Shorter, more intense bike workouts are better than riding 60 minutes or more.
The stationary bike gives you an exhilarating, heart-pumping workout. If you're impatient with the progress you're making weight loss-wise, you might be tempted to increase your workout time. After all, if you've been steadily losing weight by riding for 45 minutes or less, you may think that riding it for more than an hour will bring results quicker. It won't necessarily hurt you to ride for that long, but it won't necessarily help you, either.
The stationary bike offers several health benefits. And, while it's not bad to ride a bike for over an hour, it isn't necessary for a good workout.
Prioritize Your Time
There's no harm in riding an exercise bike for longer than an hour just for the fun of it. But if your goal is to burn calories and improve the condition of your cardiovascular system, riding for that long won't accomplish much. The problem is that you have to exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity in order to gain the optimal health benefits. Harvard Health recommends an intensity that gets your heart rate up between 75 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. But it's difficult for even seasoned, well-trained athletes to maintain an 85 percent MHR for much more than 30 minutes at a time. If you attempt to ride for longer than an hour, you'll find your energy and effort waning in the latter part of your workout, and it won't be as productive as the first part.
Plan Your Workout
More than an hour at a time on the stationary bike isn't necessary, but you probably wonder how much time you should spend riding. Harvard Health offers an effective aerobic workout for the stationary bike that's done in 45 minutes: five minutes for a warm up, 30 minutes spent riding at 75 to 80 percent MHR and finishing up with a five to 10 minute cool down.
Break It Up
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous, aerobic activity each week. Keep in mind those numbers apply to a seven-day period. Divide them up over three, four or five days or even jump on the bike for 15 to 20 minutes every day of the week. You'll benefit from shorter workouts than that, too, if it's difficult for you to find several 20 to 30 minute blocks of time that you can use for bike riding exercise. Break it down into 10 minute increments, if you need to, just as long as you get the full 75 to 150 minutes in each week.
Keep it Short
If you like the idea of getting an effective workout in the least amount of time, give an HIIT bike workout a try. High intensity interval training will get your heart rate up and give you a super-effective workout in just 20 to 30 minutes. Pedal at a moderate pace for a five-minute warmup, then increase the intensity to pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Slow down for 15 seconds before speeding back up to your fastest pace for another 30 seconds. Continue to alternate intervals of vigorous pedaling with moderate pedaling for 20 to 30 minutes, then slow it down for a five-minute cool down.