An exercise bike, or stationary bike, lets you get a cardiovascular workout by simulating riding a bicycle outdoors. It's a good option for exercisers who tend to skip workouts when the weather is bad and for those who have joint problems that make other kinds of aerobic exercise difficult. To use an exercise bike, you need to make sure it's the right kind and that it's properly adjusted, then choose your workout according to your fitness goals.
Choosing an Exercise Bike
1Try both an upright bike and a recumbent bike. An upright bike more closely simulates riding a bicycle, while a recumbent bike lets you lean back and pedal with your legs in front of you.
2Measure the available space in your home. If you have a lot of room for an exercise bike, you can choose an electronic bike you can program. If you don't, or if you will only use the bike as a backup workout, get a manual bike, which is smaller.
3Consider your budget. Electronic bikes cost more to maintain. If price is a consideration, it's better to buy the best manual bike you can afford rather than a cheap electronic bike that will break down often.
- Ask the nearest fitness center to notify you when they upgrade their exercise bike. They may be willing to sell their old ones, allowing you to get an electronic bike for the cost of a manual bike.
4Convert your regular bicycle to an exercise bike. You can buy equipment that will raise the wheels off the floor or rollers that will turn under your wheels so you can ride in place.
5Ensure that the bike is the right size. Get on it in the shoes you will wear during the workouts and see if it can be adjusted so you can ride it comfortably.
Adjusting the Bike
1Adjust the seat. When your pedal is at its lowest (or farthest forward for recumbent bikes) your knee should only bend slightly. You should not have to flex your foot or point your toes to stay in contact with the pedal.
2Change the handlebars so that you can grip them without leaning forward. Your elbows should be slightly bent.
3Use the footstraps so you can both push the pedals down (or forward) and pull them up (or back). Make them snug enough that your feet don't accidentally pull out of them, but not so tight that you'll have trouble dismounting the bike.
Using the Bike
1Wear padded bike shorts or use a gel pad on the seat so you can be comfortable.
2Adjust the resistance so you work hard enough to sweat but not so hard that you can't have a conversation.
- If you choose to do interval training, you will adjust the resistance so at times you have to work very hard. Follow these with rest periods by decreasing the resistance.
3Pedal steadily throughout your workout. Don't move your ankles.
4Include a warm up and cool down. Start slow and increase speed and resistance after a few minutes. At the end of the workout, slow down and decrease resistance to help bring your heart rate down
5Listen to music or watch TV so you don't get bored. You can buy DVDs that play scenes as if you were riding on the road somewhere beautiful and interesting, such as the French countryside or a forest path.
6Take advantage of the available programs if you have an electronic bike. You can choose how long you want to exercise, monitor your heart rate, and set a specific resistance level. You can choose programs designed to burn fat, build certain muscles or increase endurance.
How do I motivate myself to ride my stationary bike every day for 30 minutes, and what exercise music should I listen to?User ContributorGet yourself an accountability partner who will check in with you each day to make sure you've put in your 30 minutes. Knowing that person is going to call or text might provide the incentive you need to exercise. Listen to music you like, or a podcast you enjoy.
- Keep yourself motivated by scheduling your workouts well in advance and keeping a log of your progress. Many exercisers find they are most consistent when they work out during a favorite daily television show.
Things You'll Need
- Exercise Bike
- Padded shorts
- Gel pad
- Athletic shoes
- Music player or TV