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Hello, friends, it’s your favorite Cardio Queen Kathleen here, and today I am going to talk about two subjects that are near and dear to my heart: losing weight and back pain.
Let me tell you how I started my weight loss journey… using a recumbent bike.
For those of you who may not know it, I actually injured my back a few years ago. It broke my heart to discover that many of the cardio workouts I used to do were so painful that I had to stop doing them.
To add insult to injury, I started gaining weight. I kept telling myself that it was OK, that I would drop those few pounds once my back had healed. However, as the weeks dragged on, I found that I was putting on even more weight, causing me even more low back pain.
What a terrible Catch-22 scenario, right? You need to exercise to lose weight and help your back, but you can’t exercise because you have back pain. Ugh.
Before I go on, let me say that I am not a doctor, neither am I a nurse nor physical therapist. Please see one of the above health professionals before you start pedaling away on a recumbent bike or before you do any other exercises.
Are you ready? Let’s talk about how a recumbent exercise bike can help you lose weight and improve your overall fitness level before you can shake a stick!
Do Recumbent Bikes Burn Calories?
You bet your bottom dollar they do!
It’s difficult to find the exact calorie burn you get working out on a recumbent bike, but you can find lots of calculators showing that a person weighing 150 pounds burns about 500 calories an hour on a regular stationary bike!
If you weigh more than 150 pounds, then you will burn even more calories!
Of course, you have to actually pedal hard and work that lower body! You can’t leisurely ride a recumbent bike, or any exercise bike for that matter, and expect to lose weight.
A recumbent bike, even when used at just a moderate intensity, will burn calories and give you a good workout much more than what most people think is possible.
I think the reason most people think that a recumbent bike isn’t a good workout is that you are sitting down, even sitting back against the backrest, giving the impression that you’re almost resting or lying down!
Don’t let that impression fool you! A recumbent bike burns calories like crazy! When it comes to stationary bikes, I believe that only spin bike classes burn more calories. FYI also read my article How Much Weight Can You Lose Riding a Stationary Recumbent Bike for more detailed information.
How Long Should You Ride a Recumbent Bike to Lose Weight?
The answer to this one is difficult because there are so many variables, but generally speaking, most people should start off by riding their recumbent bike regularly, which means 5 or 6 days per week, for 20-30 minutes.
Beginners should focus on working up a sweat at a low-intensity level. Add 2 or 3 minutes to your workouts until you are able to exercise for 1 hour.
Everyone should focus on avoiding a bad diet as well. Diet is probably 80 percent of the battle, so no matter how great the calorie-burning potential of your exercise is, a poor diet will ruin everything you have worked for.
A Few Pro Tips for Losing Weight with a Recumbent Exercise Bike
I would like to offer my best advice to those who really want to lose weight using a recumbent exercise bike.
1. Pick out a couple of HIIT workout programs that you enjoy and do them every other day.
HIIT means high-intensity interval training. Don’t let the name scare you. All it means is that you work hard for a very short period of time (usually just one minute), then you rest or slow down for a short period of time. You repeat this sequence during your entire workout.
Why should you do a HIIT program? First, this type of exercise program is super effective at burning fat. Scientists aren’t sure why this works so well, but the more overweight you are, the more fat and calories you will burn using HIIT.
2. On your rest days, do weight training or some type of exercise that will work your upper body.
Since HIIT programs are designed to be done every other day, you can do another type of exercise on your “off” days.
Elliptical trainers are an excellent choice. There are even seated elliptical machines that will work out your upper body and give you a cardio workout at the same time, like the Teeter FreeStep.
You might decide to take up resistance training or, be like me, and take up rowing. Rowing is another exercise that most people can do, even if they have back pain or bad knees. I love my Ergatta rowing machine, and it doesn’t hurt my back!
By using a different form of exercise, like an elliptical machine or a rowing machine, you challenge your body. You will never hit that dreaded weight loss plateau if you continually mix up your workouts.
To lose weight faster, try the two methods above. I can almost guarantee that if you put in the effort, you will see results.
