Exercise bikes have many benefits. They’re low impact, they’re one of the cheapest home cardio machines available and recumbent exercise bikes are one of the only home cardio machines that provide lower back support. In addition to this, they take up minimal space in your home and they don’t place any pressure on your joints which makes them perfect if you suffer from arthritis or other joint problems. However, despite their many benefits, exercise bikes aren’t suitable for everyone. In this article I’m going to help you decide whether an exercise bike is the right piece of home cardio equipment for you by outlining five of the things you need to consider before making your final purchase.
1) Not As Effective As Outdoor Cycling
One of the first things you need to be aware of before purchasing an exercise bike is that no matter which make or model you go for or how much money you spend, it’s never going to be as effective as outdoor cycling when preparing for a race. There are two main reasons for this.
First, when you are cycling outside, the terrain is never smooth. Even if you don’t notice it all the time, the angle at which you cycle is constantly changing and these subtle changes challenge your body. While you can replicate this slightly by constantly changing the resistance on your exercise bike, replicating it fully is almost impossible. Secondly, when you are cycling indoors, you aren’t exposed to the outdoor elements such as wind and temperature, so it’s a slightly easier workout.
2) Low Calorie Burn
If you’re main fitness goal is to drop some serious pounds, an exercise bike may not be the right choice for you. On average, an hour of moderate cycling on an exercise bike burns through 572 calories. This is 107 calories less than an hour of moderate exercise on an elliptical trainer (which burns through 679 calories per hour), 163 calories less than an hour of moderate exercise on a stepper (which burns through 735 calories per hour) and a significant 253 calories less than an hour of moderate jogging on a treadmill (which burns through 825 calories per hour).
To put this in perspective, by jogging on a treadmill instead of an exercise bike for an hour every day, you’d lose an extra 26 pounds per year which could make a huge difference to your weight loss success. Even if you’re not a fan of treadmills, by exercising on a stepper instead of an exercise bike for an hour every day, you’d lose an additional 17 pounds per year. Alternatively, by exercising on an elliptical trainer instead of an exercise bike for an hour each day, you’d lose an extra 10.4 pounds each year.
3) Non-Weight Bearing Exercise
Another reason you may want to think twice before purchasing an exercise bike is that cycling is not a weight bearing exercise. When you run on a treadmill, your bones have to support your weight with every step you take. This stimulates an increase in bone mineral density which leads to stronger, healthier bones. When you cycle, you lose this weight bearing element and therefore also lose the bone boosting benefit.
4) Lower Body Workout Only
While cycling on an exercise bike certainly gives your legs a good workout, it neglects your upper body. Therefore, if you’re targeting full body fitness, you may want to go for an elliptical machine or rowing machine instead. Both of these home cardio machines engage your arms, back and chest while also working your legs and provide you with a well rounded, full body workout.
One final thing to consider before buying an exercise bike is comfort. While exercise and comfort are two things that rarely go hand in hand, sitting on an exercise bike for long periods of time can be very uncomfortable and lead to your butt becoming numb. In comparison, home cardio machines where you stand up, such as elliptical trainers, steppers or treadmills, are more comfortable and help you avoid numbness.
I hope this article has helped you decide whether an exercise bike is the right piece of home cardio equipment for you. As discussed at the beginning of this article, exercise bikes are still very effective and will improve your fitness. However, if you want something that burns a higher amount of calories or doesn’t involve you sitting down constantly, an elliptical trainer, stepper or treadmill may be a more viable option for you. Good luck with your decision and all the best with your home cardio workouts.
If you’ve made the decision to buy an exercise bike, then you’re well on your way to improving your health and fitness and achieving your weight loss goals. Unfortunately, there’s still one big decision left to make – choosing the right exercise bike. In this article I aim to help you find the best exercise bike for you by listing seven key exercise bike buying tips.
1) Set A Budget
As with any big buying decision, setting a budget is crucial. If you don’t set a budget before you start selecting exercise bikes you’re either going to end up out of pocket (by purchasing an exercise bike you can’t afford) or end up disappointed (because the exercise bikes you have been looking at cost more than you can afford). Therefore, before you do anything else, choose a maximum price that you are willing to pay for an exercise bike and then stick to this price throughout the rest of the buying process.
2) Measure Your Workout Space
After you’ve settled on a maximum price for your exercise bike, you then need to think about how much space you actually have for it. If you have an expansive home gym with lots of open space, you’ll be able to buy a larger exercise bike with no problems. However, if you’re going to use the exercise bike in your living room or your bedroom, you will need to double check the dimensions and make sure the exercise bike you choose is small enough to fit in the room and cycle on without cramping your style.
3) Decide Whether You Want An Upright Or Recumbent Seating Position
Another important decision to make when buying an exercise bike is the seating position. Exercise bikes with an upright design are very similar to regular outdoor bikes and if you are planning to use your exercise bike to train for an outdoor race, you may prefer this design. Additionally, upright exercise bikes are more flexible and allow you to use them sitting down, standing up or leaning forward. Finally, many experts believe that upright bikes offer a more intense workout than recumbent exercise bikes.
On the other hand, recumbent exercise bikes provide you with lower back support and place less strain on your knees, so if you have problems in either of these areas, you’ll probably find this design more comfortable. Recumbent exercise bikes are also easier to cycle on for longer periods, so if you are planning to do longer, stamina building workout sessions, a recumbent design may be better for you.
