Exercise Bike Basics: Ride, Tone and Build Endurance

There’s a reason exercise bikes have been around so long. Many people finding using an exercise bike much more enjoyable than running on a treadmill. Additionally, it’s easier on the joints, more convenient than going to the gym every day and allows you to multi-task while you work out.

Cardio

Although it isn’t doesn’t burn calories as efficiently as running on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike still has plenty of cardiovascular benefits. Biking for 30 minutes a day, five times a week, can help strengthen your heart, lower high blood pressure, and regulate blood sugar.

It’s great for people who are just starting to improve their fitness and need something a little less intensive than jogging. Beginners can start out slow and increase their speed and resistance as they progress to increase the benefits of their workout. In addition, exercise bikes are easier on the joints and provide an excellent low-impact cardio workout.

Recumbent bikes are a type of stationary bike that allow the rider to sit in a reclined position while they exercise. This is perfect for rehabilitation or for people with back problems who would not be able to use a treadmill or an upright exercise bike.

Legs

Exercise bikes can also provide an effective lower-body workout. By adding resistance, you can strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings while you get your cardio in. Combine a rigorous bike workout with upper-body and core exercises to complete your exercise regimen.

While adding resistance is a good way to strengthen your legs, you never want to add too much resistance, as this could lead to injury. Never increase the resistance so much that you can’t move the pedals anymore, and always use proper form when you’re using your exercise bike.

Convenience

The convenience of exercise bikes explains why they’ve stayed popular for so long. Unlike using a treadmill, you can read, work, or watch TV while you exercise on a stationary bike. Since you remain seated and don’t bounce nearly as much as when you run, you can multi-task while you work out.

Nowadays, many bikes have programmable features that can help you get the most out of your workouts. They can track your speed and resistance, the distance you’ve biked, heart rate, calories burned, and more. This is a great way to keep track of your progress and create a personalized workout routine.

Exercise bikes are perfect for at-home fitness because you can use them in all weather. They take up less space than most treadmills, and are easy to store when not in use.

Proper Use

While biking is a safe, low-impact exercise, it’s important to always use proper form in order to avoid injury. There are three important components to correct form on an upright bike: the seat’s height and position, your foot position on the pedals, and the handlebar height.

Before getting on the bike, stand next to it. The seat should be even with your hip. If it’s not, adjust it up or down. When you sit on the bike with your feet in the pedals, your knee should still have a slight bend at the bottom of the pedal’s rotation and never be locked. If your knee is locked, that means the seat is too high. If you’re using a recumbent bike, the same rule applies. Adjust the seat so that your knee has a slight bend when it is fully extended.

You may also need to adjust the seat’s position. When you’re on the bike, your knee should be directly above your foot and at a 90-degree angle at the top of the pedal’s rotation. If it’s out in front of your foot, you should slide the seat back.

Your foot position is also important. Keep your feet parallel to the ground while you pedal, with your toes flexed back toward your shin. Never point your toes.

Lastly, you should adjust the height of the handlebars to prevent shoulder, neck, and back injuries. Your handlebars should be a little higher than the seat so you aren’t hunched over.

If you follow these steps to ensure proper form and safety while using your exercise bike, you will get the most out of your workout.

Sources:

http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/exercise-bikes-a-low-stress-work-out
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/fitness-basics-exercise-bike-is-back
http://www.wellnesswatchersmd.com/exercise/articles/treadmill_bike.php
http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/exercise-bike-setup-and-precautions

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