While the fitness industry has adulated and glorified the qualities of a stationary exercise bikes, fitness newbies looking to get active still approach the machine with skepticism. And you could hardly blame them! Wading into unfamiliar territory is daunting and scary because you never know what the outcome promises. Yes, your fears and doubts are well-founded, but a stationary bike might be the equipment you need to meet your fitness goals or maybe not! There’s only one way to find out — read this article!
What are Stationary Bikes?
Stationary bikes or exercise bikes are fitness machines that are reminiscent of regular road bikes but are used in a fixed position. Unlike regular bikes, where pedaling moves the bike from one point to another, stationary bikes like their name suggest maintaining one position all through a ride. They are not mobile. However, they give nearly the same workout as road bikes. But here’s the thing; since stationary bikes are immobile, they demand more effort to create needed resistance. Users have to place substantial pressure on the pedals to rotate the suspended wheel which helps burn more calories and reach fitness goals quicker.
Stationary bikes are available for both home and commercial use, making them a convenient exercise option for individuals who can’t exercise outdoors. Top-of-the-range models come fully equipped with high-tech features for a memorable, productive, and exhilarating ride. They offer quality cardio and lower-body workouts and are ideal for calorie burn, muscle strengthening, and cardiovascular endurance.
Are they Easy to Use?
Absolutely! Most exercise bikes come with an easy-to-understand instruction manual that makes assembling them a piece of cake. And once the bike is set up, it is very easy to use. No matter your cycling experience, you’d find it straightforward to navigate as it has a minimal learning curve. Plus, it is as secure as can be, so all you have to do is hop on the bike and let your effort and the bike’s momentum guide you.
Five Common Types of Stationary Bikes
1. Recumbent bike
The recumbent exercise bikes allow users to sit in a reclined position and pedal. Since the bike offers full-body support, it places minimal stress on the joints, upper body, and back. Users also report less fatigue and muscle soreness post-workout. A recumbent bike is highly recommended for persons with joint or mobility challenges and the elderly.
2. Upright bike
Upright exercise bikes are the most common type of stationary bike. They are used by exercisers of all fitness levels. Unlike recumbent bikes, you maintain an upright position on the bike, though you can also pedal while seated. It also provides excellent cardio workouts and strengthens the core and leg muscles.
3. Dual-action bike
The dual-action bike has the least semblance to a road bike. It is equipped with handles that target the upper body muscles when moved back and forth. As a result, you get quality upper and lower body workouts when you use the handles and pedals.
4. Air resistance bike
The air resistance bikes are the most intense type of of stationary bikes on the market. They are perfect for HIIT but not so much for daily cardio workout. Whet they offer is full body exercise which is something you don’t normally get from a traditional indoor stationary bike.
5. Spin bikes
Designed to simulate road bike and mountain bikes, spin bikes are perfect for 30-50 minutes cardio exercise and they have less impact compared to air bikes. However, they do require great balance and flexibility to lean forward and reach the handlebars. Spin bikes, unlike upright bikes, require more flexibility.
What are The Benefits of Using a Stationary Bike
1. Cardiovascular Health Improvement
One good way to strengthen your heart is to work out on a stationary bike. They offer high-intensity cardio exercises that force the heart to work harder, thereby strengthening the muscle. It is recommended for persons with cardio issues.
2. Conditions the Biceps, Triceps, and abs
Though your arms don’t work as much as your legs when using a stationary bike, they still get a dose of workout — thanks to the handlebars. Gripping the handlebars activates the muscles in your hands including the biceps and triceps. Using the handles has an impressive toning effect on these muscles. Pedaling with your legs also strengthens the abdominal muscles (because they work to maintain your body balance while you cycle and help propel your legs downward and upward).
3. Eliminates Body Fat
The high-intensity exercises associated with stationary bikes help eliminate calories. This is particularly effective when combined with a low-calorie diet. Stationary bike workouts have also been found to be effective at lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body.
4. Strengthens Several Muscles
Using a stationary bike can activate and strengthen the muscles in your legs and lower body ( especially when using a high resistance). By riding the bike, you can strengthen your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. The core, back, and glute muscles are also engaged. Also, bikes with handles can work the triceps, biceps, and shoulders.
