Exercise bikes, or stationary bikes, are designed to bring the activity of cycling indoors, allowing you to cycle in your own home. The most obvious advantage of this is that it allows you to exercise even when you would not want to go out due to weather conditions. It also ensures safety as you don’t have to deal with traffic. You can even multitask while using an exercise book, which gives you the chance to add reading, working, or watching television to your workout routine. For most people looking to burn calories and improve their general fitness, an exercise bike is a convenient, affordable, and enjoyable exercise machine.
Stationary bikes allow you to mimic the activity of cycling indoors. They have adjustable resistance settings to allow you to change the level of your workout. Some use a flywheel to simulate the feeling of riding outside on the road. Some indoor exercise bikes have a weighted flywheel to simulate the real feel of biking. By pedalling, the flywheel creates momentum which can be resisted using brakes, which helps imitate a real bike ride. Exercise bikes are best suited to people who are trying to target their legs, hips, and glutes, since these get a great workout from cycling with resistance. They help you build muscle, endurance, and cardio health, helping to keep you fit and in great shape.
In fact, astronauts use this aboard the International Space Station to fight against cardiovascular deconditioning, ensuring they stay healthy and maintain muscle mass in an environment with reduced gravity. Although we aren’t buying for NASA, below is some information about exercise bikes that should help make your decision a little easier.
Gauge Your Commitment
When purchasing an exercise bike, one of the main things you will want to consider is how high end it needs to be and how much you are willing to spend. Ultimately, you want a high quality machine, yes. But you will also need to balance quality with the needs of your machine and your workout goals.
Although you may plan on working out everyday with your exercise bike, purchasing a high end machine and then only using it a few times a week is a huge waste. Gauging how frequently you will use your machine is a big factor in determining which machine to buy and making sure you get the best value.
Here, you want to properly plan out how often you’ll use your exercise bike. Be realistic! If you plan on using it a few times a week based on your goals, that’s fine! You will most likely not need all the bells and whistles and can save a lot of money ensuring you buy a machine that suits your needs and goals properly.
Benefits of Exercise Bikes
Exercise bikes offer a number of benefits, providing a low-impact, lower body workout that contributes to overall health, weight loss, and muscle building. With some machines, you can even workout your upper body. Stationary bikes are a low-impact exercise, causing the least stress on your joints and bones, ensuring long term health while exercising. With more high-impact exercises there is more stress against your joints and bones, which can lead to problems over time. Low-impact exercises ensure this stress is minimized, increasing long term health.
Many people use exercise machines for targeting losing weight or muscle building, but the benefits to your cardiovascular and overall health are some of the best for your body and overall health. Just 20 minutes a day can help you lead a much healthier life and minimize the risk of heart disease and chronic health problems. Since cardio workouts increase heart rate, you have more blood flow and oxygen getting to your muscles, which is great for your overall health. One of the common motivations for exercising is calorie burning and losing weight, and exercise bikes are a great solution. Since you can go for a long time or a at a slow pace, as well as adjust the resistance, you can choose how intense your workout is and how many calories you burn.
Another benefit of using an exercise bike is that by holding yourself up and using grips, you exercise other muscles than just your lower body. Although you don’t get as intense of an upper body workout, a variety of muscles – arms, back, shoulders – are exercised when using a stationary bike. An added bonus is that this type of workout releases endorphins, and will make feel good about yourself. This should help contribute to your overall happiness and health as well.
Types of Stationary Bikes
All exercise bikes offer comparable workouts, with differences in comfort, convenience, and features. As these machines allow you to sit while working out, these are great machines for people that have back or joint problems, and want to lessen the impact exercise makes on those parts of the body. These can also be more relaxing than some other workouts because of your positioning, and are great for a more relaxed and laid back workout. If you want to multitask, almost all bikes are hands-free, and you can therefore engage in other activities while exercising, such as reading, watching television, surfing the web, or even working. Although most exercise bikes function the same, there are a few different types; the two main types of exercise bikes are upright and recumbent bikes.
Upright Exercise Bikes
Upright exercise bikes are the closest to a traditional outdoor bicycle. On an upright bike you have an upright body position, a smaller seat, and pedals positioned under the rider’s body. This feels much more like a traditional bike, but you will have your upper body hunched over slightly, which can cause discomfort and fatigue. Since the seat is smaller, this is less comfortable and can cause more discomfort as well. An upright bike is a slightly more challenging workout, but the rider’s positioning also keeps them less relaxed. If you want to force yourself to stay working hard, you may want an upright bike to make sure you stay on track. Although both offer great lower body workouts, an upright bike forces you to fully extend your hips, which can work your glutes out better.
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse is one of the most popular and best exercise bikes available. It has strong construction that can withstand up to 300 pounds, a foldable design for easy storage, and eight different resistance levels to customize your workout. It has a large, cushioned seat for comfort and a heart rate monitor to ensure you track your progress and health. The Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike is a quality exercise bike that features an adjustable seat and handlebars to allow you to suit the bike to you. It supports up to 275 pounds, has a heavy-duty crank and smooth chain drive mechanism and features a 40 pound flywheel. The Schwinn 170 Upright Bike is a highly diverse upright bike, featuring 29 different programs and 25 resistance levels for ultimate customization of your workout routine. This helps let you target exactly what you want to during your workout. It offers four user settings, so you can hop and go with one quick setting adjustment; this also lets you track progress for four different users, allowing you to steadily work towards your goal.
