How Many Calories Do We Burn On An Exercise Bike

Calories Burned On An Exercise Bike

Riding an exercise bike is a powerful way to burn calories which can help you lose weight, burn fat, and stay in shape. 

Indoor cycling is a nearly risk-free activity offering a non-impact workout that’s easy on your bones, joints, and tendons, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be intense.

In this article, we’ll give you a breakdown of how many calories you’ll burn while riding, and lots of helpful tips to boost your burn to help you reach your goals safely and faster.

Calories Burned Riding At Different Levels

Our bodies are amazing machines. 

When we do cardiovascular exercise, they take calories from the food we eat and fat we’ve stored and convert them into energy to fuel that movement.

How many calories you will need when you exercise depends on several factors. 

Your gender age, height, and weight will all play a part, as will how intensely you exercise.  Our estimations that follow are based on a 40-year old female who is 5’5” tall and 150 pounds and a 40-year old male who is 6’0” and 200 pounds.

Calories Burned Riding At A Low Intensity

Low-intensity exercises are defined as working at between 40-54% of your maximum heart rate.  If you’re a numbers person, you can determine your estimated maximum heart rate with the following formula:

220 - Your age in years = Max Heart Rate

Once you have that number, multiply it by .4 and .54 to get the beats per minute of your heart rate range that constitute low-intensity exercise.

Our example female would burn around 4 calories per minute riding an exercise bike at a low intensity, and our example male would burn approximately 6 calories per minute.  That means, in a 30-minute session you could work off between 120 and 180 calories.

Calories Burned Riding At A Moderate Intensity

Moderate intensity exercise is when you’re working at 55-69% of your max heart rate.  

​​​​Here, you’ll feel like you're working harder and may be a bit short of breath.  If you’re in this zone, you’ll be able to talk and carry on a conversation, but singing would be impossible.

Our sample female would burn 10 calories per minute riding at a moderate intensity, and our example male would rack up closer to 13 per minute.

Calories Burned Riding At A High Intensity

High-intensity exercise is when you’re working at 70% or above of your max heart rate. 

​​​​This can be uncomfortable for some people, and you may not be able to do it for an extended period.  That said, high-intensity exercise is extremely efficient when it comes to burning calories.

Our female candidate would scorch around 12 calories per minute riding at this intensity, and our male could burn up to 16.  That means in just 30 minutes you could use between 360 and 480 calories while riding an exercise bike if you can keep a high intensity.

Ways To Boost Your Burn When You Ride

There are two main ways to burn more calories when you’re riding an exercise bike. 

You can either ride harder or ride longer.  

Nearly everyone can safely add both intensity and time to their workouts to rack up their results, as long as you do it the right way.  Here are some pro tips to make it happen.

How To Ride Harder

In the numbers above, it’s pretty clear that riding harder is a good way to burn more calories, but it’s not always easy to accomplish. 

If you’re just starting out and want to boost your intensity, or if you’re an experienced rider looking for a challenge, try one of these methods.

  • Intervals.  Use either a pre-programmed setting on your exercise bike, or watch the clock.  Try for a 2:1 ratio, meaning you get 2 minutes of recovery for every 1 minute of hard work.  Crank up the resistance, or step up your speed by 10 or more rotations per minute during the interval, and back it off to catch your breath during the recovery.
  • Tabata.  A shorter version of interval training, this is a high-intensity workout that adds bursts of speed with short recoveries.  To do it, watch your clock and push hard for 20 seconds by picking up your pace, then recover for 10 seconds.  Repeat eight times for a four-minute circuit.  Then, ride at your average pace for a minute and do it again!
  • Hills.  Try using the random setting on the bike, or creating your own fun hill training profile.  Every minute, change the resistance on your bike by at least three.  For example, once you’ve done your warm-up, ride your first minute at a resistance of 3, your next at 6, the following at 2, and then the next at 5.  This will keep your muscles guessing and your heart rate pushing hard.

​​​How To Ride Longer

If you would rather add time to your daily workouts, you’ll want to ramp it up safely. 

First, make sure you plan accordingly if your sweat session is going to jump from 30 to 45-minutes, for example.  You’ll want to ensure you can still make it to work or home on time, so you may need to wake up a bit earlier or rearrange your schedule.

Additionally, experts recommend that you don’t increase your training volume by a significant amount all at once. 

​​​​To do it safely, add no more than 10% week over week to your load.  So, if you usually do 30-minutes per day, the first week add just 3-minutes to each session.

In each week that follows you can safely add a few minutes more until you’ve worked up to your total time goal.

Conclusion

Riding an exercise bike is a safe and effective way to torch calories.  Whether you’re looking to lose weight, get in shape, decrease your body fat, or just be healthy, it’s a method that nearly everyone can do.  

There are lots of ways to ramp up your intensity, and they are fun to incorporate into your daily workouts.

This post was last updated on November 2nd, 2017 at 05:50 pm

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

Leave a Comment: