The Best Type of Exercise Bike
What is an Exercise Bike?
An exercise bike is an immobile bicycle with pedals, saddle and handlebar arranged to resemble a real bicycle. It is also known as an exercycle. Unlike a real bicycle, it is not used for transportation. It is special indoor exercise equipment slightly differing from an ordinary bicycle due to its lack of wheels. With the introduction of a cycle ergometer, the exercise bike can comfortably measure the work done during a particular exercise session.
Most exercise bikes promote increments in the intensity of the exercise by use of a unique mechanism that resists pedaling. Friction, fans, and magnets are the main resistance mechanisms used. However, some exercise bikes allow backward pedaling aimed at exercising antagonist muscles, which is never achieved by forward pedaling. These bikes are crafted using bottom brackets and crankshafts that are responsible for turning flywheels using a chain or a belt.
Spinning or indoor cycling exercise is done using indoor bicycles fitted with a weighted flywheel at the front. Ordinary bikes can also be used for stationary exercise by placing them on a trainer or bicycle rollers. Racing cyclists prefer to warm up indoors using this technique before racing.
Exercise bikes increase overall fitness and can be used for training during cycle events. They are ideal for physical therapy since they provide a safe, effective cardiovascular, and low-impact exercise. Unlike other fitness equipment, operating a stationary bike does not involve sporadic motions and only minimal stress on joints. Frequent exercise using an exercise bike consequently leads to weight loss and improved health.
Two Main Types of Exercise Bikes
The main types of exercise bikes include recumbent and upright stationary bikes. The posture of the rider is the main distinguishing factor between the two models. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), both models guarantee low-impact cardiovascular conditioning. These two models prove that they equally increase ones metabolic rate, which implies that they have identical weight loss and calorie-burning potential. Although recumbent and upright stationary bikes provide similar results, each type provides its own set of advantages for the rider. It all depends on what the rider is looking to accomplish with their workout.
Advantages of Recumbent Stationary Bikes
- They allow the rider to sit comfortably, making it easier on the lumbar spine. The recumbent position is preferred since it encourages correct positioning of the spine.
- Recumbent Stationary bikes protect ankles and knees from serious impact and the bucket seat securely supports the rider’s lower back. Their preference is determined by their gentleness on the rider’s joints.
- They are very enticing due to a large and comfortable seat.
- They are normally safer since they don’t allow riders to stand up on the pedals. Pedaling when standing may inflict injuries to a rider who is not cautious.
- They are ideal for patients who suffer from neurological conditions since they are safe and provide a low impact on the entire body workout.
- Their low impact leads to a reduction in the risk of pain and consequently enables the rider to build strength. Patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis benefit from exercising on a recumbent bike. The reclining position makes it easier to use since the rider’s weight is uniformly spread over their back.
- Recumbent bikes focus on working out the quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and tibialis anterior muscles.
- They are the most ideal for riders who are new to exercising.
Advantages of Upright Stationary Bikes
- It encourages consistent upright posture while exercising since riders are not required to change their body position frequently. It provides a more consistent movement compared to outdoor riding.
- An upright stationary bike is a full body workout and closely mimics outdoor bicycles. Unlike recumbent bikes; that only focus on a few muscle groups of the lower body, the upright bikes engage the entire body.
- The upright posture used when pedaling upright bikes promotes participation of abdominal muscles during the exercise. On the other hand, the reclining position of a recumbent bike limits the participation of abdominal muscles.
- Due to engagement of shoulders, triceps, and biceps in the upright posture, an upper body and arm workout is enhanced.
- Upright bikes consume minimal space when placed either in a user’s home or gym since they have smaller footprint.
Sub-Categories of Exercise Bikes
Dual-Action Exercise Bikes (A.K.A. Fan Bike)
Dual-action bikes are similar to elliptical trainers and are mostly upright bikes. They promote movement of the handlebars back and forth in sync while pedaling. The constant motion of both arms and legs leads to increased aerobic intensity and provides the upper body with extra toning. These bikes have built-in fans for cooling the user and promoting a resistance mechanism, hence the name Air Bike or Fan Bike. Most models of dual-action exercise bikes have adjustable levels of resistance for both the pedals and handlebars. It is not easy to find recumbent dual-action models. The available models that are known as seated ellipticals or recumbent dual-action ellipticals. They are ideal for exercisers who desire to accomplish a fantastic full body exercise that pays attention to the cardiovascular health. The lower and upper bodies are uniformly coordinated making the exercise more effective.
Interactive Exercise Bikes
Interactive exercise bikes use impeccable technology that transforms exercise sessions into an enjoyable workout. Most of these bikes have built-in entertainment gadgets such as televisions, computers, and music players, which distracts riders as they exercise. Modernized models are fitted with programs such as interval training, endurance training, and weight loss, among other interactive fitness programs. These programs enhance a rider’s workout. Interactive exercise bikes are found in both recumbent and upright models, and they are fitted with amenities such as distance and speed tracking devices.
Indoors cycles have a real chain-driven system of pedaling, which allows adjustment to achieve the desired resistance. They emerged as a result of the introduction of spinning sessions at gyms and health clubs. Although these bikes are similar to upright exercise bikes, their mechanical components resemble those of ordinary bicycles. Most indoor cycles are basic models without additional features or consoles. Their seat might cause discomfort if riding is conducted for a long period. They are ideal for riders who seek the most authentic exercise that yields remarkable results.
Bike desks are an all in one workstation which allows you to exercise and work at the same time. Bike desks include features like adjustable seat and desktop height, collapsible, storage drawers. Some models can also be used as a standing desk. The desktop is ample enough to fit your laptop, book, paperwork to work while burning calories. Collapsible Couch potato no longer, hop on a bike desk and get those creative juices flowing.
The best type of exercise bike is the one that fits your needs and what you are looking to achieve. As you already know any exercise bike you choose is a great cardio workout, but figure out what you are really interested in; speed, distance, distracting gadgets, toning entire body, training for outdoors etc. Exercise bikes are the most spectacular indoor exercise equipment. They are an effective and safe means of working out. However recumbent bikes are the best type of exercise bike since they’re perfect in the provision of cardiovascular workouts for individuals of almost all ability levels. There are five main models of exercise bikes that can guarantee individuals a lifetime of bliss. Models such as the recumbent, dual-action, and interactive stationary bikes provide riders with an impeccable riding session. Indoor cycles are also spectacular exercise bikes, which equip riders with a unique and authentic riding experience. Drawing from the advantages of the upright and recumbent bike, pick which one will best suite your needs and give you a fulfilling workout from home.