Stationary Bikes For a Comprehensive Workout
Why should you choose a stationary bike?
Are you looking to work out regularly, but tend to skip your routine because you are too lazy or too busy to go to the gym? Are you concerned about weight loss, but don’t find time for exercise? Well, a stationary bike can solve your problem here. Stationary bikes have been in use for decades—they provide an alternative to the gym, while many people find it more convenient to work out in their homes rather than at a gym. However, there are quite a few types of stationary bikes, so it is important that you choose the best stationary bike for you, based on your specific needs.
What is a stationary bike?
Stationary bicycles are used as exercise equipment for indoor cycling. They include a saddle, pedals, and some form of handlebar arranged similarly to those on a regular bicycle. Using these bikes can provide a non-impact aerobic workout that will strengthen and tone the user's legs and buttocks.
What are the benefits of using a stationary bike?
The following are some of the benefits of using a stationary bike:
- Burns Calories: Stationary exercise bikes can help you burn a lot of calories, which is effective for weight loss. As you exercise, remember that the more intense your workout is, the more calories you'll burn.
- Strengthen muscles: Exercise on a stationary bike will help you tone your legs, thighs and buttocks, as well as your arms, abdominal and back muscles. Also during exercise, joints that move smoothly through their range of motion help their surrounding muscles gain more strength, making your workout more effective.
- Good for the heart: By exercising regularly, you will improve your cardio-respiratory system. This will allow you to make a significant effort without becoming breathless right away. This beneficial effect of sports on the heart also helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Improves Mood: Exercise on a stationary bike releases hormones, especially endorphins and serotonin, which make you feel better. Also called happy hormones, these hormones regulate mood, stress, and anxiety. This explains why sports have an anti-stress and antidepressant effect and why they improve our mood.
- Safe: Indoor cycling eliminates cycling-related dangers from traffic or unsafe roads, making it a useful alternative for anyone who lives in an area that isn't comfortable for outdoor cycling.
How do I choose a stationary bike?
Here are some things to consider when buying a stationary bike:
- Comfort: Comfort is important when choosing a stationary bike, and a lot of whether the bike works for you will depend on how comfortable the seat feels. Ask about the details of the seat before you order, since a hard seat may hurt your tailbone. Ideally, you should be able to exchange the seat for another that feels more comfortable for you. In addition to padded cycling shorts, you can also buy a seat cushion to make your ride more comfortable.
- Adjustable Seat and Handlebar: It's important for a stationary bike's seat to be able to be adjusted vertically and horizontally. Make sure the seat adjusts in such a way that you can sit properly on the bike. Furthermore, the handlebars should be able to be adjusted upward and downward as well as forward and backward. This way, you're able to move around and make sure you're in the right position.
- Resistance: Having the ability to adjust resistance is crucial to making a workout harder or easier. Consider a model with a digital resistance control since it offers a better experience than a knob.
- Stability: Stability is important when using a stationary bike. The bike shouldn't move when you pedal, it should stay firmly in place. It is recommended to check the weight of the bike since the heavier the bike is, the more likely it will be solid and stable.
- Ease of Use: Look for models with built-in video screens or touchscreens that have a simple user interface. Having a computer that can display basic statistics like speed, time, and number of calories burned would make customizing your settings easier.
Types of Stationary Bikes
Fitness bikes have a heavier flywheel, to allow for more aggressive riding, that allows you to exert yourself more when pedaling. Among fitness bikes, you’ll find spinning bikes--a type of fitness bike meant to recreate a road bike. They include a touchscreen for online training sessions.
Upright bikes are narrow compact bikes without any back support. An example is the Schwinn 170 Upright Bike. It has a console that stores 29 fitness programs and 22 levels of resistance.
Schwinn 170 Upright Bike
On the other end of the spectrum to an upright bike, there are recumbent bikes that offer support for your back. You practically are reclining while pedaling. That makes this type of bike ideal for people who require back support, but still want to tone their leg muscles. The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike has both front and side handlebars, allowing you the option of both upright and recumbent cycling.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
Folding stationary bikes: If you’re short on space in your house, you’ll want a bike that can easily be put away when you’re finished exercising. There are folding stationary bikes, such as the Lanos Folding Exercise Bike.
Lanos Folding Exercise Bike
What reviewers say
Consider if it meets your height: There may be some height limitations on certain bikes. The Lanos Folding Bike is good for anyone from 4.5’ to 6’ tall--but someone taller than that will need something bigger.
Virtual reality: Even though pedaling on a stationary bike might seem monotonous, there are innovative ways of spicing it up. For example, the Schwinn 170 Upright Bike is virtual-reality compatible. You can hook it up with a virtual reality headset, and pretend that you’re biking in a different location every day!
Converting a regular bike into a stationary bike: There are special stands that you can purchase which will allow you to turn your bike into a stationary bike. An example is the SteelGear Bike Trainer Stand. It can provide up to 6 levels of magnetic resistance, by pressing on your bike’s back wheel. It doesn’t offer all of the features of a stationary bike, but it’s an inexpensive fill-in.
SteelGear Bike Trainer Stand
What should you consider when buying a stationary bike?
It is important for you to understand your specific requirements in terms of your exercise goals, and then to buy a stationary bike that serves that purpose. But there are other aspects that deserve consideration as well.
Consider your exercise goals: Ask yourself how often will you be using the exercise bike, and how hard you want to push yourself during your workouts. That will help you determine the exercise bike that matches up with your workout goals.
Check for the basic features of the bike: No matter how expensive or cheap you want your exercise bike to be, there are some basic features that you should not overlook. These features include an option to set the height of the seat, or an option to set different resistance levels according to your level of fitness. Some bikes have a resistance knob that you can adjust for the desired resistance, while some work digitally.
Check the amount of noise that the exercise bike makes: This may not really be a deciding factor, but if you have small babies or elderly people at home, you may particularly look for an exercise bike that is not particularly noisy. One useful thing to keep in mind is that there are magnetic resistance bikes and friction-resistance bikes. The friction-resistance bikes use felt pads that press on the flywheel to provide resistance. This tends to be somewhat noisier than the magnetic resistance bikes, which have magnets around the flywheel to provide the resistance. If you’re looking for a quiet bike, you should consider magnetic-resistance bikes.
The Assault AirBike Classic has a 25” fan that uses air resistance to make your ride more challenging. It is a dual-action bike, with handlebars that move to exercise your upper body. It includes a computer console that measures your vital signs, as well as the distance traveled and calories burned. It also provides seven exercise programs.
Assault AirBike Classic
The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike has a 44-lb flywheel to ensure a stable ride, without the bike wobbling as you pedal. The higher-weighted wheel also is more demanding on your legs as you pedal. The seat, handlebars, and pedals are all adjustable to 4 different settings, for maximal comfort. It employs magnetic resistance, which is quieter, smoother, and also lasts longer.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
The Lanos Folding Exercise Bike has 10 levels of magnetic resistance. It can be used as both an upright and recumbent bike, with a comfortable seat and back support. It has exercises for your back, legs, arms, and abdomen, and tracks 5 performance statistics, to allow you to see your progress.
Lanos Folding Exercise Bike
The Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike has a steel frame and a 35-pound flywheel. It can support up to 270 lbs of weight. It uses wool felt resistance pads, and has cage pedals to support your feet without slippage.
Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike