Did you make a New Year’s resolution to get into shape? Did you know that just 8% of people who say they want to get fit or lose weight actually reach their goal? Don’t be a statistic. Sure it’s eight months into 2016 but you can make improvements in your life no matter what time of year it is. And there’s no better time than the present.
So what’s next? Admittedly, once you start looking you may be overwhelmed by the choices out there. Happily, you can’t go wrong with that time-honored piece of workout equipment, the simple yet effective exercise bike. Exercise bikes are great because they give you the ability to work out indoors no matter what the weather is doing outside. They’re also perfect for people who don’t have access to a gym or would rather work out at home.
The problem is there are enough options nowadays to make your head spin faster the wheels of an exercise bike. That doesn’t mean it’s time to give up though! Oh no, you won’t get off that easy. In fact, I’m here to help you sort through all the noise and make it simple enough to find exactly the type of exercise bike that will benefit you the most. Lucky you, huh?
Types of Exercise Bikes
So what’s next? Admittedly, once you start looking you may be overwhelmed by the choices out there. Here are 4 different types of exercise bikes that you need to know about.
1) Upright Stationary Exercise Bikes
This is the most common of the exercises bikes that you’ll find. They stand up like regular bikes and will “feel” as if you are riding a traditional bike. The saddle is directly above the pedals and there are comfortable placements for the handle bars. Riding an upright bike provides you with a very similar type of cardiovascular and lower body workout that you would get if you were to ride a regular bicycle.
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2) Dual-Action Stationary Exercise Bikes
These bikes are the best if you are looking to achieve a better full body workout. The best part about the design of the dual-action stationary bike is that it efficiently incorporates both a focused upper body workout along with an intense lower body workout.
Most dual-action stationary bikes have built-in fans that both cool the rider as well as act as a resistance mechanism. This feature along with the constant moving arm rails help to increase the overall aerobic experience.
3) Portable Indoor Cycles
This type of exercise bike is the most convenient exercise option for even the busiest person. Its lightweight and portable design means you can place one under your desk at work or under your feet while you’re relaxing around the house.
While basic in its design, the portable indoor cycles have a rotary resistance knob that allows you to adjust your lower body exercises to varying levels of resistance.
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4) Indoor Bike Trainer
Cycling enthusiasts will agree that we’d rather be out on the road than being cooped indoors. However, there are many advantages that come with investing in a quality indoor bike trainer.
It’s a solid Plan B when the weather isn’t holding up. Having an indoor bike trainer is your insurance policy when you have serious training to do, if you’re trying to stick to an exercise routine, or if you’re training for an upcoming race.
The best part is that you still get to use your own bike. It’s not like you have to adjust to a new frame when you use an indoor bike trainer. While you don’t get to enjoy the outdoor scenery, you do have a chance to catch up on all of the Walking Dead or Game of Thrones episodes that you’ve been meaning to watch.
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How to Get the Most out of Your Exercise Bike
Let’s talk about goals. Why? Because you want to be realistic about your current fitness level and what you hope to achieve. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many calories you can lose with an exercise bike in comparison to other standard at-home workouts.
The Features: All of the Bike Bells and Whistles
For most people, a basic model of exercise bike will do just fine. These types of standard exercise bikes will help you get to exactly where you want to be without wasting a ton of money on advanced options that go unused. But even with these standard options, there are certain features that you’ll want to look for.
Let me back up a little and say that your number one priority is comfort. Most things can be worked around but if you’re not sitting pretty, chances are you won’t be sitting in the saddle for very long. This includes comfortable pedals, adjustable handlebars and a seat that supports you well. These things will help keep you in the saddle longer and on track for hitting your goals.
Other helpful features range from a water bottle holder for quenching thirst, without disrupting your workout, and a magazine holder for reading or for placing your phone on to watch movies or videos.
Now back to those other features I mentioned. You’ll need an easy way to track your progress as you go. Nothing is handier for this than having a built-in monitor showing things like time, speed, heart rate and of course calories burned so you can brag to your friends on social media.
Aside from that, it would be nice if your bike came with a way to adjust the various levels of resistance in order to switch up your workout and keep your routine interesting.
Don’t forget about safety, which is just as important if not more so than having a comfortable ride. After all, you’re buying an exercise bike to feel better about yourself and not worse.
You can help to avoid potential injury by making sure that the bike you buy is suitable for your body type. Be realistic, and check the weight of the exercise bike and well as what it will support. The more it weighs the more stable and durable it will be.
Lastly, don’t forget to check how much space you have. Be sure that prior to purchasing you not only check the measurements of the bike itself, but also of the area where you plan on using your bike.
This may seem silly, but there’s nothing worse than bringing a purchase home and putting it together only to realize that it’s too big for your intended spot. This is especially true when purchasing online, where it’s harder to visualize your equipment in its new location.
So which is the perfect exercise bike out there? That all comes down to you and your individual needs. Are you a beginner just starting out on your fitness journey? A serious cyclist who has already put time in and trained hard to get to where they are? Play close attention to how you plan on using your exercise bike and let that be your guide towards the path to better living through cycling.