We often find ourselves overwhelmed with options, whether we're looking to get in shape for the first time or in a regular exercise routine after a long hiatus. A cursory Google search for "losing weight" or "burning belly fat" will turn up tens of thousands of articles and videos covering individual exercise recommendations, sample fitness routines, nutrition plans, appropriate workout attire, and more. It can be daunting just to get started, especially if you have limited prior experience working out before or aren't paying for a personal trainer.
In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of exercise bikes and whether or not cycling can help you shed that unwanted belly fat. Lets get started!
Getting started losing weight
The truth is, you can achieve the body composition and weight you want with a few simple exercises. Of course, as you work out, your body adapts, so you'll need to vary your intensity and difficulty over time to achieve real and lasting results. But you don't need to know the difference between a tuck planche and a barbell back squat the moment you buy or renew your gym membership.
No, you can make a lot of progress, especially towards weight loss, if you follow a comprehensive health and fitness routine. You'll want to check with your doctor first before beginning a new fitness routine to help you minimize your risk of injury. And you'll want to follow one that consists of a proper diet and quality sleep, as well as anaerobic activities, like weightlifting, and aerobic activities, like running, swimming, or biking.
Biking, in particular, can be an effective way to do aerobic exercise while minimizing your risk of injury. You don't need a top-of-the-line mountain bike to get started. Most gyms have exercise bikes available. And to cater to remote workers during the shutdowns, exercise bike manufacturers have made a wide range of home options available, many of which are quite affordable and comfortable. You can even improve your exercise bikes comfort with the options from Bikeroo.
Now, does cycling burn belly fat? Yes and no. It's impossible to achieve spot reduction (target exactly where the fat you're losing comes from). But as you burn calories, you'll lose weight from everywhere, including your belly. If you stick to your routine, you'll soon reduce your belly fat by cycling.
The benefits of exercise bikes
When you regularly work out on a stationary bike as part of a well-designed health and fitness plan, your body benefits greatly. Over time, you'll likely:
- Lose weight
- Burn body fat
- Improve your cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthen your lower body
- Lower your blood pressure
- Increase your respiratory system and lung health
- Strengthen your immune system
- Reduce your stress levels
- Improve the quality of your sleep
- Reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease
- Improve your posture
- Increase your mental resilience
One of the best aspects of stationary bike workouts is minimizing your risk of workout-related injury or accident. Consider running. When you run, you often put five to twelve times the pressure of your body weight on your knees. If you're significantly overweight, that added pressure can increase the chances of injuring your legs or potentially cause lasting damage in the course of a workout. Even when considering the treadmill or exercise bike for belly fat or weight loss, the bike can be the safer option, especially for those carrying quite a few extra pounds.
You can even consider outdoor cycling for fat loss. While some cities have made significant efforts to create safe spaces for bikers and ensure that they can navigate roadways alongside traffic, others have not. Moreover, in some densely packed cities, bike lanes on narrow roads are simply insufficient when considering the size of some vehicles on the road. Even when biking in a park or the woods, an errant squirrel, slick surface, or an exposed root can cause you to tumble and hurt yourself. You don't have to worry about the weather, as a storm could quickly scuttle your workout plans for the day.
It's hard to pick yourself up and get back at it after an injury takes you off your game for a couple of days, weeks, or even months. But with a stationary bike, you don't have those risks. Stationary bike exercises have minimal impact on your joints and, as you're in one place in the gym or at home, there's a much lower chance of an accident.
How cycling helps with fat loss
To use cycling to burn belly fat, you need to be in what's called a caloric deficit. This simply means you need to burn more calories than you take in. Easier said than done, perhaps, but a solid health and fitness plan will involve you eating healthier foods and fewer calories while burning more calories than you take in through exercise.
Exercise bikes can help you burn a significant amounts of calories. Some estimates hold that if you're a 155-pound man biking at a moderate speed for 30 minutes, you can burn up to 298 calories, while a high-intensity 30-minute biking workout will burn 372 calories. Compare this to walking, where you'll only burn an estimated 140 to 230 calories over 30 minutes. Now, these estimates will vary with your weight, how much resistance you've applied to the bike, and several other factors. But, as you can see, biking can help you regularly torch those calories.
Another key component of weight loss is building muscle. When you engage in cardio activities like biking, you burn calories while you're on the bike. But anaerobic activities have something of an afterburning effect. The muscle you build continues to burn calories even when you're not actively engaged in exercise, helping you lose even more weight. With added muscle, you'll start to shed that excess belly fat quicker, so you'll want to lift some weights in addition to cycling for fat loss.
Fortunately, exercise biking can help you build muscle, allowing you to burn calories even after your workout is complete. By using the resistance options on the bike, you can build up muscle around your:
- Biceps, triceps, and shoulders (if using a bike with handles)
Now, of course, you'll want to complement your cycling with lower body strength-building exercises like squats and lunges. But a bike is a great way to jumpstart lower body muscle development, especially for beginners.
How exercise bikes help you stick to your routine
One of the best aspects of exercise bikes is how customizable they are. You can buy one perfectly suited for your frame or adjust one as necessary to be comfortable (check out Bikeroo's Peloton compatible accessories). Further, an exercise bike is always available, especially if you have one in your home. There is no need to worry about inclement weather or a mechanic's repairs to get your morning workout started!
And unlike many other fitness activities, you can entertain yourself while working out. Many people enjoy being present when working out, focusing on keeping proper form and feeling your muscles work. This is commonly referred to as the "mind-muscle" connection, and there's some evidence that it can help make your workouts more effective.
However, working out regularly each week for most new to fitness can be a daunting proposition. Moreover, while you do put yourself at greater risk of injury cycling outdoors, at least there's something to see. Even if you're listening to music while you bike, you may quickly tire of staring at your bike's display and your wall each morning and feel like you want to give up.
Fortunately, most bikes these days come with built-in display screens and WiFI connectivity. You can tap into a cycling class or your favorite streaming service to occupy yourself while you ride. Soon enough, you'll get lost in what you're watching, and before you know it, your routine will be over for the day. Now, if you've used the proper combination of intensity and resistance, you'll still feel sore. Remember that that soreness is from your cycling burning belly fat and fat in other areas. Just keep in mind that the more you stick to your workout routine, the less painful it will become.
Tips to maximize your exercise bike workout
While an exercise bike is a great weight-loss tool, you can make the experience more comfortable and effective by taking a few steps before starting.
- Getting a comfortable bike seat to minimize the risk of chafing
- Buying clip-in shoes if you have or have access to a bike with clip-in pedals
- Adjusting your seat to your hip height
- Modifying your handlebars so that your arms are slightly bent
- Adding some level of resistance to your ride to minimize uncontrolled rapid pedaling and hip injury risk
- Keeping your feet flat and maintaining good posture when you ride
- Having water, an electrolyte-infused drink, or a protein shake handy
By following these tips, you'll minimize your risk of exercise bike-related injuries, especially those to the knees, hips, neck, or feet. Remember, an injury could easily halt your fitness momentum, making it harder to achieve the fat loss you want. Cycling for fat loss only works if you stick with it day-in and day-out, so do what you can to avoid the risk of injuries. And while spot reduction is impossible, your exercise bike routine will help you burn belly fat as an aerobic component of a well-designed health and fitness plan.
Cycling for fat loss: an excellent choice
While cycling should be one component of a comprehensive fitness routine, it can help you lose weight and burn belly fat over time. Using an exercise bike can help you build muscle, improve your mental, cardiovascular, and respiratory health, and minimize injury risk. When you use one, you can work out in any weather, torching stubborn belly fat while increasing endurance, resilience, and self-esteem.