There are many different ways to exercise, just as there are many different reasons for wanting to get fit and active in the first place. Who doesn’t want a healthy body, right?
Whether you are trying to lose a couple of pounds to get into that beach-ready shape, or simply want to shake off some excess fat to make sure you don’t get any heart problems in the future, you are probably wondering if there are easier ways to do it.
Well one answer to that problem is to buy an exercise bike.
Compared to the other ‘tried-and-true’ means of completing that necessary workout, cycling is known for being one of the most convenient methods. It is similar to walking and jogging, except you are riding a small vehicle that takes much of the strain away. You get slightly similar results for exerting a little less effort. Riding bikes is a lot of fun too! It’s no wonder that a lot of fitness junkies prefer it.
Now for those of you who do not have the time to take their bicycle out for a ride, you may opt for the indoor version instead. That will be the main focus of this guide. Here we hope to show you everything you need to know about exercise bikes so that you will have a solid idea about what to look for when picking one out from the store.
The Exercise Bike
The exercise bicycle, also known as the stationary bicycle, is an exercise equipment that is suitable for anyone looking to get fit. It is commonly seen in gyms, where it is sometimes featured as a special exercise class known as ‘spinning’. It is also perfect for home use because it doesn’t take up too much room space. Later on, we will find out how to choose your very own stationary bike.
When talking about its benefits, one can say that using an exercise bicycle is just as effective as cycling outdoors. The only noticeable difference is it does not involve the ‘outdoors,’ and you would not get as much fresh air. But if for any reason you do not have the time or capability to go outside for exercise, the ‘exercycle’ should be a handy substitute.
It is also proven to be one of the safest exercise methods around. By only sitting and pedaling, you reduce the chances of getting into accidents. Your movement is limited, and you are completely stationary while using an exercise bicycle, so there is a very small chance that you will hurt yourself even when you are going through rigorous training.
Similar to riding an actual bicycle, the stationary bike offers exercise for a few specific parts of your body, mainly involving your lower half. Your legs and thighs will be getting lots of workout when you install one of these in your own home.
Specifically, the parts that are most affected by cycling exercises are the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, and other leg muscles. Some exercise bikes require more than just pedaling to operate, and these involve the use of the upper body, particularly the abdomen, and core muscles. These types of stationary bikes provide more or less of a total body workout, and we will get into more detail regarding this later in this guide. Now that you know what these babies are capable of doing, you may start imagining what kind of exercise you want to get from your first exercise bike.
Types of Exercise Bikes
Just like how there are different kinds of regular bikes for all types of terrain, there are also various kinds of exercise bikes. While all three can provide you with the exercise you need, they have different ways of achieving the same results. Mostly, the difference lies in the effort you are willing to exert for the workout you want to do. Here are the three kinds of exercycles that you will encounter and choose from:
As I mentioned earlier, there are specific classes that focus on the use of exercise bicycles. These classes are called ‘spinning’ or ‘indoor cycling,’ and are most often done in gyms. There are some gyms that house specific classrooms made for spinning, and these rooms are usually equipped with several Spinner Bikes.
Also known as Spin Bikes, this type of exercycle, usually have seats that are almost level with the handlebars. This forces the user to sit in an aerodynamic position, which closely resembles riding a real bike. This gives you the exact sensation of riding a mountain bike on a rough country road, giving you a sense of fulfillment that is more often associated with outdoor cycling.
The objective of these exercise bicycles is to make you work hard to pedal your way to victory. The mechanism on these babies will prevent you from having too much of a leisurely cycling experience. It requires more pressure than the other two types of stationary bicycles to keep moving.
This is the right choice for people who want to burn calories fast and reap their rewards a tad bit faster as well.
It is easy to mistake these exercise bicycles for their Spinner counterparts because they look and feel similar in some aspects. The most obvious commonality is the fact that they were both made to simulate the real-life cycling experience. The Upright Exercise Bicycle more closely resembles the ordinary outdoor bike.
Usually, the upright bicycles have handles that are a bit higher than the seat, allowing a more relaxed exercise than the spin bikes. However, most of these bicycles also require the use of your arms for support and balance, meaning it can still give you an intense workout that involves your upper body and abdominal muscles. More conveniently, a lot of the upright bicycles are highly compact, allowing you to move and put it away when not in use. This is the right choice for people who want to mimic the experience of riding outdoors.
