Introduction – Exercise Bikes
Guest contribution by Mark, ExpertEasy.com.au
Exercising is a key part of healthy living and having a confident body shape. Indoor cycling is a great way to achieve physical fitness without riding outside. There is more convenience with the use of an exercise bike. You don’t need to worry about the chilly winter cold or the downpours of snow.
Exercise bikes offer the flexibility of fitness programs you can join online. Also, you can easily track your progress and meet other people to help you attain your goals.
What is Indoor Cycling?
As compared to riding outside on the road or woods, indoor cycling involves exercising on a stationary bike in the gym, home, or cycling centre. Exercise bikes are one of the most common options for indoor cycling. They offer versatility and variability in price, functions, and features. Other devices that can be used are bike trainers and rollers.
Types of Indoor Cycling Workouts
Generally, indoor cycling on exercise bikes can be grouped into four broad categories. These cycling workouts differ in terms of when they change the cycling speed, intensity, power, and resistance.
Pedalling in a beat-based workout relies on the rhythm of music or sound. The songs or beats are selected based on the workout goal. You will cycle on the exercise bike in sync with the beat being played. The rotations per minute you achieve depend on the song’s tempo.
This is an intensity-based workout designed to improve the power output of riders. Watts is a unit for measuring power output. Many exercise bikes have settings to adjust the power output. You can find out your baseline Watts and, from there, know how much improvement is needed. All these are done on the exercise bike.
Rotations per minute are a measure of how fast you cycle. By adjusting the bike’s resistance, you can alter the exercise demands. You must set the bike to a cycling resistance commensurate with the cycling goal. Hill climbing, for instance, requires an RPM that falls within 60 to 80.
The heart-rate workout training requires a heart rate monitor. You can make use of a chest-strap monitor to measure the heart rate. The workout intensity level can then be adjusted in accordance with the targeted heart rate goal.
5 Tips to Help You Gain Fitness With an Exercise Bike
Get the Seat Height Right
The seat height is pivotal in attaining fitness with an exercise bike. Your knee should be bent about 90° and your thigh parallel to the floor. Getting this first step right will have an effect on almost every other effort you put into the indoor cycling exercise.
To get the proper seat adjustment, do the following. First, sit on the seat and place your feet flat on the pedals. Your knee should bend slightly when the pedal is at the lowest point. Adjust the seat until your knee is about 20° bent. Too high a seat will make your knee fully extended.
Add Some Resistance
Getting ambitious with the workout plan is cool, but ensure you are not over-pushing yourself. It is also necessary to get enough resistance instead of just getting lazy on the wheels. Resistance is needed to give you support as your pedal. Without it, you will bounce in the saddle. On the downstroke, your legs may bottom out, and more pressure will be on your knees to keep pedalling.
Keep a Flat Back
Using the exercise bike should keep the muscles exercised and not stressed. Keep a flat back when sitting on the bike to avoid unwanted pressure on your spine. Extra posture addition to keeping a flat back, is to keep the neck in line with the back with a gaze straight up. This way, you will avoid tension in your spine, hamstring, and other muscles.
Don’t Put Your Weight on the Handlebars
There is always the temptation to lean into the handlebars when using the bike. Please do not give in to such temptations because it will compromise your mission. Resting on the handlebars will put pressure on your wrist, arms and shoulders. Rather let the weight be on your core and lower body. Thus, you will avoid injuries and develop your core and proper posture while using the exercise bike.
Keep Your Feet Flat
When riding on the pedal, keep your feet flat. This will make the pressure evenly spread within your leg muscles. Riding on your toes or heels will cause an imbalance in your leg muscles. Flat feet will also prevent strain and injury to your feet.
[Editor’s note: This video by Kaleigh Cohen Cycling is a great example of an introductory workout on a stationary bike:-]
Indoor cycling can be an easy way to up your fitness without any worry about the weather condition or the fear of an accident while outside. An exercise bike is at the top of the list of bikes for indoor cycling. Make sure to get familiar with your exercise bike and learn how much it can offer. As a beginner, you should start small with workout regimens and build your fitness progressively.
Images: Pixabay/ musculacaoMM2020 and Pexels/ Ivan Samkov
Mark is a keen gardener, a DIY addict and a father of two beautiful girls. He is originally from Perth and is a true Eagles fan. He writes about home equipment at ExpertEasy.com.au.