Riding a stationary exercise bike can be a great way to work out indoors. Generally, a stationary bike has miles, speed and time displayed on a monitor. If your exercise bike doesn't show all of these variables, it's possible to calculate some of them yourself.
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Using Stationary Exercise Bikes
If you've just bought a new exercise bike, a distance calculator, speedometer, and clock will usually come built-in. Some exercise bikes even include heart rate monitors and have a variety of exercise programs you can choose from. These bikes may even show the number of calories burned per workout.
If your exercise bike is an older or simpler model, it may not have any of these fancy features. You may also find that stationary bike miles aren't calculated on the gym bikes used for cycling classes.
Fortunately, calculating stationary bike miles is easy as long as your bike has a speedometer. You need to know both the time spent and how fast you're going in order to determine the distance. This is because distance is equal to speed multiplied by time. You can also plug your values into an exercise bike distance calculator online if you'd rather not do the math yourself.
Calculating Stationary Bike Miles
Step 1: Start Cycling
As you start cycling, keep an eye on the speedometer. Make sure to stay at the most constant speed possible.
Step 2: Read the Speedometer
Once you've achieved a constant speed, take note of the value your speedometer shows. The number should be in miles per hour. Suppose your speed is 10 miles per hour.
Step 3: Convert Hours to Minutes
There are 60 minutes in an hour. If your speed is 10 miles per hour, then you need to divide 60 by 10 to find out how many minutes it would take you to cycle a single mile.
Sixty divided by 10 equals 6. This essentially means that you need six minutes to cycle a single mile, if you're going at a speed of 10 miles per hour.
Step 4: Determine Distance Per Minute
You might also want to know the distance you're traveling per minute. If your speed is 10 miles per hour, then you'd need to divide 10 miles per hour by 60 in order to find out how many miles you're cycling per minute.
In this case, 10 divided by 60 is 0.167. This means that you are cycling about 0.17 miles each minute. You'll always be cycling a fraction of a mile per minute, unless you're an extremely fast cycler who can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour or higher.
Step 5: Double-Check Your Speed and Calculations
If you want to double-check your math, you can set a stopwatch for the set amount of minutes you've just calculated. For instance, if you were cycling at a rate of 10 miles per hour, you'd set your stopwatch to six minutes.
Step 6: Cycle for 1 Mile
Cycle for the duration of time you've set on your stopwatch. Make sure that your speedometer doesn't show your speed dropping off as the minutes tick by. Cycling at 10 miles per hour is fairly moderate, so you can probably maintain this speed for six minutes.
However, if you're cycling at a speed of 20 miles per hour or more, you might find that it's harder to maintain this constant speed. Any decrease in speed will throw your calculation off. Essentially, once your speed goes down, you'd need to increase your time cycling in order for you to still achieve the appropriate distance.
Stationary Cycling and Your Health
According to a July 2018 study in the International Journal of Contemporary Medical Research, stationary bicycles and treadmills are the most common machines used to exercise indoors. Cycling is a great type of aerobic exercise that can help you stay in shape. It can even support your weight-loss goals.
Calculating stationary bike miles can be helpful when endurance training or preparing for a race. However, it's really the intensity of your exercise that matters if you're cycling as part of your regular exercise routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults perform a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, just half an hour of moderate-intensity cycling can help the average adult burn around 200 to 300 calories. Half an hour of vigorous-intensity cycling can help the average adult burn around 300 to 470 calories.
Moderate-intensity cycling would allow you to talk, but you'd be too out of breath to sing. Vigorous-intensity cycling would have you breathing rapidly; you wouldn't be able to say more than a few words at a time.
- Saddleback Valley Unified School District: "Speed"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?"
- International Journal of Contemporary Medical Research: "Comparison of Energy Expenditure and Cardiac Effort Induced by Treadmill Walking and Stationary Cycling at Moderate Perceived Exertion by Young Males"