Things To Consider Before Buying An Exercise Bike
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.