Ah, the ever so humble stationary bike. Let’s be honest. Looking at a stationary bike and thinking about working out with just that one piece of equipment doesn’t exactly make anyone jump for joy in excitement. In fact, most of us probably don’t really want to go near one unless it’s within the confines of a lively class with heart pounding beats and enthusiastic classmates. Despite this, the stationary bike is probably one of the most common pieces of gym equipment you’ll ever find as you’re probably going to spot one at every health club, apartment complex gym or hotel gym you go to. It’s also one of the most accessible and affordable pieces of exercise equipment with many homes across the globe owning one. Why is that? Despite looking very ordinary and very boring, when they are done right, stationary bike workouts will give you a run for your money. They’re dead hard and certainly aren’t anything to joke about. Check out these no-joke reasons to skip the treadmill and give your stationary bike a chance the next time around.
Reason #1: They’re Challenging for Every Fitness Level
Whether you’re just about to start working out or have been hitting the gym for years, you’re bound to get a good workout out of a stationary bike as long as you’re doing it right. Working out on a stationary bike doesn’t just build cardiovascular endurance, it also helps build strength in your legs. We don’t know about you, but we can think of a dozen ways in which stronger legs will benefit us off of the bike as well. The increased lower body strength will even give you a leg up (no pun intended) when working out the other parts of your body like your glutes and your back. This is also beneficial for people who are recovering from injuries but want to continue working out. As with all injuries however, just make sure that you check in with your doctor and get fitted with the necessary supports that you need before hitting the bike.
Reason #2: You Can Go with A Group or Fly Solo
It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert or if looking for a fun group exercise or want to focus on a solo work out. No matter what you want in your work out, you can get it done on a stationary bike. For those who thrive in a group workout setting, there’s always fun to be had at cycling classes. A great cycling class will combine amazing music mixes to get your energy pumping and awesome choreography designed to give your entire body a work out. Our personal favorite? Cycling classes that have you moving side to side and up and down to really give your core a fantastic workout. If working out on your own is your preference, however, you can get a great calorie burning work out in through interval workouts. A 20-minute high intensity interval ride on a stationary bike is a fantastic workout to squeeze in if you’re too busy to get much else done. It’s also a great way to start a full on regimen if you’ve got a bit more time on your hands. Tabata exercises are also a great way to utilize a stationary bike if whether you’re working out alone or with a group of people.
Reason #4: Enjoy A Relatively Low Impact Workout
For some people, it’s hard to work out because they’ve got their joints, injuries or other bone related issues to think about. Take, for example, an individual who is morbidly obese. It’s hard for someone that’s tipping the scales at three hundred or four hundred pounds to hop on a treadmill and keep going for a good amount of time. It makes their knees and ankles ache endlessly, which can also bring their mood down and make them feel helpless. Stationary bikes are relatively low-impact but can still get your blood pumping. As such, they’re a great way to introduce large individuals to working out and getting active. At the same time, it will protect their knees and joints until they get to a level in which other exercises won’t cause them as much pain. This also works to their advantage since, as we mentioned earlier, stationary bikes are fantastic at building leg strength and cardiovascular endurance. Getting a great work out in on the stationary bike can be as simple as grabbing a heartrate monitor and cycling at 76 to 85 percent of their max heart rate.
Reason #5: It’s Not All About the Legs
Some people brush off hopping on the stationary bike simply because they think it’s only beneficial for their legs. Well to that we say, first of all, what’s wrong with focusing on your legs and second of all, that’s completely false. While stationary bikes do increase leg strength, that’s not the only muscle group that you can target on a stationary bike. Hitting other muscle groups is a matter of adjusting your posture on the bike and making sure that you’re seating in the proper form. For example, while your legs are working hard and busy pumping, keeping your upper body still and preventing yourself from swinging side to side will give your core a major work out. We also mentioned earlier how beneficial cycling is to your cardiovascular health. You can get the most of this benefit by being mindful about the cadence of your pedaling. Something as simple as aiming for 90 rounds per minute (the number of times your right knee comes up in 60 seconds) can mean better cardiovascular health, stronger lungs and even more endurance in the long run. For people who are in a more advanced fitness level, practicing certain kinds of choreography while spinning can even give your back, shoulders and arms a workout that will leave you aching the next day – in a good way of course.