These are the most unique kinds of stationary bicycles, among the three. On closer inspection, you will see that there is a wide gap between the functionality of this type of equipment and the first two. The recumbent exercise bicycles were made for comfort. Its primary function is to make sure the person exercising is relaxed while burning the fat away. This is the exact opposite of spin bicycles, since those were made for passionate exercise-lovers.
Equipped with a chair and a back support, these babies could mean the world for people who do not want to exert too much energy. You simply sit in a reclined position, place your feet on the pedal, and voila! You are ready to exercise in the most comfortable manner possible.
The thoughtful creators of the recumbent bicycles wanted to make sure that even people with back problems can exercise easily.
The only drawback to these stationary bicycles is that it is harder to reach higher leg speeds while reclined. That means it wouldn’t be too easy doing that high-calorie workout you were planning if you have these in your home. You should look for one of these distinctly shaped bicycles if you want an easy, comfortable workout.
Manual vs. Electric
All three kinds of stationary bikes that I have mentioned may come in one of two different forms, either Manual or Electric. The difference is pretty easy to point out, wherein manual requires physical labor in order to work, while electric consumes electricity. While both of these can be used effectively for exercise, there is a minor difference in terms of price and features.
Depending on the additional functions, one may be priced higher than the other. The Electric Exercise Bike, however, offers more capabilities such as digital monitoring of your workout session, which we will discuss in detail within the next part of this guide.
Now that we are familiar with all the different shapes and sizes that exercise bicycles may come in, it is time to consider some of the handy features that you may want to look for when searching for the perfect exercycle.
Once you have decided what kind of exercise bicycle you want, and whether you want it manual or electric, you must inspect your selected candidate and observe if it looks good enough for you. After all, you will be the one looking at it every day once you decide to introduce it into your home. Although this is not a priority for everyone, the stationary bicycle is quite a large and noticeable piece of equipment. You might as well pick one that looks good.
Next, you should check if the seat is comfortable enough to sit in. Regardless of your workout routine, you will be sitting on this for extended periods of time. Make sure it would not hurt you before you can even break a sweat. Also check if the seat is adjustable, so you can find a reasonable height in relation to the handlebars. You wouldn’t want to extend your arms beyond the level of your comfort. While you are at it, make sure the handlebars are easy to grip.
Some people want their exercise bicycles quiet, so you might want to check how much noise it makes while being pedaled. That would be useful for those late night exercise ventures, where you find yourself unable to sleep so you decide to tire yourself out first.
A lot of electric stationary bicycles offer a digital monitoring of your progress. You can set the speed of the bicycle, as well as the difficulty of your course. This allows you to decide and control the amount of effort you need to exert before your workout is completed. There are also some stationary bicycles that offer a ‘quick start’ setting, wherein you simply input the length of time that you intend to exercise.
Some of the more high-tech brands offer the ability to calculate your desired heart rate, giving you even more control over how much exercise you will be getting. If you want to know the statistics of your workout, there are also a few exercise bicycles that offer this information in digital form. Tracking your progress is made easier with these functions.
Also remember to keep into consideration the exact amount you are willing to pay for these additional features. Most of the time, you only need a simple stationary bicycle that lets you exercise when you need it. But if you really want those capabilities mentioned above, you may start looking at the exercycles on the higher end of the price range. The trick to getting that bicycle bargain is to know what you want and to know what to look for.
Exercising is a personal decision and a personal experience. That is the reason your preference is highly prioritized and highlighted when looking for the right equipment. The easiest way to find the right exercise bicycle, for instance, is to find the one that suits you best.
Identify your fitness needs, and your physical limitations. What kind of exercise are you willing to go through? How much effort are you willing to exert on a regular basis? How long do you intend to keep up this regimen? These are a few of the questions you need to answer before you can identify the exercycles that suits you.
At the end of the day, you will be the one using it, and you will also be the person benefitting the most out of it. Find the exercycles that give you what you need. With the right equipment, and enough discipline, you can make exercise a fun and healthy part of your daily life. And all of this is possible from the comfort of your very own home. Being fit and healthy just got a lot easier. Who says you have to go outdoors just to enjoy cycling?