Sven Wombwell
Article by: Sven Wombwell
Estimated 10 minutes read

You may have seen a stationary bike in a gym or fitness store. You may be eager to try one out to see how it fits into your exercise routine, but you may be unsure whether or not the stationary bike is worth your time. 

A stationary bike is a low-impact exercise equipment that is great for cardio, toning muscles, and losing weight. Read on to learn how a stationary bike provides good exercise.

a bunch of stationary bikes in a gym

What Is A Stationary Bike?

The stationary bike is an indoor exercise bike with a frame usually made of metal. Pedals connect to a flywheel with a belt or chain. Chains are better for long-term use. However, they are noisier than belts.

Chain drive systems also need regular lubrication and more maintenance than belts. Belts can slip and stretch over time, providing a much smoother, quieter ride. The pedals move to simulate the act of pedaling a road bike. They move simultaneously while attached to a flywheel.

The flywheel acts as a means of resistance to help challenge your muscles. The heavier the flywheel, the more resistance it will provide. Heavier flywheels are harder on the knees and joints and more difficult to get going. Lighter flywheels are easier to use but offer less resistance. They are better for beginners. 

Variable Resistance

Stationary bikes also have a resistance system that simulates changing gears on an outdoor bike. You can use the resistance gear to activate the brake when you are ready to slow down, but the flywheel is still spinning.

You can also change it to simulate different settings. For example, low resistance will be similar to flat road biking. Whereas higher resistance simulates going uphill. This allows you to vary your exercise routine.

Indoor bikes also have a seat attached to the frame, like a regular bike. This seat is padded to increase comfort, but it can become uncomfortable if you cycle for long periods. There are also handlebars that you can use to stabilize your body. You can generally adjust the handlebars for the most comfort.

Stationary bikes also have a display console that helps you track your speed, distance, and other metrics, such as calories burned. Some types of stationary bikes will have other accessories such as water bottle holders, fans, heart rate monitors, headphones, or braking systems. 

Types of Stationary Bikes

There are three major types of stationary bikes: upright, recumbent, and dual-action. Each of these types of stationary bikes is shaped slightly differently and is used for different kinds of workouts.

Upright Bike

The upright bike is the most popular type. It is most similar to a regular bicycle. The pedals are located under your body, and the handlebars are in front. This indoor bicycle has an upright seating position. People use an upright exercise bike for full-body workouts.

Many people use this stationary bike as cardio. This type of bicycle strengthens your leg and core muscles. You can exercise either by standing or sitting on an upright bike. The downside to this type of bike is that it can put a lot of pressure on your wrist joints after long periods of exercise. 

Recumbent Bike

With the recumbent exercise bike, you are reclined on a larger seat. Your body is positioned back from the pedals. This type of exercise bike has back support, so it is suitable for reducing back and joint strain. The recumbent bike provides a more low-impact workout. It focuses more on targeting the lower body than the upright bike.

This exercise bike is less intense, so it is best for people with limited mobility, joint issues, injuries, or back pain. This is also a better option for older adults. Since the recumbent bike is lower to the ground, older adults will have an easier time getting on and off the exercise bike. 

Dual-Action Bike

The dual-action bike has handlebars that move back and forth so that you can work your upper and lower body at the same time. This stationary bike provides high levels of aerobic exercise. It is also great as part of a cardio workout. It works the leg muscles alongside the arm and shoulder muscles. 

There are many brands of exercise bikes to choose from. The best exercise bike brands include Bowflex, Peloton, and Schwinn. Stationary bikes vary in size, function, and price. 

fit attractive people exercising on stationary bike in a gym

How Do You Use A Stationary Bike?

A stationary bike is a great way to simulate cycling without getting out on the roads. With an exercise bike, you don't have to worry about staying safe on a road or trail while you cycle. You also don't have to postpone your exercise routine due to bad weather.

To use the stationary bike, sit on the seat, hold the handlebars, and pedal—just as you would a regular bicycle. Having good form while exercising on an indoor bike is important to prevent strain and injury. Make sure your seat is adjusted to a comfortable riding height. The seat should be level with your hip height when you stand beside the bike (on an upright stationary bike). 

You will want to keep your spine relatively straight and your core engaged while riding. Your elbows should slightly bend while gripping the handlebars, but you should not carry much weight on your shoulders. Your feet should track over the middle of your feet. 

