You only had time to hop on your bike for half an hour — is that even enough time for a beneficial workout? Answering the question, “How long should I bike for a good workout?” can be tricky.
If you don’t have an hour, it might not feel like it’s worth the effort. But 30 minutes at an intense pace can actually seem like much more of a workout than an hour at an easier pace.
“Any movement you can get into your day is worth it,” says Melanie Melillo, NASM-CPT. “If you’re moving, you’re winning, and you don’t have to go all out or be crazy exhausted and sweaty every time you work out to make it a ‘good’ workout.”
In fact, she adds, research indicates that you need to spend time in all your heart rate zones to keep your body healthy and strong. This is why we recommend wearing a heart rate monitor in all your workouts on the BODi Bike — not just the hard, sweaty ones.
Should You Do More Than One Bike Workout a Day?
A large part of what constitutes a good workout comes down to your individual goals, says Melillo. Most people have a goal of overall health or weight loss, and to meet that, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly, or a combination of both. The advice is to spread that time out throughout the week rather than load up on the weekend.
“That means if you want to work out five days a week, you should shoot for 30 minutes a day,” says Melillo. “A combination of bike and floor work throughout the week is ideal, and if you do more than 30 minutes, that’s great too.”
For example, the AHA notes that 300 minutes a week provides even more benefits, especially if you progress your workouts in terms of intensity. Doing more than one workout per day might be what gets you to the amount of weekly exercise time you want.
Can Cycling Help You Lose Weight?
The harder you work, the more your body will adapt to the exercise load by getting stronger and fitter, Melillo says. You’ll burn more calories, too.
That might make it tempting to start with high intensity and resistance so you can increase strength faster, but that also puts you at higher risk for injury or burnout.
“You should start slowly and work up to longer workouts,” she says. “Being sore a day or two after a hard workout is to be expected, but you don’t want to jump in too fast and get hurt.”
Is Cycling Outdoors Better Than Cycling Indoors?
Will 30 minutes of cycling outside provide a better workout than 30 minutes on your BODi Bike? Some research suggests that outdoor cycling burns more calories due to factors like hilly terrain and resistance from the wind. But BODi trainers work hard to give heart rate and cadence guidance so you can work just as hard indoors, says Melillo.
“Plus, when you ride indoors, you don’t have to worry about rain, temperature, tough road conditions, or traffic,” she adds.