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How to Calculate the Calories Burned When Riding a Stationary Bike

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 2/28/2010

The calories burned when riding a stationary bike depends on how fast you are going and how long you ride. Learn how to calculate the amount of calories burned when riding a stationary bike for maximum exercise results.

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    The stationary bike is a easy way to exercise that is convenient and comfortable. You can use a stationary bike in your home without having to go to a gym. They are easy to use and can be a great fat burning exercise. But how many calories are you burning?

    Some people refer to a chart when trying to find how many calories burned when riding a stationary bike. But these charts are not always accurate. These charts do not calculate how hard a person is working or what difficulty level they are on. There is a way that you can find out how many calories burned when riding a stationary bike. The best way to do this is by using an individualized calculation process.

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    To figure out how many calories you have burned while on your stationary bike, first you must calculate your resting metabolic rate and then multiply it by your metabolic equivalent task. When calculated by your hourly resting metabolic rate (RMR), the metabolic equivalent task (MET) can give you a personalized estimate of the calories you burned during your stationary bike exercise.

    Calculating Your RMR

    To calculate your RMR manually: RMR = 370 + 21.6 x FFM in kilograms. FFM is the fat-free mass, or lean body mass. If you weigh 73 kilograms and 18 percent body fat, your FFM would be 73 kg x (1-0.18) = 60 kg. So, your RMR would be calculated as 370 + 21.6 x 60 = 1,666. This is the number of calories you burn at rest in a 24 hour period. Your hourly RMR would be 1,666 / 24 = 69.4.

    Stationary Bike METs

    There are many places online that you can MET values for exercises and activities. The METs for riding a stationary bike are as follows: riding at 50 watts (this is a very light effort) has a MET of 3.0, riding at 100 watts (light effort) has a MET of 5.5, riding at 150 watts (moderate effort) has a MET of 7.0, riding at 200 watts (vigorous effort) has a MET of 10.5, and riding at 250 watts (very vigorous effort) has a MET of 12.5.

    Calculating Your Calories Burned

    To calculate the calories burned when riding a stationary bike, you will need to multiple your hourly RMR by the correct hourly MET value. For example, for a person that rode a stationary bike for 30 minutes at a vigorous effort. The hourly calorie burn would be RMR x MET = 69.4 x 10.5 = 729. So riding a stationary bike vigorously for 30 minutes will have burned 365 calories.

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    Melt Off the Inches: Mini Calories Burned Chart: Riding a Stationary Bike -

    Calorie Lab: Calories Burned Using a Stationary Bike -