Exercise bicycles are sometimes referred to as stationary bikes. They’re incredibly easy to use, and you’ll find them in virtually any gym. Also, they take up minimal space and are often reasonably priced. They offer simple, but effective workouts.
Do you like cycling? Maybe you're the kind that wouldn’t risk a confrontation with speeding vehicles. Maybe you wouldn't risk getting drenched in torrential downpours. If so, you need to consider taking or using a stationary bike. It’s also perfect for the kind that prefers to zone out during workout sessions.
Exercise Bikes- A Form of Workout
In this section, we’ll lift the lid on this widely popular form of exercise. We're sure that it'll help you get the most out of your regular workouts. Maybe you don't own an exercise bike and would like to do some indoor cycling. You can convert your regular bicycle into an exercise one by just using a turbo-trainer. You could also put your bike on specially designed rollers. Both techniques will enable you to make use of your regular bike indoors. It'll be especially significant in the case of heavy traffic or winter weather.
Cycling is a lower body workout. 'Main mover' muscles are responsible for pushing the pedals around and around. They include the butt (gluteus maximus) and calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius). Others include the front and back of your thighs (hamstrings and quadriceps).
Once you get out of the saddle for sprinting, your core muscles and upper body also get into the act. But, they’d not be working against a massive resistance. The benefits to those muscles are thus limited.
Setting Up and Using Your Exercise Bike
For an effective exercise bike workout, ensure that your bike is properly set up. Here, we cover how you’re supposed to set up and use your exercise bike:
First, stand right next to your stationary bike. Adjust the seat to ensure that the saddle is in line with your hip. Adjust the handlebars so they’re roughly level with the saddle. Lower handlebar settings might make you more aerodynamic. That won’t matter much if you’re indoors, and will likely just make you uncomfortable. Raising the handlebars above the saddle height implies that you’ll be more upright. That will make for an even more comfortable workout.
Now, sit on your bicycle and place your feet on its pedals. Push one leg onto the pedal stroke’s bottom. Your leg ought to be bent to around 15 degrees, without leaning onto any side and with the foot flat. Adjust the seat to set it at the right height. A little too low is better than a little too high.
Position your feet to ensure they’re directly over the pedal spindle. In case you’ve toe clips or straps, tighten them and ensure that your feet are well held in place. Now, sit up tall and lean a bit forward from your hips, not your lower back.
Pedal without bouncing up and down on the seat. It’s recommended that you aim for 70-90 rpm. Pedaling too fast might make you jump up and down. Also, ensure for enough resistance to avoid bouncing. Don’t just stomp on the pedals; push them forward, down, and pull them back and up. If possible, make use of both your legs and ankles. That’s often referred to as active pedaling.
Handy Tips on Using Exercise Bikes
- A bicycle that's set up badly can prove uncomfortable and will only be adjustable to some extent. If you’re too short or tall, you might find that the bike doesn’t fit you. Some stationary bikes come equipped with wide saddles. Those put pressure on tendons on your thighs’ upper inside. Wide saddles might seem like they’ll be comfortable and might prove so at first.
Narrower saddles are often better in the long run, although it might take a while to get used to them. Consider fitting a smaller saddle if you intend to buy a stationary bike. If you plan to do lots of miles, you’d want to consider wearing padding shorts for enhanced comfort.
- Exercise bicycles will work your lower body. These kinds of bikes don’t offer upper body involvement. Supplement your workouts with other upper body exercises like pull-ups and push-ups.
- When riding outdoors, there’s airflow. That might not be the case with indoor riding. It can get hot and sweaty on stationary bikes. In case you’re exercising in a warm environment, it’d be wise to set up a fan, directing it at your bike. That will keep you comfortable and relaxed.
If possible, set your bike near an open window. Also, have a bottle of water handy to allow for easy rehydration. Most stationary bikes have specially-designed bottle holders. Such enable you to attach a drinking bottle onto your bicycle.
- The floor under your bike can suffer water damage due to sweaty and hot conditions. Also, the bike itself might get damaged. That would be an issue when working out at home. In such a case, it’d be advisable that you place a towel under the bicycle. It'll help trap the inevitable sweat deluge. Besides, have a towel handy that you’ll use to mop your face during the workouts.
- Long workouts on a stationary bike can leave you with a sore butt and numb feet. That will especially be the case if you’ve not set up the bicycle correctly. The discomfort could cut your workouts short or demotivate you. Ensure that the saddle isn’t too high to avoid such.
You can purchase gel seat covers, which fit, over your saddles to allow for extra padding. Also, ensure that your shoes aren’t laced too tight and consider wearing cycling shorts. Your toe straps shouldn’t be too tight, as well.
Before beginning any exercise program, you ought to seek medical evaluation and clearance. That includes exercising on stationary bikes. Note that all workouts aren't suitable for everyone. Some can even result in injuries. You should ride your exercise bike at a pace that’s comfortable for you. In case you feel any discomfort or pain, it’s advisable that you stop participating in it.
Key Points to Remember
- Spend time to assess any stationary bike model before purchasing it. Consider factors like noise, adjustability, and ease of operation.
- Be patient in your positioning process. Proper position is imperative.
- Ensure adequate ventilation to make your exercising environment enjoyable
- Drink enough water during any exercise for successful workouts.
Last, But Not Least
Make it a habit. An exercise bike will only prove useful for your health is you make actual use of it. Set attainable goals and targets for regular use of your exercise bicycle.