Stationary bikes are excellent tools for a plethora of fitness goals. You can use indoor bikes to lose weight, strengthen your muscles, increase stamina, and even sleep better. While everyone agrees to that, there are different opinions on how long you should ride a stationary bike.
Luckily, you’re on the right page.
We’ll discuss that issue, taking into account a crucial factor: your goals. Side-note: you may not know this, but there are different types of stationary bikes, and you should choose the best one according to what you’re trying to achieve and your current fitness level.
So, let’s begin:
How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike According to Your Goals
Everyone’s different, and so your fitness goals will be very different than other people’s. However, you’re most likely using your exercise bike to get fitter – when it comes to both your body and mind. So the duration of your workout will depend on those objectives like this:
How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike to Warm-Up and Cool-Down
As a rule of thumb in this busy world, warm-up and cool-down on your stationary bike should last 5-10 minutes. However, feel free to change that duration according to your total workout length and intensity:
- A 15-20-minute routine may be accompanied by shorter warming up and cooling down periods, although:
- An intense 15-minute routine will need a lengthier warm-up and cool-down.
So consider what you’re going to do after that warm-up:
- Will you do some Pilates or Yoga? Then 3-5 minutes worth of warm-up on a recumbent bike is okay.
- Will you jump into a HIIT, strength-building, or jump-rope routine? Then you need about 10 minutes on an upright or air bike.
How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike to Lose Weight
All types of exercise bikes burn around 400-600 calories/ hour:
- Recumbent bikes: 400 calories/ hour
- Upright bikes: 500 calories/ hour
- Assault (air) bikes: 600 calories/ hour
- Spin bikes: 500-600 calories/ hour
In addition, the general rule is that a regular person without any metabolic disorders needs to burn 3500 calories to burn a pound of fat.
That means you’ll typically need 7-9 hours on your exercise bike to lose that pound of fat.
But there’s a problem:
Significantly few people can go for 7-9 hours straight on an indoor bike, and those that do are already athletes. You’ll need to pace yourself if you’re a regular person because lengthy daily workouts will destroy your muscle mass.
Especially if you’re pushing hard on a spin or assault bike.
So the best advice if you’re trying to lose weight is to listen to your body and work smart:
- 30-50 minutes every other day will give your muscles plenty of time to recover.
- HIIT workouts help you to avoid plateaus.
- Assault bikes and spin bikes exercise your entire body, which helps you burn more calories in the process.
How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike to Build Mobility
You can build mobility on your exercise bike with 5-10-minute sessions that you repeat throughout the day. These exercises are light, so you and people who want to improve mobility, flexibility, and range of motion usually purchase recumbent bikes.
Also, sessions for improved mobility are low-intensity and short so that they won’t tear up your muscle tissue. That means your muscles need less time to recover, so practically, you can do these workouts every day.
How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike to Build Muscle
Firstly, you’ll need the right bike to build muscle. People generally buy spin bikes for muscle building, but you can also get a recumbent bike with a hefty flywheel. If you also want to shed weight in the process, consider an assault bike because these bikes’ resistance increases when you’re pedaling faster.
Once you get the right bike, you need to use it for:
- At least 20-30 minutes per session every other day, or:
- Less than that but in combination with strength training.
Here are some tips to get it right:
- Start small, but increase the exercise duration if you’re feeling up to it.
- Don’t overexert yourself; muscle building implies tearing your muscle tissue so it can grow bigger and stronger. So, your muscles need that recovery period because otherwise, they’ll simply stay torn.
- If you’re new to this, start with shorter sessions and lower resistance levels until you discover what challenges you personally.
- Make sure to adjust the resistance every week or so, as you’re feeling stronger.
How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike to Improve Your Mood
You can ride a stationary bike to improve your mood:
- Every day if you’re not making too much of an effort. For example, 30 minutes each day before bed or right after you wake up at low intensity is fine.
- Every day if you’re doing short bursts. If you feel stressed, you can take that out on your exercise bike. Punishing your exercise bike sounds pretty intuitive, but studies also show that cortisol – the stress hormone – needs physical exercise to get out of your system. So, you only need 5-10 minutes on your indoor bike to feel better and think more clearly.
Warning: riding a stationary bike can get pretty addictive. Many people have noticed that pedaling on indoor bikes stabilizes their moods and improves their sleep.
That’s why you risk riding your bike for too long and too often, which:
- Messes with your metabolism
- Ruins your muscles
- Leads to weight gain
In Conclusion. How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike
Although many internet sources tell you that you should use your exercise bike for at least 30 minutes every two days, that duration is by no means set in stone. You should always be flexible and exercise according to your needs, goals, and current fitness level.
Besides, many indoor bikes have customized built-in workout programs. So, if you’re not sure what works for you yet, you can browse and combine those auto workouts to get the best bang for your time.
Otherwise, remember our guidelines above:
- Warm-up and cool-down: 5-10 minutes
- To lose weight: 30-50 minutes every other day
- To build mobility: 5-10-minute sessions that you repeat throughout the day
- To improve your mood: Daily, if you’re not making too much effort and/ or short bursts
Also, remember that choosing the right exercise bike for your needs is critical.