It's easy to say that most people need to spend more time exercising to slim down -- but when you have barriers standing in your way, losing weight can be a daunting endeavor. Whether you're too busy for the more standard forms of exercise or you don't have the mobility to use standard gym equipment, one alternative is to use a mini-exercise bike, sometimes referred to as an exercise peddler. Stash this simple, portable device under your desk at work or use it while you're in your living room; either way, foot peddlers can most definitely help you lose weight.
A Look at Calories
To burn one pound of fat, you have to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. There are two ways to do this: eat less calories and increase your level of activity. How many calories you actually burn by using the foot peddler is going to depend on a number of factors, including your age, weight, fitness level and the intensity at which you pedal. For a 160-pound person, you can roughly assume you'll burn about 290 calories cycling at a slow 5.5 mph, according to the American Council on Exercise. A 200-pound person will burn 363 calories going the same pace. If your foot peddler has a "calories burned" calculator, assume you're burning roughly that number of calories. Enter your age and weight into the computer, if prompted, to get a more accurate reading.
Up the Intensity
Going at that 5.5 mph pace will help the 160-pound person burn off a pound of fat in about 12 hours, the 200-pound person after about 10 hours using the foot peddler at that pace. However, it's also possible to up the ante and burn even more calories. One way to do it: increase the tension on the machine, making it more difficult to pedal, and then work to keep the same pace as you've maintained. Also, try pedaling faster for short bouts, and then slowing to that "regular" pace you're used to. This is a variation of high-intensity interval training, which can help you get more physically fit and boost your metabolism for hours following the workout. And consider the amount of time you spend on the machine. If you're using the foot peddler at work while you type on the computer, it may be possible to pedal at a slow pace for several hours, thereby burning a lot of calories over the course of a single day.
Change How You Eat
If you're using the foot peddler regularly and you're not seeing results you'd hoped for, take a look at what you're eating. Dieters have a lot more success when their weight loss programs include exercise as well as calorie reduction. More people are successful when they join a weight-loss program that designs or recommends certain foods, suggests the National Weight Control Registry. Whether or not that's feasible for you right now, start by cutting out junk foods, alcohol and excess sweets. Replace them with fruits, vegetables, lean protein and complex carbohydrates. While you're trying to reduce calories, don't skip breakfast, and focus on protein instead of cereals or breads. Protein has a higher thermic effect, notes the American Council on Exercise, so it will take more calories to digest them and make you feel more satiated.
Even More Exercise
The foot peddler is an effective way to stay active throughout the day -- but for weight loss, it may take a long time to see results. Consider adding other effective workouts into your routine. To boost your weight loss efforts, for example, add resistance training two or three days a week. Not only will resistance training burn calories, but your additional muscle is also going to help you burn even more calories when you're pedaling. For optimal results, do a set of dumbbell curls and shoulder presses while you're pedaling with the machine.
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: Feasibility of a Portable Pedal Exercise Machine for Rdducing Sedentary Time in the Workplace
- American Council on Exercise: Calculate Your Calories Burned
- American College of Sports Medicine: Eight Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training
- American Council on Exercise: Diet vs Exercise
- The National Weight Control Registry: NWCR Facts
- American Council on Exercise: Calorie Burners: Activities That Turn Up the Heat
- American Council on Exercise: Don't Skip Breakfast to Cut Calories