Is a Recumbent Bike as Good as Walking?
The answer to whether a recumbent bike is as good as walking will depend on your goal. (Be sure to also check out my article on a stationery bike vs walking I’m sure you will find that interesting as well!)
If you want to improve bone density, you need a weight-bearing exercise, like walking.
However, most people want to use a recumbent bike because walking and other forms of stand-up exercise are too painful.
A recumbent bike will burn far more calories than walking does, so for anyone who is interested in losing weight, using a recumbent bike is the better option.
If you walk fast enough, you can also get a good cardio workout, but recumbent exercise bikes offer better results in this area, which is yet another reason to use a recumbent bike over walking.
Last- if you suffer from low back pain, sciatica, bad knees, bad hips, or arthritis, you know that walking can be a painful endeavor.
Burn fat, get a great cardio workout, and give your joints a break by getting an effective workout using your recumbent bike ( learn more on which is better treadmill or recumbent bike ).
Is 30 Minutes on a Recumbent Bike Good for Weight Loss?
For most people, yes, it is.
Obviously, you will need to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, but using a recumbent bike regularly can help you do this.
Most people find it difficult to cut back on enough calories to lose weight. You need to eat fewer than or burn 500 calories each day to lose 1 pound of fat a week. That’s because 500 calories x 7 days a week = 3,500 calories, which is roughly equivalent to the number of calories in 1 pound of fat.
The majority of people find it easier to cut back 250 calories of food or beverages and exercise away another 250 calories.
Do you know how many calories are in a can of soda? On average, a 12 ounce can of cola has 140 calories. If you enjoy one soda with your lunch each day, swap it out for water or a diet soda, and you are more than halfway on your journey to cut out 250 calories!
The same is true with your exercise bike. A 150-pound person only needs to ride their recumbent bike for 30 minutes to burn 250 calories, assuming that they are riding at least at a moderate intensity.
It’s not all that hard to cut back and consume 250 fewer calories, eat a healthy diet, and get in a great workout from that cycling motion! If you want to learn more jump across to my what is a recumbent cross trainer article, where I go into a lot more details
Does Riding Recumbent Exercise Bikes Help You Lose Belly Fat?
Yes, it can!
I know that belly fat is a big problem, and it always seems to be the last place that the body wants to get rid of fat, but it can happen!
When it comes to losing weight, you need to eat a healthy diet and get in some cardio exercise.
While you can lose belly fat through diet alone, it is MUCH easier to reach your weight loss goals when you incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Exercise is not only good for your cardiovascular system, but it also helps to tone and build new muscle. You could lose weight just by dieting, but that flabby tummy will look like a bowl of jello wiggling underneath that dress.
When you add cardio machines, which include exercise bikes and recumbent bikes, you will not only experience greater weight loss, but you will tighten and tone those muscles that make you look thinner.
To get the most out of your weight loss goals, remember to eat less calories, add more protein, and get in at least 30 minutes of exercise (on your recumbent bike or whatever cardio machine you own) most days of the week.
Be Sure to Also Read: Recumbent cross trainer benefits
The Final Takeaway
Let’s face it, dieting is not fun. No one wants to hear “NO” when it comes to your favorite foods.
However, there is almost no way you are going to lose weight if you don’t create a calorie deficit. Swap out some high-carb foods for high-protein foods, and you’re halfway there.
Don’t let that seated position on a recumbent bike scare you. You can get in an outstanding workout, improve your cardiovascular health, build new muscle, and lose weight if you commit yourself to at least 30 minutes a day, 5 or 6 days per week.
You should also check into some high-intensity interval training workouts. They really do burn more calories and will help you reach your weight loss goals faster. I do them on my rowing machine every other day, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy life and lots of low-impact workouts!
Stay healthy and happy, my friends! Life is too short for anything else!
Written by Kathleen Langdon – TheHealthPot.com Founder
Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES)
Kathleen, a mother of two, struggled with ongoing weight and health issues. She created this website after she turned her life around. She built Thehealthpot.com to help inspire and motivate others with their fitness goals. Read more about Kathleen here.