Can a Recumbent Bike Help Lose Belly Fat?
Recumbent exercise bikes can provide a great, low-impact, aerobic workout without putting too much strain on the joints of the lower legs.
But can a recumbent bike actually help you to lose belly fat? A recumbent exercise bike can be a good way of burning calories as well as boosting your cardio fitness. If you are able to continuously expend more calories than you are taking in, you will eventually see a reduction in belly fat. A recumbent bike can play an important role in this process.
The low impact, controlled range of motion, and reclined position of the recumbent bike make it a popular choice for people experiencing mobility issues, knee injuries, or forms of pain in the back that might be exacerbated by other exercises or sudden movements.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how a recumbent exercise bike might be incorporated into your fitness routine in order to help you burn fat and lose weight. We will also be looking at some of the caveats of fat burning, as well as how you can maximise your recumbent bike workouts to burn as many calories as possible, helping you to achieve your personal weight loss and fat burning goals.
Can I Lose Weight Using a Recumbent Bike?
A recumbent bike can be an effective tool to aid you on your weight loss journey, particularly if you find other forms of exercise inaccessible due to injury or mobility issues.
Recumbent bikes, much like their upright cousins, offer users an aerobic workout for the muscles in lower body that raises the heart rate, gets the lungs working, and ultimately improves cardio fitness. Recumbent bike workouts also help burn calories, which over time can lead to weight loss.
When you bring everything back to basics, losing weight is a numbers game. Although there are countless trending diets, exercise fads, and ‘magic methods’ advertised for losing weight, an essential core of weight loss is expending more calories than you consume over a significant period of time.
For this reason, consistency is key when it comes to weight loss. Many people find the recumbent exercise bike, with its reclined position and stability, to be an accessible and easily maintainable workout. This, in turn, helps them workout more consistently, which can help them stick to their weight loss goals over time.
If you are recovering from a leg or back injury, you may find that other pieces of gym equipment, such as weights, treadmills, or even upright exercise bikes, can cause discomfort. It may be that the recumbent exercise bike, by preventing you from having to bear weight on your lower joints, provides a good rehabilitative option.
Similarly, if you are just starting out on your personal gym journey and feel as if you have limited fitness at this point, the reclined and controlled feel of the recumbent bike could be a good entry point.
There are other workout machines which are likely to burn more calories, minute-by-minute, than the recumbent bike. For this reason, you may find that the recumbent bike serves as a stepping stone to other sections of the gym, rather than being the only machine in your arsenal.
Nevertheless, as with any workout that burns calories, recumbent exercise bikes can certainly help you to lose weight, in conjunction with a healthy diet. Any machine that encourages you to maintain a regular fitness routine – whether through enjoyment, ease of access, or just a lack of discomfort when compared to other exercises – is more likely to be effective in helping you lose weight over time.
Is a Recumbent Bike Good For Belly Fat?
If you are able to maintain regular workouts on the recumbent bike in a way that helps you burn more calories than you are taking in, this will at some point result in a reduction in belly fat.
The stomach is often one of the weight-carrying regions of the body that we want to work on first. Unfortunately, ‘spot reduction’ – the term given for direct targeting of certain fat areas – is actually a myth.
It is not possible to target a certain area of fat with exercise and therefore eradicate it first during weight loss. Different people lose and gain weight from different areas of their body at different rates and in different stages. The reasons for this appear to be varied and complex, and most likely involve genetics.
Although there is no specific exercise that will ‘target’ belly fat, the good news is that if you are able to maintain a calorie deficit through healthy eating and regular exercise, belly fat will eventually start to shed. The recumbent exercise bike can help you burn additional calories during your day, which can in turn speed up the process of stomach fat being eradicated.
Remember, consistency is crucial when it comes to weight loss, and this is true of belly fat reduction as well. We know it can be frustrating when weight doesn’t visibly fall in quite the way that you might want it to, but hang on in there!
Be patient, keep exercising, keep watching what you eat, and stomach fat will eventually be co-opted by the body for energy, resulting in it being reduced.
Recumbent Bike Calories
Since burning calories is such a vital component of losing weight, many people considering purchasing a recumbent bike will want to know how many calories it can burn.
Estimates do vary, but a realistic guide is likely to be anywhere between 400 and 500 calories an hour. This is presuming that you are working out at a moderate intensity.
There are a number of factors that can influence the number of calories you will burn during any single recumbent bike workout. Your weight and general metabolism are not factors you are necessarily going to be able to change in the moment, but there are other things you can do to boost the number of calories burned during your session.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be a great way of really boosting your cardio fitness, whilst also boosting your resting metabolism for a period of time after the workout. In this way, it can be a good method for speeding up weight loss in general.
One way of doing HIIT on the recumbent exercise bike would be to pedal as hard as you can for 20-30 seconds, then for the following 20 seconds reduce your effort to roughly 50%. Continue this pattern for 20 – 30 minutes.
Given the recumbent positioning of the bike, it also means you have to spend less time worrying about balance and stability. This can leave your arms free to do a workout of their own.
Consider adding in hand-held weight exercises, or use resistance bands, to tone the arms and to increase the number of calories burnt during your session. This can be a great way of turning the recumbent bike from a predominantly lower body exercise machine into a piece of kit that can provide a full body workout.
The recumbent exercise bike can provide an accessible, low-impact aerobic workout from the comfort of your living room. Its non-weight bearing function and controlled range of motion make it a popular choice for those recovering from injury or experiencing mobility issues.
Always consult a medical professional if you are unsure about adding a new piece of equipment or workout to your fitness routine. This is particularly important if you are looking to use a piece of equipment for rehabilitative purposes. If you are recovering from a specific injury or experiencing pain, consult a physician to discuss your safest options.
An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!