Burning calories through aerobic exercise and consuming a healthy diet are effective ways to lose a few pesky pounds to fit into your favorite bikini or to maintain a healthy physique to give you extra confidence at work. Pedaling exercises, including riding a bicycle, using a stationary bike or even using a simple pedal exerciser, can help you burn calories quickly -- often while you do something else.
A pedal exerciser, which is a simplified version of a stationary bike, is a small piece of equipment you use at home or at work. Pedal exercisers don't have a seat or handles. Instead, they consist of a small frame and two pedals, making this piece of exercise equipment easy to transport. Its primary function is to provide an aerobic workout to help you burn calories, but regular use also builds your leg muscles.
A stationary bike is an ideal choice if you wish to gain important information during your pedaling exercise, given that most bikes allow you to track your speed, distance and the calories you've burned. Some models of pedal exercisers allow you to adjust the resistance, but are otherwise simple in construction and don't indicate information related to your speed, distance or the calories you've burned. Whether you choose to use a stationary bike or a pedal exerciser, the basic pedaling motion is the same, although you'll need a chair or bench on which to sit while you use a pedal exerciser, as it doesn't feature a seat.
The calories you burn during an aerobic activity depend on three factors -- your weight, the intensity of the activity and the length of the activity. Harvard Medical School's website reports that during pedaling exercises, a person who weighs 155 pounds and pedals at a moderate pace for 30 minutes will burn about 260 calories, while a person of the same weight who maintains a vigorous pace for 30 minutes will burn about 391 calories. (See Reference 2)
Because pedal exercisers are small, they're easy to use in a variety of situations. You can take them to work and pedal while seated at their desk; this exercise is subtle enough that people won't even know you're burning calories. At home, position the pedal exerciser in front of the couch to burn calories while you watch television or place the device in your home office to get a workout while you browse the Internet.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.