Stationary and recumbent bikes offer a simple and effective way to get in a moderate or vigorous cardio workout and burn a substantial number of calories. How many calories you burn on a recumbent bike depends on your age and level of fitness, but what matters most of all is your level of intensity during exercise. The faster you pedal and the harder your heart works, the more calories you will burn.
A 155-pound person cycling on a stationary bike at a light pace can expect to burn approximately 387 calories per hour. Kicking up the intensity to a moderate pace increases the caloric expenditure to 493 calories per hour, and if you really push yourself hard, you can burn upwards of 880 calories per hour. Calorie-burn numbers for recumbent bikes generally mirror those of stationary bikes, since the exercises involve similar movements and recruit most of the same muscles.
How many calories you burn during aerobic exercise largely depends on your rate of exertion. The faster you breathe and the more your heart pumps, the more calories you can expect to burn. It has been suggested that the horizontal, reclined body and leg position offered by recumbent bikes takes some of the stress off of your heart during exercise when compared to stationary bikes. This could result a lower oxygen uptake, which may slightly reduce the number of calories you burn, but the difference is negligible.
Heart Rate Zones
For maximum weight loss results, you should work your way up to moderate or high-intensity cycling. You can do this by monitoring your heart rate during training and scaling your workout by dividing it into heart rate training zones. You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Women may have a slightly lower maximum heart rate than men. After you have this number you should experiment with different training zones. For long-distance endurance and longer workouts, keep your heart rate between 50 and 60 percent of its maximum. If you want to push yourself and burn more calories, exceed 80 percent of your maximum heart rate for short intervals.
Recumbent bikes have some advantages over stationary bikes, such as putting less pressure on your back and being more comfortable for longer periods of time, but they aren't for everyone. Generally, recumbent bikes are recommended for those who are less fit or who have cardiovascular issues. If you're fit and healthy, you might get a better workout out of a stationary bike. Recumbent bikes may put more pressure on your knees and if you're not on a stationary recumbent bike, you're going to have to adjust to the novel and slightly awkward maneuverability of the machine on the road. Since most types of cycling will give you similar calorie-burn numbers, you should base your decision on other components of the exercises.
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