4) Choose The Type Of Resistance Control You Need
There are generally two types of resistance control on exercise bikes – manual and electronic. Exercise bikes with a manual resistance control are generally cheaper but since you have to lean and change the resistance manually, they can disrupt the flow of your workout. Exercise bikes with an electronic resistance control do cost a bit more to buy but since you can change the resistance at the push of the button, you get a much smoother ride.
If you generally cycle at the same pace, you’ll probably be fine with a manual resistance control. However, if you do lots of interval training on your exercise bike and are constantly changing speed, you’ll be better off buying a bike with an electronic resistance control.
5) Choose How Much Resistance You Need
Another thing you’ll need to consider when buying an exercise bike is how much resistance you actually need. If you just want an exercise bike that gives you a light workout and gradually improves your fitness, an exercise bike with a limited range of resistance may be suitable for you. However, if you’re training for a race or want to lose a lot of weight, you may need an exercise bike with a wider range of resistance.
The resistance on an exercise bike is determined by two things – the flywheel and the magnets. Exercise bikes with a large, heavy flywheel and a large number of magnets offer a much wider range of resistance than exercise bikes with a small, light flywheel and fewer magnets. Exercise bikes with electromagnetic resistance also generally offer a much wider range of resistance than ones without, so bear these features in mind when choosing your exercise bike.
6) Check Out Existing Customer Reviews
If you follow the steps above, you should be able to make a shortlist of exercise bikes that do what you need at a price that’s affordable to you. To whittle down this shortlist down into your final choice, checkout what other customers have to say about each exercise bike on your shortlist. If there’s any overwhelmingly negative feedback towards any of the exercise bikes, remove them from your shortlist. Then with the remaining bikes, see what the customers like best about each one, match that up to the features that are important to you and make your final choice.
I hope these tips have helped you choose an exercise bike that suits your needs. Buying an exercise bike is a big decision but if you follow the tips in this article it’s one that will most certainly pay off. Good luck and happy cycling.
If you want to burn some extra calories and improve your fitness within the comfort of your own home, exercise bikes are a fantastic choice. They get your heart pumping, they place no pressure on your joints when you cycle and they’re also a surprisingly good way to tone and strengthen your legs. In this article I take a deeper look at exercise bikes and explain why you should consider adding one to your home workout collection.1) Lower Back Support
One of the best things about exercise bikes is that they’re the only cardio machine available that provide lower back support. Elliptical machines, steppers and treadmills all require you to stand up and if you have lower back problems, exercising on them can be difficult or even impossible. Rowing machines are slightly different and allow you to sit down but don’t provide you with any lower back support while you are sitting, so can still be very uncomfortable.
Therefore, if you have a lower back problem that prevent you from using most traditional cardio machines, a recumbent exercise bike may be exactly what you need. The unique seat design on recumbent exercise bikes gives full support to your lower back and keeps it straight at all times while the pedals allow you to get an intensive workout without placing any stress or strain on your lower back.
2) Multi-Functional Workout
Another great thing about exercise bikes is that they allow you to build up your leg muscles or enjoy a lung busting cardio workout using just the one piece of equipment. If you want to strengthen and tone your legs, you simply crank up the resistance as high as you can manage and then cycle away. Alternatively, if you want to increase your cardiovascular fitness, you can use a lower resistance setting and focus on speed instead of power.
With the exception of steppers, no other home cardio machines allow you to strengthen and tone your legs like this while also boosting your cardiovascular fitness. This means if you’re training for a sport that requires strong, powerful legs and a high level of cardiovascular fitness (such as ice hockey or soccer), exercise bikes are an excellent choice that allow you get the most out of your workout sessions.
In addition to the benefits listed above, exercise bikes are also a lot smaller than treadmills and elliptical machines, so if you don’t have much spare room in your home, they’re definitely a cardio machine you should consider purchasing.
On average, exercise bikes are around 10 inches shorter in length than treadmills and elliptical machines, so they take up a lot less floor space. In addition to this, many of the exercise bikes available for sale can be folded when not in use to save even more space. Once folded, you can neatly pack them away in a closet or the corner of the room, so that they don’t clutter up your home.
4) Zero Impact Cardio
Exercise bikes aren’t just a good choice if you’ve got lower back problems. They’re also great if you have joint problems. Unlike running on a treadmill which can aggravate your ankles, hips and knees with the impact of each step, cycling on an exercise bike is a smooth, fluid, no impact motion which prevents joint pain and allows you to have an effective cardio workout, even if you’re joints aren’t 100%.
5) Low Cost
If you’ve not got much money to spend on a home cardio machine, exercise bikes are something you should definitely check out. Most exercise bikes cost less than $500 and there are very few that cost more than $1,000. When you compare this to treadmills which generally cost $500+, this is quite a big saving and if money’s tight, exercise bikes are definitely one of the more affordable cardio machines on the market.
6) Weather Proof
Yet another benefit of purchasing an exercise bike is that it allows you to carry on cycling and keep your fitness sharp all year long. Even if the roads are iced up outside and it’s too dangerous to go outdoor cycling, you can use an exercise bike to maintain your fitness levels and avoid the hazardous outdoor conditions until the weather improves.
I hope this article’s given you a good overview of why exercise bikes are such a good choice when it comes to getting fit. So if you think an exercise bike is the best cardio machine for you, get online, get one purchased and cycle your way to good health today.