Stationary Bikes Offer Another Option for Cardio Fitness

by Jodee on November 12, 2010

Stationary bikes are a standard piece of exercise equipment that can be found at any gym, along with stair steppers and stepmill machines, free weights and other exercise machines. You may also want to consider buying one for home use, either as a way to work out when you can’t go running or cycling due to poor weather, or as your main piece of workout equipment.

You can choose to use a stationary bike, with no back rest, or a recumbent model that does provide back support. A stationary bike can give you a good cardio workout, which is a form of  heart-healthy exercise. Most models give will allow you to choose from a selection of preset programs.

If you want to get a more intense workout while using a stationary bike, choose a program that increases the resistance on the pedals. Some models require the user to enter his or her target heart rate when starting to use the machine, and the program is selected based on this information. The stationary bike can be used to warm up with before you move on to use the exercise machines or free weights in the gym as well.

A recumbent stationary bike has a back rest, which makes it a very comfortable way to work out. Some people who choose this piece of cardio exercise equipment read a magazine or watch television while on the machine. This is not a good idea if your focus is to improve your heart health. The magazine or TV can prove distracting, and it may be challenging for you to keep your mind on getting your heart rate into your target range while exercising.

These machines also have various programs for you to choose from. To get the best workout, choose an interval program. The resistance will increase as you go up the “hills” in the program, but then as you come “down” again, it will decrease.

Before you start working out with either a stationary or recumbent stationary bike, check the distance to the pedals. They should be positioned at a level so that your legs are almost fully extended. If the pedals are too close, you will not be able to get a full cardio workout; you run the risk of burning out your leg muscles instead.

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