The Perks and Pros of Using a Stationary Bike At Home
Working out on a stationary bike is more than just a fun activity. It also offers several perks that are geared towards optimum body health. With a stationary bike, you can burn a ton of calories and strengthen your heart, lung, and muscles. What’s more, it exerts minimal pressure on your joints without compromising workout output. There are three major types of stationary bikes including:
Upright exercise bike — this is reminiscent of a regular bike. Its pedals are positioned under the body and can be used either in a sitting or standing position. However, the upright position may exert pressure on the hands and wrists.
Recumbent exercise bike — a recumbent bike allows the user to sit in a comfortable position while riding the bike. It is typically equipped with a large seat that is located farther from the pedals. The bike places minimal pressure on your upper body joints.
Dual-action bike — among the three options, the dual bike is less reminiscent of a regular bike. It features handlebars that execute back and forth motions to work the upper body muscles. It simultaneously works the upper and lower body muscles, when you pedal and use the handlebars.
Read on to unravel all the exciting and interesting perks of using a stationary exercise bike!
1 It is the Good for the Heart
Looking to have your heart in tip-top shape? Hop on a stationary bike! Exercise helps train the heart to enhance its function. When you exercise constantly, your heart rate becomes lower both at rest and during physical activity. As a result, it perfectly executes its functions and is less predisposed to stress. Also, using a stationary bike induces lower blood pressure because the heart dispenses a larger amount of blood with each contraction.
You also get to lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases which are often caused by poor heart activity. By using a stationary bike regularly without fail, your odds of suffering a sudden stroke are greatly minimized. And there’s more! Regular exercise optimizes cardio-respiratory capacity. This means you can engage in strenuous activities without being breathless from the start. On the whole, a stationary bike is an excellent means of training your heart for optimum health.
2 It is Effective for Weight Loss
A workout session on a stationary bike equates to considerable calorie burn. This is especially more potent when you work out at high-intensity levels. But bear in mind that the higher the intensity of your workout, the more challenging it is to cycle for a prolonged period. As such, you need to strike a balance. For starters, you can switch between long workout sessions at low-intensity levels and short high-intensity (HIIT) exercises.
You can perform the former once or twice a week and the latter once a week. If you work out consistently on a stationary bike, you are certain to lose a stash of calories. You will lose about 413 calories at moderate-intensity levels, 620 calories at high-intensity levels, and 728 calories at extremely high-intensity levels. However, you have to be completely dedicated to and consistent with your workout routine to record significant calorie burn.
3 Strengthens the Leg and Lower Body Muscles
Cycling on a stationary bike can help strengthen the legs and the muscles concentrated in the lower body ( especially at high resistance levels). The cycling motion can tone the legs, thighs, and buttocks. Your arms, abdominal and back muscles are also not left behind. Your muscles get a good workout when you pedal at high resistance levels. Cycling at low resistance levels won’t build up your muscles as higher resistance settings would. Muscle groups targeted during cycling include the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.
In addition, the abdominal and back muscles are engaged for balance, hence they are also targeted to some extent. The muscles of the upper body, namely the biceps and the triceps also get a bit of engagement, but not as much as those of the lower body. However, assuming a standing position when cycling (at a high intensity) engages the muscles of the arms and lower back than that of the lower body. But bear in mind that this is no easy feat!
4 Stimulates the Release of Feel-good Hormones
There’s no better way to dispel a dour or dreary mood than to ride an exercise bike! The riding action triggers the secretion of feel-good hormones, endorphins, and serotonin, which brightens the mood and promotes a general state of happiness. These hormones are so named, “happy hormones” because they work to regulate mood, stress, and anxiety.
That said, if you want to revive your happy hormones or feel deliriously good, you should ride your bike for at least an hour or two. Cycling holds tremendous anti-stress and anti-depressant effects on the brain, known as the “runner’s high” and you should exploit this benefit for your mental well-being.
5 It is a Joint-friendly Activity
There is a reason why medical experts often recommend cycling for rehabilitation training — it is ever so gentle on the injury-prone body joints while strengthening them. It treats the joints kindly by lifting pressure off them while giving them a good workout. As such, it is one of the recommended exercises for people with sensitive joints or joint injuries.
This is in contrast to high-impact aerobic activities like running, jogging, and jumping which tend to weigh down heavily on the joints. Pedaling maintains a gentle hold on your joints because your feet don’t lift off the pedals, and the gentility does not in any way negate its workout value.
6 It is not as Dangerous as Road Cycling
Outdoor cycling, though a fantastic form of exercise, is replete with several hazards including; the chances of running into reckless drivers, accidents caused by bumpy or too slick terrains, harsh weather conditions, and poor visibility ( especially at night). With outdoor cycling, your motivation and consistency may suffer during inclement weather like snow, hurricane, frigid temperatures, heavy rain, and the like.
And considering that it is unsafe and nearly impossible to cycle in such conditions, your workout routine will start to lose its significance. Per contra, you can stick to your fitness regimen and attain your goals with indoor cycling — you don’t have to contend with poor road conditions or inclement weather. You can work out conveniently from the comfort of your home, no matter the condition outside.
7 Can lower Bad Cholesterol Levels in the Body
Cholesterol is a natural constituent of the body and it is separated into two components; good and bad cholesterol. The good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), while the bad version is called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is considered good cholesterol because it transports cholesterol to the liver where it is eliminated from the bloodstream before it accumulates in the arteries. In contrast, LDL directly delivers cholesterol to the arteries, increasing the risk and occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.
When cholesterol accumulates in your arteries, it can lead to atherosclerosis, a plaque buildup that may result in heart attack and stroke. Research has shown that physical activities like cycling can lower bad cholesterol and lessen the risk for cardiovascular diseases in adults. This is because exercising the muscles demands energy which is originally sourced from glucose. But once glucose levels are depleted, the muscles derive energy by burning fat. And when fat is used as an energy source, it lowers LDL in the body.
8 Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
As earlier mentioned, cycling like other exercises requires energy that is sourced from glucose. And the more glucose your muscles use, the lower your blood sugar level. And since Type 2 Diabetes is primarily characterized by excess blood sugar levels, it stands to reason that a reduction in blood sugar levels can lower your risk or alleviate your symptoms.
Also, physical exercises have a positive effect on insulin, which is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. It helps lower blood sugar levels after meals. However, diabetes hinders the function of insulin, leading to a considerable increase in blood sugar levels. All in all, physical activities like cycling can promote the function of insulin for proper blood sugar regulation.
9 Prevents Degenerative Diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s tend to set in as we age. Hence, it is imperative to remain physically active as you get older. Scientific research suggests that regular physical activity can reduce the risks or delay the onset of degenerative diseases.
This is because exercise activates certain areas of the brain responsible for optimum cognitive health. You are never too old to engage in sporting activities like cycling. More so, cycling is a lower-impact exercise that treats your joints with care without detracting from its amazing effects. So try cycling today for the benefit of your older self!.
Riding a stationary exercise bike equates to several perks and pros that benefit the body, soul, and mind. Consistently using a stationary bike can increase one’s life expectancy as it strengthens the immune system and alleviates the development of many chronic diseases and illnesses. By cycling, you can improve your heart health, strengthen your lower body muscles, stimulate your happy hormones, lower bad cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and degenerative diseases. Compared to outdoor cycling that is rife with certain hazards, indoor cycling is safer, not to mention gentler on the joints. Generally, exercise makes us feel good mentally and physically and cycling is not an exception!