The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults get 150 minutes of cardio exercise every week. Many men and women like to do their cardio workout on a stationary bike. Riding a bicycle offers many benefits to help you reach your fitness goals. Here are the top 9 stationary bike benefits that you can enjoy right now.
Stationary Bike Benefits
1. Good for Beginners
Riding an exercise bike is a great way to ease yourself into an exercise program. Other than the bike, you don’t need any special clothing or equipment.
There are no special skills to learn. Just hop on the bike, set your resistance level, and start pedaling.
2. Easy on Your Joints
A properly adjusted stationary bike is easy on your joints. There’s no pounding or jarring that can aggravate your knees.
Many people with arthritis can ride an exercise bike and may find that their knee joints feel better after a workout.
It’s important that your bike has the right dimensions for you. A good bike will let you adjust the seat and handlebars until your ride is comfortable.
3. Low Injury Risk
Your risk of injury on an exercise bike is very low.
Here are the main things to check before you start your workout.
- Properly adjust the seat and handlebars for you.
- Make sure the seat is not too high. The seat post will have a mark on it indicating its highest safe position.
- Use the toe straps on the pedals so your feet don’t slip.
4. You Can Ride Indoors All Year
No matter how hot or cold or wet the weather is you can enjoy a comfortable indoor workout.
Yup. No excuses. Just hop on and enjoy your ride.
5. You Can Ride at Home
You may prefer to have a gym membership and use one of their stationary bikes.
However, many people like the convenience of having an exercise bike at home. You never have to wait and you’re not using a bike that someone else left all sweaty.
6. Not Boring
While you’re enjoying your workout you can do all sorts of other things.
If your bike is not too noisy you can listen to music or a podcast, watch TV, or talk to a friend.
You can also watch videos so you feel like you’re riding through beautiful scenery.
Some people like to read while they ride. However, I find that reading takes too much attention away from my workouts.
7. Good Cardio Workout
Riding a stationary bike gives you a cardio workout that is right for your fitness level.
As your fitness level increases, you can add to your riding resistance.
Also, it’s very beneficial to do your bike workout as a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. On the Fitnessator blog there is an article about HIIT on a stationary bike.
8. You Burn Calories
Besides overall fitness, you are probably interested in riding a stationary bike to lose weight.
Of course, like any exercise, you’ll burn calories while you ride. How many? If you weigh 130 pounds and ride at a moderate pace, you can burn 207 calories during a 30-minute workout.
I hope to publish an article very soon giving you more information on burning calories during exercise.
9. Easier than a Treadmill or Elliptical
Riding an exercise bike is easy, even if you haven’t been on a bike for years.
The same can’t be said for learning to use a treadmill or an elliptical machine. Both of these devices require practice before you’ll feel comfortable using them. It will take some time to gain the balance and physical coordination needed to use them efficiently.
Added Benefits of a Recumbent Stationary Bike
When you ride a regular, upright bicycle, you sit on a saddle and place your feet on pedals beneath you. By way of contrast, on a recumbent bicycle you’re sitting low to the ground with your legs on pedals in front of you.
1. More Comfortable than an Upright Bike
Many men and women find a recumbent bike to me more comfortable than an upright bike. They claim the sitting position feels more natural.
This is also true of a recumbent exercise bike.
2. Lower Back Support
The seat of a recumbent stationary bike is like a chair. This type of seat gives support to your lower back. It’s as if you’re sitting on a piece of comfortable furniture.
3. Less Stress on Knees and Hips
The reclining sitting posture of a recumbent exercise bike means there will be less stress on your knees and hips. This is great if your joints tend to be tender or painful.
4. No Stress on Arms and Hands
Using an upright stationary bike can put a lot of stress on your arms and hands. Depending upon how you are sitting, you will be leaning forward and a significant part of your body weight will be supported by your arms and hands.
This is not the case with a recumbent stationary bike. You’ll be able to sit with your arms at your sides not supporting any of your weight.
5. More Stable
A recumbent bicycle is naturally more stable because the rider is closer to the ground. This means you’ll have a very low center of gravity and your ride will be more stable no matter how fast you pedal.
Stationary Bike Cons
That’s an encouraging list of stationary bike benefits. However, it’s important to realize that using an exercise bike may also have a downside for you. Here are 3 negatives you should consider.
One of the biggest complaints people have about using a stationary exercise bike is they find the workouts too boring.
But wait, didn’t I say a few paragraphs ago that using a stationary bike is NOT boring because of all the things you can do during your workout?
That’s also true. It all comes down to your personal experience and mindset.
When you consider all of the exercise bike benefits you’re gaining, you may be able to overlook the possibility of being a bit bored.
2. Doesn’t Burn Lots of Calories
Granted, you will burn calories during your workout. However, it may not be as many calories as you would like.
In general, people overestimate how many calories the burn during workouts. Not only that, the fitness monitors on exercise bikes and other fitness machines are not always very accurate.
How you sit on your exercise bike will play a part in how many calories you burn. For example, if you lean forward and support a lot of your weight with your arms, you will burn fewer calories than if you sit straight up. Also, if you stand on the pedals instead of sitting on the seat, you will burn even more calories.
3. Doesn’t Work All Muscle Groups
It’s clear that riding an exercise bike is a great workout for your legs and your cardio-vascular system. Also, your arms may also get some benefit.
However, you have a lot more muscles than these in your body.
Think of your exercise bike as a great cardio workout. Then, add in some weight lifting or body weight exercises 2 or 3 times a week to work the rest of your body.
Riding a stationary bicycle can be an important part of your fitness plan.
Think about your fitness goals and how you can most easily achieve them. Then you’ll know if an exercise bike will be a good investment for your health and fitness.