5. It is a low-impact workout
Most stationary bikes provide a low-impact workout that is mild on the joints and spine. It is a wonderful alternative to running which places an unnecessary burden on your joints and knees. Because it is ever so gentle, it is often integrated into recovery therapy for patients with joint issues or those recovering from major surgery.
The Drawbacks of Using a Stationary Bike
Everything that has pros has cons, and the stationary bike has its fair share of cons. Here are some disadvantages that come with using a stationary bike:
1. Doesn’t burn as many calories as a treadmill or rowing machines
While stationary bikes burn plenty of calories, they don’t burn as many calories as treadmills or rowing machines. You may burn about 150 calories in 30 minutes while using a stationary bike, but burn about 240 calories per 30 minutes on a treadmill or rower.
2. Boring and Monotonous
Compared to outdoor cycling which is highly stimulating, indoor cycling can get boring with time. And the more bored you become, the lesser your motivation and enthusiasm for the activity. Your performance output may also take a bad hit. However, some stationary bikes integrate smart features for entertaining and immersive workout sessions.
3. They are not Suitable for Professional Training
Stationary bikes are not the best choice for training for a race or marathon. They simply don’t have the outdoor feel and impact such as temperature, winds, and alternating terrains. You will find it difficult to build sufficient resistance and endurance to match the outdoor setting.
Why Should You Buy a Stationary Bike?
There are several reasons why you should consider buying a stationary bike. We’ve outlined some of the features to look for when buying an exercise bike and some reasons to buy one down below for your perusal:
1. Provides Quality Workout
As stated previously, stationary bikes are an excellent source of cardio and muscle-building workouts. They condition several muscles of the legs and upper body including the glute, hamstrings, core, quadriceps, biceps, and triceps. They support heart health for improved immune and physiological functions. They are also a great calorie-burning tool that aids weight loss. Ultimately, they improve your overall well-being.
2. A versatile and Dynamic Fitness Equipment
Stationary bikes like most workout equipment come in different brands, shapes, and sizes. There are so many great options to choose from. And because the market is dynamic and varied, you can easily find a product that is tailored to your goals and needs. However, it is best to do your homework before making a decision, so you can take the best bike home with you.
3. Cancels the Need for Gym Membership
The fact that you don’t have to pay exorbitant gym fees when you buy a stationary bike, is probably one of the biggest attractions of a stationary bike. Steep membership fees aside, some people prefer the solitary serenity of at-home workouts to the bustling atmosphere at the gym. Plus, if you have your bike, you can work out whenever you feel like even on humid, snowy, or rainy days. And sometimes you are just too tired or unmotivated for the commute to the gym, so a stationary bike is to the rescue!
4. Highly Shareable
The vast majority of stationary bikes are programmed with several user profiles, so several people can use the machine. As such, it is easy to get everyone in the family to exercise. With a stationary bike stationed permanently in your home, you can set a good example for your kids, which helps them cultivate a healthy habit. And is it amazing that each user can customize and work with their preferred settings! Additionally, it is safe as can be for young children.
5. Easy to Use
As aforementioned, stationary bikes are one of the easiest fitness machines to use. Though most brands are launching more complicated designs and workout programs; think onboard workouts via subscription apps and a host of other niceties. Nonetheless, the basic concept remains the same, which is pedaling. So even if you’ve never used a stationary bike or don’t know how to navigate the fancy add-ons, you can still get a high-quality workout.
Though some stationary bikes are sized like an elephant, the newer models are packaged into portable sizes that can fit into your home. Not to exaggerate, but having such a piece of great exercise equipment that perfectly fits into your sizeable home is cause for celebration! These New-Age models are also made out of lightweight materials, which is a bonus!
All things considered, a stationary bike is a piece of exercise equipment worth purchasing. It is an embodiment of quality and functionality with numerous benefits and a few downsides. However, the choice remains yours to make. But here’s our two-cent; you wouldn’t regret the purchase!