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How Long Should You Ride a Stationary Bike?

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how long should you ride a stationary bike

It’s tricky to balance our daily life with the time needed for exercise. Cycling at home presents a compromise, affording us flexibility and convenience. However, how long should you ride a stationary bike?

A stationary bike duration of 30 to 60 minutes is recommended for daily exercise, and most routines fall within this range. However, there is more to know about this, including ways of ensuring the quality of your workouts.

Keep reading to learn more.

Recommended Duration of a Stationary Bike Workout


Stationary cycling is a great exercise that you can do in the gym, but one of its appeals is that you can also do it in the comfort of your home anytime. It’s also flexible, whether you’re working with a time limit or are free for the day.

However, doing too little means you won’t be reaping the benefits of exercise, and this bicycle workout is no different.

The recommended duration for riding a stationary bike ranges from around 30 to 60 minutes per day; this is according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, which is tasked with promoting the general health and well-being of the national population.

The problem with this though, is that you can be pedaling at the rate of a crawl for 60 minutes, and that won’t be any good.

We need to maintain a certain degree of intensity, and one way to gauge if we’re doing enough in that span is by checking the distance we cover, and covering five miles a day is enough for weight loss, although there are other factors. Calorie burn is another way of gauging workout progress, but we’ll cover more of that later.

Factors Influencing Exercise Bike Session Duration


  • Fitness goals
  • Experience level
  • Workout intensity
  • Body limits

Here are the biggest factors that affect the optimal exercise time on a stationary bike. The first two are easy to understand; the length changes depending on what you want to achieve, which, in turn, changes how long you need to work for each session; then, being accustomed to cycling makes the process smoother, speeding things up.

The third refers to the resistance setting on our machine. Switching between intensity levels is key when exercising on a stationary bike, but adjusting the resistance can be complicated. For now, we’ll simplify by referring only to three levels: low, medium, and high.

Low is when pedaling comes easy for you, while medium is comparable to cycling on flat ground where you feel resistance but you are still comfortable enough to do other things like talking or watching TV. High is any level harder than medium, such as when simulating an uphill climb.

There’s also the current limit of our bodies, and you will need to keep yourself in check to ensure that you don’t overstrain and injure yourself. You don’t have to worry about this too much because you will raise your limit as you exercise regularly, but it is something beginners should watch out for.

Formulating Your Routine – Duration Based on Goals and Experience

Now, let’s try formulating the duration for indoor cycling based on our needs and capabilities. This will vary greatly depending on each person because we need to see what works for us as well as what we are comfortable with.

1. For Beginners


If you’re looking for a stationary bike workout for seniors or beginners, the minimum duration of 30 minutes is our initial target. The goal is to raise the limit after gaining more cycling experience. However, a lower duration does not mean the exercise is only for the less experienced.

Here’s a simple workout that almost anyone can do.

  • Warmup for 10 minutes
  • Medium resistance cycling for 5 minutes, then high-resistance for 2 minutes
  • Go back to medium resistance for another 5 minutes.
  • Repeat the high to medium resistance steps again, then end the work out by riding at a slower pace for 5 minutes.

2. For Weight Loss


When considering how long to cycle for to lose weight, a longer duration can achieve more impactful weight loss, but the amount of calories burned is another important factor. A minimum of 3500 calorie burn per week is required to shed one pound, so working out how to balance duration and calorie burn is a must.

In practice, you can use pedometers and calorie trackers to estimate your energy intake and expenditure.

A simple weight loss regimen looks similar to a beginner workout but requires more intensity switching for better results. Here’s a sample if you’re wondering how many minutes to exercise for.

  • 10 mins of warm-up
  • 5 minutes of medium resistance then 1 to 3 mins of high resistance
  • Continue switching between medium and high resistance for half an hour
  • Low resistance cool down for 5 mins

More experienced cyclists can opt for strength and endurance workouts and the cycle machine workout duration for those varies even more. Some workouts take the standard 30 to 60 minutes while others take longer; it all depends on what you’re going for.

With that said, below are some samples for intermediate and advanced riders.

3. For Intermediate Users


  • 15 minutes of warm-up
  • 2 minutes of moderately high resistance followed by 15 seconds of maximum resistance (such as resistance level 8 followed by 10)
  • Repeat the second step four times, then do 10 minutes of low resistance
  • Bike slowly for 10 minutes to end the workout.

4. For Advanced Users


  • 15 minutes of warm-up
  • High-intensity cycling for 15 minutes, then rest for 3 minutes.
  • Do the second step again, but reduce 15 minutes to 10 minutes.
  • Ride at high intensity for 5 minutes, then bike slowly for another 5 minutes before ending the workout.
  • Except for the rest and cooldown periods, you should bike as hard as you can.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Stationary Bike Workout

1. Don’t forget to stretch.


Stretching is an important pre-exercise activity that can help improve performance and prevent injuries. While young people may get away with diving straight into the action, things get dicier when you get older.

It’s ideal to stretch, warm up on the bike for 5 to 10 minutes, then get into the high-intensity routines.

2. Plan and vary your workouts.


Combine different types of exercise for better results. With muscle training, you should take lifting first if you’re looking to lose weight, since it helps with boosting your metabolism. Going with cardio first helps develop your endurance instead.

3. Bike settings and posture matter.


Adjust the height of your bike seat and handlebars to ensure a comfortable riding experience. This will let you perform better and longer for a good workout result.

You should also mind your posture to reduce strain on parts of the body and the risk of injury (such as by sitting with a straight spine and holding your head up).


How long should you ride a stationary bike? Now you know the recommended range of 30 to 60 minutes, including what factors affect the ideal length of exercise. If you’re new to cycling, just remember that taking the first step and knowing your limits are both important for better health.

What do you think is the best type of workout for daily exercise? Is stationary biking a good choice or do you have something else in mind? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Always ride safely.

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