Stationary bikes have been around for a long time. These machines, for a time, revolutionized the exercise industry with people all over the country spending hours a week riding their stationary bikes while reading their books or watching TV.
Use the free Fitness Report Card to decide what your biking goals should be!
Part of the popularity of the stationary bike was that is was more affordable than having a whole gym in the house. What’s more, they are easy to use and anyone of virtually any age can use it without causing injury.
Today, however, stationary bikes aren’t nearly as popular, begging the question, are they even good as a workout? The short answer is yes, they can be, but there are certainly caveats to this admission!
Should I use a stationary bike in my workout?
The first thing that you need to understand about a stationary bike is that it will never be as effective as a full body workout. It’s that simple! It doesn’t workout your upper body at all, which means that you aren’t going to get a balanced workout while using one.
However, this does not mean that a stationary bike isn’t beneficial. On the contrary, it can be an excellent source of exercise. Stationary bikes help to burn calories and fat. However, to get the most benefit you will have to spend a longer amount of time on your stationary bike than you would if you were running or doing some other form of cardio exercise.
One of the reasons that you might want to consider a stationary bike for your workout is if you are extremely overweight and there is some concern about the strain on your heart while you exercise. You see, the heart is only meant to beat a certain amount of times per minute while you exercise; if you are obese, your heart will reach that level more quickly. Stationary biking can help you to lose some fat before you start a more stringent exercise.
Another reason to only use a stationary bike is if your doctor says you can’t do other forms of exercise. You should always follow your doctor's instructions when it comes to the health and safety of your body!
Should I incorporate a stationary bike as part of a more involved workout plan?
Using a stationary bike as part of a more complex exercise plan is probably the best way to get the most benefit from your stationary bike. Because the stationary bike only works out your legs and your behind, and possibly a little bit of your stomach and back, you need to incorporate other exercises into your routine.
Instead of making the stationary bike a primary part of your exercise routine, for example, you could use it for 20 minutes 3 times a week using other forms of exercise and/or weightlifting to work the rest of your body.
While the stationary bike is considered to be a cardio machine as well as a strength building machine, it isn’t as beneficial as running. That is why incorporating other exercises into your routine will provide you with the most benefit.
However, there are always exceptions to this rule, in terms of the cardio benefits of using stationary bikes. What we are referring to is the type of stationary bike you use.
What kind of stationary bike provides the most benefit?
Here is the bottom line; if you want to get the most benefit from your stationary bike, then you need to be prepared to spend some money on it. A standard stationary bike simply isn’t the best choice if you want to avoid other types of exercises.
However, there are other, more stimulating, stationary bikes on the market. The most benefit will come from stationary bikes that provide resistance while you are “riding” and that will vary while you are working out.
Look at it this way. A high end treadmill will simulate running up hill, stairs, downward inclines and more. These are the types of treadmills that everyone wants to use so that they can get the maximum benefit, right?
Well, stationary bikes are the same way. You can get high tech stationary bikes that provide you with the same type of resistance so that you can work more of your upper body while you are using your bike. The truth is that bike riding provides excellent benefits, but when you ride a real bike you don’t go in a straight line with no turns, twists, inclines and so on. No, you have movement. That is the difference between a real bike and a stationary bike.
Find a stationary bike that provides you with those variances and you will end up with an excellent workout!
Try the workout plan finder to find a combination of workouts that will benefit you best.