An exercise bike is well known to be very effective for cardio workout. In addition, many people are also using them to achieve their weight loss target. Depending on the individual, the weight loss result varies from “very effective” to “it doesn’t work”. Why is that so? Before we plunge into looking for the best exercise bikes for weight loss, let’s first take a look at how they help to lose weight, and why everyone is not seeing positive results using them to shed off their extra kilos.
It has already been proven that it is possible to lose weight through cardio workouts if you do it correctly. Yes, you have to do it correctly. Simply riding on an exercise bike without any knowledge and strategy will not get you anywhere as far as weight loss is concerned.
If the objective is purely to lose weight, than whether you are riding on an upright or recumbent bike, it does not really matter. Both styles will help you burn calories. This is an important element for weight loss. The machines work on different parts of your body muscles to burn calories, mainly the quadriceps (muscles in front of your thighs) and hamstrings. Abdominal and back muscles are also involved in workouts using exercise bikes. I have to highlight that if you are a beginner or suffering from lower back problems, than it is highly recommended that you should go for the recumbent exercise bike as it provides support for the back.
I came across an interesting video below that suggests a 4 min fat burning workout using an exercise bike. Take a look to see if it works for you.
As mentioned, burning calories is an important factor in weight loss. Working out on an exercise bike provides you with an anaerobic effect that can quickly increase your heart rate, and therefore burn more calories. The key to effectively losing weight using any other fitness equipment is to stay within your target heart rate zone. This is about 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). You can calculate your own MHR by subtracting your age from 220. Therefore, if you are riding the exercise bike without monitoring your heart rate to ensure it is in your target heart rate zone, than it may not help very much in losing weight. This is the main reason why some people said that they did not see much result in losing weight using an exercise bike.
One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. In a typical 45 minutes group indoor cycling workout session on exercise bike, you can expect to burn roughly between 500 to 600 calories. So, if you can diligently workout 30 minutes on an exercise bike every day for 5 days a week, then in one year’s time from now, you can expect to shed off about 25 pound of fat. This is purely by estimation only without any considerations on your diet and your specific health factors.
Following a good workout routine with an exercise bike will also play an important role to lose weight. So what is a good workout routine? It should typically last between 45 to 60 minutes, including a warm up that gets blood to flow to all the muscles. During the workout, you have to stay within your target heart rate. To achieve better results, try to vary the routine with different heart rate zones, ranging from 60% to 90% of your MHR. You should keep changing your heart rate, and alternate between different heart rate zones without keeping in the same zone for too long. The routine should end with a warm down to redirect blood away from active muscles and back to the organs.
If you exercise regularly within your target-training zone, you can easily achieve more in less time. Each zone offers different benefits. The most beneficial heart rate zone is 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate, and this is where you will achieve cardio benefits, burn fat, and become more fit. Some details for you below on the different heart rate zones that you can target and switch around during your workout.
– Health Maintenance (65%-78% of MHR) – Low-intensity level training. Good if you’re a beginner and strengthening your cardiovascular system.
– Aerobic Exercise (65%-85% of MHR) – Increases strength and endurance. Burns calories faster and can be sustained during longer workouts.
– Anaerobic Exercise (78%-90% of MHR) – Improves speed and power. This zone builds muscle faster, but cannot be maintained for long workouts.
– Red Line (90-100% of MHR) – Maximum capacity.
Watch below an interesting video for a walk through on how to calculate your target heart rate zone.
To lose weight, focus on your heart rate instead on the resistance level of the bikes. The resistance builds on strength more than it burns calories. However, it is also important to vary the resistance level in order to make the workout more enjoyable and fun, simulating riding on hills and valleys.
So you have now some ideas on how exercise bikes can help to lose weight. Let’s see what kind of features an exercise bike should have in order to help its rider to lose weight easier.
First, the exercise bike should come with a display console that shows information like time, distance, as well as calories burnt. This is important as you need to monitor and make sure you have spent sufficient amount of time for each workout session, and also the calories burnt to determine if you have met your daily objectives.
Secondly, the exercise bike should be equipped with a heart monitoring system. As described earlier, effective weight loss can be achieved by making sure your heart rate is always within the target heart rate zone during your workouts. With a built-in heart rate monitoring system, it will be very convenient to track this information.
Last but not least, an exercise bike that has a heart rate control program will allow users to set a heart rate goal for the workout. This is especially important if your objective to exercise is to lose weight. This kind of program will automatically ensure that you are working within your desire heart rate without the hassle to constantly monitor it on the display console. It lets you focus just on the riding without worrying on whether your heart rate has dropped or increased beyond the targeted zone.
Based on the research I have done to determine the best bikes for weight loss, I would conclude that one of the best exercise bikes for weight loss will be the Schwinn 250 Recumbent Exercise Bike. This is one of the very popular stationary exercise bikes been sold on Amazon right now. Besides cardio training on the leg and abdominal muscles, it can definitely help you to lose weight if used correctly. On top of all the features mentioned above, it also comes with support on telemetry heart rate monitoring system. The bike is super quiet and smooth. Last but not least, this bike has no problem for a 300lbs person to ride on. With the large and comfortable seat, it makes losing weight so easy and comfortable!
You can get a very detailed review of this exercise bike at Schwinn 250 Recumbent Exercise Bike Review.