Once you are on the bike, you can customize your workout for your needs. If you are trying to lose weight, the longer you spend on the bike, the more calories you'll burn. However, spending too much time on the bike can lead to muscle aches and strains. You'll want to take it slow if you are just starting.

How Long To Spend on a Stationary Bike 

You'll also want to consider how intense you exercise when deciding how much time you should spend on the bike. More intense HIIT sessions may only last 15-30 minutes, whereas a more relaxed exercise routine may call for a 60 to 90-minute workout. You'll also want to consider your resistance level when working out on a stationary bike. 

The more resistance, the more challenging the workout. Greater resistance builds muscle mass and burns more calories than a lower-resistance ride, but it is more difficult and intense on your muscles.

Be sure to take it easy when first starting, and don't push yourself beyond your limits. 

Benefits of a Stationary Bike 

There are many benefits to using a stationary bike as cardio exercise. Cycling can reduce body fat, support weight loss, strengthen leg and lower body muscles, and is great for interval training. A stationary bike workout can help you add more physical activity to your lifestyle for overall health and wellness.

Excellent Cardio Workout

In a cardio workout, you strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles. Cardio improves blood flow and oxygen, enhancing memory, brain function, and mood. It also lowers blood pressure and stress while boosting energy. 

According to the British Heart Foundation, aerobic (cardio) exercise lowers your risk of heart disease. When you cycle, you move many different muscles throughout your body. You engage your core and get your heart pumping. This helps increase your heart rate, encouraging your heart muscles to work harder, which helps improve your heart health. 

Cyclists enjoy lower cholesterol, lower body weight, less stress, and better overall cardiovascular fitness.

Reduce Body Fat and Promote Weight Loss

This low-impact cardio workout is a great way to burn calories. You can increase the resistance as you get more adept at using your stationary bike, making this workout perfect for easy progression. You can continue to increase your intensity to burn more calories. When working to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. 

Since cycling is a much easier way to exercise, you can often do it for longer than other types of cardio exercises, and the longer you exercise, the more calories you burn. Results from a stationary bike are often faster than other cardio workouts. According to a study, 45 minutes of vigorous exercise increases your metabolism for about 14 hours. 

Your metabolism is the process your body uses to convert food to energy. An increased metabolism can help you to lose weight. So, if you increase your exercise and pair that with a healthy diet, you'll see better weight loss results. 

Strengthen Leg and Lower Body Muscles

Indoor cycling works a variety of muscles. Just as with a typical bike ride, you work your glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads, and other lower body muscles. Based on the type of indoor bike, you may also work out your upper body. So, you can also get a good workout of the biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

This full-body workout helps to strengthen and tone your muscles. Even your core and back get a good workout with this low-intensity cardio. If you want to build muscle and a more sleek physique, this exercise equipment will get the job done as long as you use it consistently.

A stationary exercise bike can help you meet your fitness goals to improve your health, have a better-looking body, or lose weight.

High-Intensity Interval Training

Another benefit of a cycling workout is that you can use it to do interval training. Interval training is when you alternate between short bursts of intense exercise and longer workouts with moderate intensity. The varied resistance you can achieve with a stationary bike helps you modify your daily workout routine for varied exercise. This way, you can use the stationary bike no matter your fitness level.

Because of its versatility, you can use a stationary bike to help you train for a triathlon or other activities. With an indoor bike, you can train even if the weather is bad or you can't take a regular bicycle out on the roads that day. You are not limited by the environment with an indoor bike.

Risks of a Stationary Bike

As with all exercise, it is essential to listen to your body and use the exercise equipment correctly to ensure your safety. Improper posture may lead you to fall off the bike and injure yourself. If you work for too long, you could suffer from muscle fatigue or injury yourself from repetitive motions. 

It is always important to begin a workout with a warm-up and end each stationary cycling session with a cool down to ensure you don't strain your muscles. If you need help starting, a personal trainer may be able to help you learn how best to utilize a stationary bike.

Many gyms also offer cycling classes where a bike trainer will help you learn how to properly use the equipment and build a workout routine that best suits your needs. Another low-risk option for improving your lifestyle is to consider testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Here at Male Excel, we make it convenient and safe to get TRT online.

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A stationary bike does provide excellent cardio exercise. This low-impact exercise equipment is great for both beginners and more seasoned athletes. Stationary cycling has many health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health and helping you lose weight.

Older adults can also get results from a stationary bike by purchasing one that is easy to get on and off. Overall, if you are looking for a simple way to get in shape, a stationary bike is an excellent option for starting. 

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