The Cycling Workout
A guide to getting started with a bike workout—whether it’s stationary or moving
Looking for a way to get a great workout this summer? Regardless of whether you go stationary or outdoors, biking is a great cardio workout that anyone can do. If you’re a patient of a bariatric procedure like Lap Band, hopping up on the steel steed could be the perfect exercise for you—it’s fun, it’s easy and you can do it just about anywhere.
The Stationary Bike
Popular in homes and gyms everywhere, the stationary exercise bike is the perfect way to work out indoors. With a stationary bike, you won’t have to worry about your exercise getting derailed by those pesky summer thunderstorms, and having one at home saves you the trouble of going to the gym every day to exercise. You can use it any time, day or night, and even ride while watching your favorite TV show. What’s more, it’s very easy on the joints and will help you burn calories and fat.
But before you rush out and buy one, here are some things to consider when it comes to getting a stationary bike:
- What size and style is best for you? Those with less space for exercise equipment may want to consider a smaller, manual exercise bike, while those with more room may be interested in a large electronic model. Exercise bikes also come in “recumbent” styles, which allow you to pedal in a reclining position. If you’re unsure which would work best for you, head to the store or gym to try out some different ones or get a recommendation from a trainer or friend.
- What’s your price range? Though a fine exercise bike can be had for under $100, higher-end models offer many features that may interest you. If you’re planning on using the exercise bike as one of your main aerobic workouts, investing in a programmable and adjustable one may be worth the extra dough. To get more bang for your buck, you may also want to consider buying a used bike.
- Is stationary the right kind of bike for your workout? The stationary bike is a convenient workout, but outdoor bikes offer the same aerobic potential along with a mode of transportation. For individuals hoping to get more adventurous with their workouts, a road bike may be a better choice. Though your risk of injury or getting rained on increases with a road bike, you’ll also get some fresh air and sunshine, which will benefit your health in ways a stationary bike can’t.
Whether you find yourself more drawn to the convenience of riding stationary or the thrill of biking outdoors, cycling has a lot of potential as a weight loss workout. Though biking, especially stationary, can be a low-impact exercise, you should remember to start off slow, as with starting any new exercise routine. Don’t push yourself too hard, and if you choose the outdoor route be sure to plan your path out in advance to avoid going overboard in your workout.
The most important part of biking is simple: have fun! Each bike option offers its own ways to experience an enjoyable, carefree workout. Though the feeling of the wind whipping through your hair as you ride outside is irreplaceable, so is the feeling of being able to sit and watch TV or read while you exercise. Biking is the ideal way to get a workout without it feeling like a chore, so get out there (or in there) and start pedaling!