Working out at home doesn’t have to include rooms full of specialized equipment. Many years before all of the snazzy pieces of equipment invaded the local gyms the key piece was an exercise bike.
Many newer gadgets have taken over the role of providing exercise for health or weight loss, but the old reliable exercise bike still reigns supreme in providing some of the best workout opportunities for people of all ages.
Why Use an Exercise Bike and Available Options
Health clubs can be expensive, not to mention inconvenient and you may feel better about yourself if you can exercise in the privacy of your own home. Your personal schedule may also preclude you from having enough time to join a gym and even for those with joint problems an exercise bike can offer an affordable alternative.
Even those who may have forgotten how to ride a bike can quickly climb onto a stationary bike, as they were previously called, and head out onto a virtual highway. An exercise bike offers many benefits including:
• Ease and convenience of use
• Provides excellent cardio workout
• Staying interested in your fitness program
• Safe to use when used properly
• Helps build leg strength and stamina
• Options help define workout
Prior to buying an exercise, bike
Before spending any money, you will want to consider why you are buying the bike. What you want the bike to do will help you decide on the type of bike you buy as well as the number of, and types of available options you choose. You can use the bike as the main or only means of exercising or for one of many different aerobic exercises. It may also be solely for a rainy-day alternative to use when the weather is working against your exercise program.
You next step would be in deciding how much bike your budget will allow. Based on your budget and what you want the bike to help you accomplish, you have several choices:
• Will you use a traditional upright bike or a recumbent bike? These are designed to be peddled while in a reclining position.
• Small manual bikes take up very little space, but if you have the room, an electronically programmable bike will offer many more features.
• Is your dedication enough to afford the price of a new machine or would you be better off with a used one – at least until you know you’re going to be satisfied with the workout?
Staying motivated to rideHaving a stationary bike at home offers several benefits including having the motivation to stay on your exercise routine. One part of remaining motivated is being accountable for the time you spend riding. Having a partner to join you on the ride is one way to stay on track as well as remain accountable for your time. Maintaining an exercise journal will also keep you focused for your desire to exercise. No one wants to leave blank spaces in their journal or due to not riding anywhere on any given day.
Get the most from your exercise bike work outs
When you first take possession of your bike, make sure it fits properly. Talk to the person who sold you the bike about how to make the necessary adjustments to ensure the seat is at the right height and that you aren’t sitting too close, or too far away, from the handlebars. If you aren’t riding the bike, chances are it won’t take long to become just another piece of furniture or someplace on which to hang your workout clothes.
When riding your exercise bike you need to be comfortable and relaxed. Your shoulders should be away from your ear and let your abdominal muscles support your back. Sitting lightly on the seat will help you with this. You will also need the right equipment to go along with your bike. Padded riding shorts and a gel seat will make your excursions much more comfortable.
Understand how your equipment works and understand how it is used safely. Be confident in your knowledge of how to adjust the tension of the bike to change the demands of your workouts. Start out slow and then gradually work your way up to more intense sessions. Don’t wear yourself out too quickly or you will grow tired of using the bike after only a few days.
Choose options that provide benefitsUnlike riding a bike on the road, using an exercise bike offers ways to keep you amused while riding. Like many pieces of individual exercise equipment accessories can help you pass the time while you exercise. Some bikes will enable you to watch a video while training while some others may have a stand on which a book or magazine can be placed. Reading while riding is not something that can be done when riding a regular bike on the road.
However, it has been shown that riders that read a book or watch television while using an exercise bike tend to slow down their pace. The good news is they tend to stay on the bike longer.
There are also health monitor aids that can be used when using your exercise bike. Heart rate monitors in the design of a wrist watch is one of the most popular items and others can not only provide your heart rate but can help you keep track of your workouts. Many of these monitors will keep track of the time you spent on the machine as well as the number of calories that you burned. They can track the number of exercise sessions you completed as well as the total number of hours you spent riding for health.
Just do itThe main ingredient in a successful exercise bike workout is establishing goals. When you first start using your bike it’s important to start out slow. That may mean the first step in your routine involves simply getting on the bike for a short workout of maybe 10 minutes. If you haven’t exercised in quite some time discomfort in your legs, will likely be a reminder of why you are doing it.
You will need to have the self-motivation to ride the bike again the next day and after a few days of riding your bike and the muscles begin to respond your workouts can become longer and more intense. Once you can ride three times a day for 5ive minute rides without feeling any pain you are ready to kick things up a notch.
