What is kcal exercise equipment?

Kcal exercise equipment displays how many “kcals” a person burns during a workout. A “kcal,” or kilocalorie, equals 1,000 calories. It is enough energy to increase a gram of water’s temperature by one degree centigrade.

According to “Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness and Performance” by Sharon Plowman and Denise Smith, the kcal number displayed on exercise equipment comes from a “prediction equation” that factors in body weight, stride length, resistance, elevation, belt speed and other variables.

Six types of kcal equipment were included in a May 1996 study entitled “Energy Expenditure with Indoor Exercise Machines:” the Airdyne upright exercise bicycle, cross-country skiing simulator, cycle ergometer, rowing ergometer, stair stepper and treadmill.

Airdyne upright exercise bicycle

The Schwinn Airdyne upright exercise bicycle received U.S. Patent No. 5039088 on Aug. 13, 1991. It is an updated version of a stationary bicycle with arm levers attached to the pedals to exercise the arms and upper body along with the legs. It also has a rotating wheel that displaces air, providing resistance.


Cross-country skiing simulator

The cross-country skiing simulator received U.S. Patent No. 4867443 on April 21, 1987. It reproduces the motion of cross-country skiing by moving the person’s arms and legs as one rather than independent of each other.

Cycle ergometer

The cycle ergometer was awarded U.S. Patent No. 5165278 on Nov. 24, 1992. It includes a stationary bicycle frame with a pedal and crank assembly attached to an output shaft. The machine adjusts resistance based upon the difference between how fast the person is pedaling and the target rate.

Rowing ergometer

The rowing ergometer received U.S. Patent 4746112 on May 24, 1988. It includes a stationary seat and a rocker assembly. A handle grip drives a flywheel mounted with the rockers assembly and fins act as brakes.

Stair stepper

The “exercise stair device,” which received U.S. Patent 3970302 on July 20, 1976, is a lightweight compact unit which simulates the exercise obtained while climbing stairs.


The treadmill, which has received numerous patents, allows a person to walk or run on a continuously rotating belt.


JAMA Abstract: Energy Expenditure with Indoor Exercise Machines

“Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness and Performance”

Patent Storm


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