Recumbent Exercise Bikes
A recumbent bike has the rider sitting in a reclined position and offers additional back support. Recumbent bikes have the rider in a reclined body position, have larger seats, and position the pedals in front of the body. Since the rider sits back farther and the seat is larger, it is more comfortable for the rider. This can help reduce discomfort and fatigue as well as potential soreness. If you are not very self-motivated, you may want to consider getting an upright bike instead. Since the recumbent has you in a more comfortable and relaxed position, you may not continuously force yourself to push as hard as you should and may not reach your desired goals. If you are highly motivated and serious about exercise, you shouldn’t have a problem pushing yourself, and it will be much more comfortable, safe, and enjoyable than an upright exercise bike.
The Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with Pulse offers the safety and convenience of a reclined position. This bike has eight resistance levels to help you tailor your workout, as well as an LCD display to track your progress. It has a 300 pound user weight and comes with a three year manufacturer’s warranty. With all of the features on this exercise bike, it is one of the best exercise bikes for home use. The Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike has eight resistance levels, a large display to conveniently and simply tack progress, and pedals that feature adjustable straps for safety. At a reasonable price, this model is a great at home model. Similar to the Schwinn 170 Upright Bike, the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike offers a lot of diversity to users, making it great for customizing an ideal workout for you. It features 29 different built-in programs and 25 resistance levels for the ultimate in workout customization. It has four user settings so that different people can use and track progress separately, setting the machine quickly and easily to their own settings. The dual track LCD allows you to track thirteen different progress information types, and the weighted flywheel keeps your workout smooth and quiet. Although this is a little more expensive than some of the previous models and doesn’t offer foldable options to save space, this is one of the most inclusive and best exercise bikes for the home. The Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike has a quiet V-belt double-drive transmission, eight resistance level settings, and a convenient LCD display to track your progress. It has a precision-balanced flywheel and features a semi-recumbent design for easy access and added support.
Exercise Bike Features
Exercise bikes, like all exercise equipment nowadays, have a variety of different features to let you customize your experience. This lets you make the experience your own and ensure you get the proper fit for you. Do you hate the machine you use at the gym because it just doesn’t suit you? Find the one that you want, and suit it to your needs. When deciding which exercise bike to get, you will want to consider which features are most important to you, and which ones you are willing to sacrifice, as more features drive the cost up.
Whether you’re a serious or casual cycler, tracking your progress is important. That’s why most exercise bikes come with displays that allow you track various aspects of your progress. Basic displays will show things like speed, time, distance, and calories burned. More advanced units will show your revolutions per minute (RPM) and heart rate. Be sure to get a unit that you find simple and convenient to use while riding, so that you can easily adjust resistance and speed settings. Another aspect to consider here is the programming that comes with the machine. You will want to get machines that have some of the built-in programs that you want, such as hill and interval settings. This will let you tailor your workout to your fitness level and target specific results, such as weight loss or muscle building.
With any piece of exercise equipment, it is important to have adjustability. You want to consider the seat, the height, the pedals, and other aspects that help you customize it to suit you physically. You will also want to ensure that the machine comes with adequate and flexible resistance settings so that you can easily and accurately alter your fitness level. All exercise equipment needs to be operated safely, as you can do harm to yourself if used improperly over both the short and long term. Ensure you assemble and set up the bike properly, so that it operates how it should and will remain stable. Make sure you have adequate space for the stationary bike, including a perimeter around it for safe operation and easy access.
High End Performance Features
More advanced models will have a heart rate monitor, which is ideal for monitoring your exercise level. These are great for cardiovascular and endurance training, as you can track your improvement and health. Heart monitors with chest straps are best because they don’t impede your movement or require you to hold onto them, like contact monitors do. You can also consider buying a heart rate monitor separately, which may be more convenient to fix than the heart rate monitor on your machine. This way you can also use the heart rate monitor for a variety of other exercises as well, and it isn’t only good to be used with your exercise bike.
Best Exercise Bike for Weight Loss
To be completely honest, most exercise bikes work very similarly and if you want to target weight loss, you should be able to do that with any exercise bike. However, many bikes come with adjustability features that allow you to tailor your workout to your needs, allowing you to focus on what you want. If weight loss is one of your biggest concerns, you will probably want to do the most efficient workouts possible. That is to say that you will want to burn the most calories and fat in the least amount of time. In order to do that you will most likely want a machine with adjustable resistance settings and built-in programs. This can give you the ability to adjust the exercise to target what you want, in this case weight loss. However, in general, many exercise bikes will ultimately let you lose weight if used properly.
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is a great option for weight loss since it comes with 29 different built-in programs and 25 resistance levels. This gives a great variety of customization and allows you to tailor the ride to what you want, targeting your specific exercise goals. This machine is more expensive and not foldable, but is still great for at home use and weight loss if you don’t need to save the space and are serious about working out.
Choosing the Best Exercise Bike
When deciding what is the best exercise bike for you, you will want to consider a number of things. First, your exercise goals are very important in making your decision. Depending on what you want to get out of the machine, you will want to choose the type and features that best complement those needs. This will mean balancing and negotiating what is important to you and what you can sacrifice to keep the cost down. You will want to consider how much available space you have and how much space the machine takes up. Here, foldable machines will be a consideration, since these can save space when not in use and make transportation and storage easier. You will want to consider how much versatility the machine has, such as resistance levels and built-in programs, since this will determine how diverse your exercise bike is. The more resistance levels and the more programs, the more you can customize your workout and target specific exercise goals. You will also want to ensure there is adequate customization of your comfort options, including the seat, pedals, and handlebars. All of these will help to make your right enjoyable and desirable, motivating you to actually use the machine.