Cardiovascular training can be a fun and exciting way to enjoy exercise while getting your body moving. However, sometimes nothing beats the great outdoors. An exercise bike can satisfy both, allowing for an effective workout from the comfort of your own home.
Working out on an exercise bike can be a great way to train cardiovascular fitness with little physical risk.
There are three different styles of exercise bikes: upright, recumbent and indoor. Each offers multiple advantages and different workout benefits to suit your goals. Determining which style is right for you should be the first step to getting the most out of your next workout.
- UPRIGHT EXERCISE BIKE
This style of exercise bike keeps you in a conventional riding position. Since they feature a standard bike seat, there is no back support. Designed for seated pedaling only, upright exercise bikes offer handlebars and front screens. These bikes are suitable for people who want a comfortable workout but don't need a bike for a high-intensity workout.
If you think an upright exercise bike fits your goals, look for models with clear, easy-to-use displays. Make sure your bike can record resistance, speed, time, distance and calories burned. In addition, some models may include built-in programs to keep your workouts fresh and ever-changing.
Another feature to look for in an exercise bike is some form of heart rate monitoring.
A popular option for heart rate monitoring is contact monitors. Often found on the handlebars, this technology is activated through touch. Some exercise bikes even offer heart rate monitors with chest straps, which can give a more accurate reading.
- RECUMBENT BIKE
Instead of the conventional pedaling style, recumbent bikes sit you in a reclined position on a wider, more comfortable seat. The pedals are at the front, which can help balance body weight distribution. This makes recumbent bikes an optimal choice for people with back problems, joint problems or preexisting injuries.
Recumbent bikes offer handlebars both on the front screen and along the sides of the seat. When choosing a recumbent bike, look for the same features as an upright: a clear display with desired measurements, built-in workout programs, adjustable seats and some form of heart rate monitoring. Recumbent bike buyers should also consider the machine's dimensions. Because of their reclined position and wider stance, recumbent bikes can take up more floor space than other bike options.
- INDOOR BIKE
Indoor cycling bikes have fewer features but offer an experience closer to real outdoor cycling.
Designed for riders to sit and stand, these machines can mimic vertical climbing and other cycling maneuvers. Indoor cycling bikes are good for high-intensity interval training and tough fat-burning workouts. This bike option is also often found in exercise groups or spinning classes.
Consider indoor cycling models with adjustable seats and handlebars to maximize comfort. Some styles offer displays that track RPM, Cal, time, distance and speed, but without built-in workout programs.
Above all, resistance is the most important feature to consider on an indoor cycle. Make sure the resistance offered is easily adjustable and includes a wide range of levels. Magnetic resistance systems can be very durable and very quiet. Indoor cycling bikes can also use belt and chain drive mechanisms for resistance.