As it can be such a relaxing, comfortable ride, some wonder if the calories burned on a recumbent bike can even compare to other forms of aerobic exercise. They want to reach their fitness goals at a reasonable pace and know that the effort they put in is worthwhile. After all, if you can’t accelerate your fitness on an exercise machine, what’s the point of buying it? Sure, using a recumbent bike offer benefits that go beyond burning calories, such as improving range of motion in the lower body joints and improving your posture. But, when shedding pounds is your primary concern you want to know that you’ve made the right choice. You just may be surprised at how many calories are burned on a recumbent bike.
Factors that Influence How Many Calories You Burn
Every individual is going to get different results from their workout sessions. Your own bodyweight, for starters, has a big impact on how many calories you burn. Those who weigh more burn more calories per minute. This holds true for exercise of all types. On a recumbent bike, a person who weighs about 100 to 130 pounds can expect to burn around 3 to 4 calories per minute, assuming they’re cycling at a steady rate of 5.5 MPH (1). All else equal, someone who weighs around 200 pounds can burn around 5 to 6 calories per minute.
But weight is hardly the only factor that influences how many calories you burn. There’s also how fast you go and whether you’re riding at a steady pace or in intervals. There’s also the resistance levels used to consider. And your basal metabolic rate (BMR) also plays a part, of which your muscle mass can play a role (2).
Calories Burned on Recumbent Bike vs Upright
Now some may suspect that burning around 5 calories a minute sounds a bit low, even for a 200 pound person. It would mean that a one hour workout only does away with about 300 calories. Again, there are a lot of factors that can be influenced to increase this number. But when it comes down to it, there’s no hiding the fact that you’ll get a slightly higher calorie burn on an upright than you will on a recumbent bike. The upright just places so much more stress on the body, which happens to be a disadvantage to those with joint, bone, and ligament issues. When the same type of program, resistance level, and exertion are used, uprights win on the calorie burn, but the difference isn’t substantial (3).
How to Tell if Your Recumbent Bike Calories are Accurate
It seems like magic – you punch in a set of numbers, including your weight and age. The machine monitors your workout and tells you how many calories you burned. Can you trust it? Perhaps. As a rule of thumb, the higher the quality of the machine the more accurate the readouts are, but higher quality does come at a higher price. One way to always be sure that your data for calories burned on recumbent bike are accurate is to check them against an outside source. Many recumbent bikes can work in collaboration with third-party fitness apps to help users ensure accuracy in their workout details. The Nautilus r616, for example, is compatible with a number of fitness apps, including the Nautilus Trainer 2 app. This app not only collects fitness details from the exercise machines that feed into it, but works with Apple Health, which also calculates how many calories you burn. Combined, these tools give you deep inside into where you’re at with your fitness goals and the progress you’re making.
How to Burn More Calories on Your Recumbent Bike
If you’re still concerned that the calories burned during your recumbent bike exercise sessions is too low, there are a lot of things you can do to boost the number while using this machine. One of the most effective approaches is to use your recumbent bike for high intensity interval training. HIIT routines, even on recumbents, are known to blast through the calories like almost nothing else and expedite your results(4). But if you’re not up to keeping up with the various sets and resistance levels on your own, buying a recumbent bike that features several preprogrammed interval workouts for you to choose from can be a great workaround.