Adding only a couple of minutes to each of the three daily rides can help build up your muscles and reduce the pain level. After three, 10-minute rides for a few days then go to say 15 and then 20-minute sessions until you can look forward to getting on the bike.
When you first start out, adding five minutes to a ride may seem like a big deal, but as your stamina improves and your tolerance grows, increasing riding time by ten or even 15 minutes per session will become much easier.There are three essential levels for every workout; strength, speed and working out. Depending on the type of bike you have you can start with one of the lowest levels of resistance and work your way up to more intense training modes. Not in the first days of course, but over time.
You can use the different programs with which your bike is equipped to help you gain stamina and strength or develop speed and endurance.
For those who spend a lot of time on a traditional bike riding outdoors, an exercise bike used indoors could be a welcome change of pace. Not replacing your outdoor efforts, but supplementing them in the event of inclement weather, When the temperature is approaching freezing outdoors and rain is pouring down you don’t have to give up your daily session. You can move it indoors to keep up on your training pace.
Stationary bike benefits
Some of the modern exercise bikes are light weight and fold easily for storage under your bed or in a closet so as not to take use too much space in small homes. Some of the reasons to consider an exercise bike at home include:
• Ideal for people just wishing to enhance their fitness levels or lose weight.
• You can watch television while working out.
• Develop a rhythm easily to set an exercise pace.
• Improve strength in your legs.
• Use in comfort and privacy of your own home.
Some of the expensive exercise bikes may offer a work out display that provides pertinent information such as your heart rate and distance travelled your speed and the number of calories burned.
It’s important to record number of calories burned when riding a bike will vary depending on the type of exercise being performed as well as the person’s genetic make-up. Body type will also play a role in how fast calories are burned and, if maintaining your program seems slow, it will become more important if the results do not match your expectations at first.Like most exercise routines and the equipment used with them, exercise bikes have a downside as well. Some of the disadvantages include:
• Calories may seem slow to burn off.
• Mainly works muscles only in the legs.
• Provides only a short range of motion.
• Exercise is aerobic in nature, not for boosting overall metabolism.
• Some manual models can be a little loud.
Exercise bike is a good starting point
If you are wishing to lose weight, an exercise bike is a good place to start; especially of you have little experience in exercising or haven’t exercised in a long time. Riding a bike is not the only exercise you will need to lose weight but it can be an excellent supplement to other weight loss efforts. You may want to use a variety of weight loss exercises to prevent you from becoming bored while riding your bike, especially if you are staring at the same old walls every time you get on the seat.
Upright Vs. recumbent
When you make the decision to use an exercise bike, you will be offered numerous options but there are only two basic styles of stationary bikes; upright and recumbent. Which one you choose will largely depend on the type of training you plan to do as well as the size of your budget. Additionally, recumbent exercise bikes are typically larger, take up more floor space and cost more, but their benefits can often make the differences well worth it.
Key pointsUpright bikes are very similar to the bikes you probably rode as a child making them easy to use. It is much easier to adjust different levels of tension by having the seat directly over the pedals.
The handlebars are also very similarly positioned to traditional bikes, and the seat may be adjusted to fit your body. With the adjustable tensions you can simulate climbing hills or going faster and you can rise above the seat in order to apply more pressure when climbing simulated hills.
They are smaller than recumbent bikes and take up less space, and some of the models fold up for convenient storage. Some of the less expensive models may be uncomfortable to ride unless you choose the option of a better gel seat. Remember, a comfortable bike is the likely one to be used for longer.Recumbent bikes, as stated, take up more room, but they are more comfortable to ride than upright bikes. The body is positioned in a more natural pedalling position with a recumbent bike while still providing a comfortable leg angle when pedalling. The flywheel that is used to simulate pedalling is adjustable for more or less tension to simulate hill climbing. Unfortunately, with these bikes, you must remain seated, eliminating the ability to rise when peddling harder as you can on an upright bike. You will be stuck in a single position for the entire ride.
The comfort that comes with using a recumbent bike is what attracts many users as they tend to ride them longer, but those looking for a bike that provides endurance and intense training, the upright bike may be a better choice.
To recap, exercise bikes have been around far longer than most of the other gym equipment and with most people having ridden a bike as a youngster are easily adapted for exercise. It is more likely to be used indoors by those just beginning an exercise program for the purpose of losing weight and improving general fitness and overall health.
Cardio workouts can be performed on a stationary bike, and the number of models available will fit every individual’s need as well as their budget. Being able to perform other functions while using an exercise bike will make it much more likely to be used. There will be no boredom and no excuses for you not to use the equipment to meet your fitness goals.
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