If you love indoor cycling but can't afford a traditional stationary bike, a mini stationary bike is a portable, inexpensive alternative that offers virtually the same benefits. You can even take the bike with you to work, increasing your exercise opportunities. To maximize your weight-loss with this tool, you'll need to incorporate a healthy diet into your exercise routine.
Cycle Regularly and Intensely
Cycling is a form of cardiovascular exercise, which means you'll burn more calories than you would with weightlifting or targeted exercises such as sit-ups. The number of calories you burn depends on your weight and the intensity with which you cycle. For example, a 125-pound person cycling at a moderate pace will burn about 210 calories in 30 minutes, while a 185-pound person will burn 311 calories. If you increase your speed to a vigorous pace, you'll burn 315 calories at 125 pounds and 466 calories at 185 pounds in 30 minutes. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 300 minutes of cardio per week for maximum health benefits, and you'll burn more calories if you can hit this goal.
Progressively Increase Intensity
As you gain strength and cardiovascular endurance, you can burn more calories by progressively adding intensity. Some, but not all, mini stationary bikes allow you to adjust the intensity of your cycling session. Try increasing the resistance of the pedals or increasing the incline. A more intense cycling session means you'll burn more calories more quickly. If your primary goal is to shed weight fast, invest in a cycle that allows you to adjust settings. If you're not ready for a highly challenging routine, you can still increase your caloric burn by doing interval training. Simply alternate between periods of intense activity and more moderate activity. You might, for example, cycle at close to your maximum speed for one minute, then return to a lower pace for another minute, continuing to alternate between the two paces for the entirety of your routine.
Use Cycling as a Break
The primary advantage of mini stationary bikes is that they're small and portable. You can increase the number of calories you burn each day by taking breaks from work to cycle for a few minutes. When you're working and get up to stretch, try hopping on the mini stationary bike instead. You can even try reading while pedaling at a leisurely pace or taking phone calls when you're on the bike.
Incorporate Strength Training
The CDC advises that adults need at least two days per week of strength training to maintain optimum health. Strength training can also help you achieve your fitness goals. It doesn't burn many calories, but it will build muscle. Muscle requires more energy than fat, which means that building muscle can help rev up your metabolism. If you want to get your strength and cardio training done more quickly, try combining them. You can do dumbbell curls and similar arm exercises as you cycle.
Don't Forget About Diet
Although cycling can help you lose weight, you'll lose weight more quickly if you keep your diet under control. If you take in only as many calories as you need to sustain your current weight, cycling can help you lose weight. But if you reduce your caloric intake by a few hundred calories lower than the number you need to maintain your weight, you'll lose weight more quickly. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories; consequently, to lose a pound a week through diet alone you'd need to eliminate 500 calories every day.
About the Author
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.