthy body fat percentage, as cardio exercises cause you to burn a significant amount of calories per unit of time.

Heart Health

To see cardiovascular benefits, you need to ride the stationary bike for at least 30 minutes. Follow the Centers for Disease Control's guidelines for the amount of physical activity needed to improve your health and well-being. The 30 minutes of bike riding does not need to occur all at once. Breaking up the workout into three 10-minute sessions will provide the same heart-health benefits.

Your Loss

Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume. Therefore, to lose body fat, you want to burn as many calories as possible during your stationary bike workouts. Increasing your workouts from 30 to 60 minutes is ideal. According to Harvard Health, a 155 pound person will burn about 520 calories per hour of bicycling at a moderate pace. The stationary bike is not the most effective cardio activity to burn calories, so longer workouts are more ideal. You will receive the same heart health benefits when you exercise for longer than 30 minutes.

Tips

It's important for you to train at an appropriate intensity during your stationary bike workouts. If you do not elevate your heart rate to an adequate pace, you will not see cardio or weight loss benefits. Whether riding the stationary bike to increase your heart health or to lose body fat, you should work out within you target heart rate range, which is 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can calculate this by first subtracting your age from 220, then multiplying that value by both 0.50 and 0.85 to estimate the appropriate range.

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