If your goal is to get back in shape, an exercise bike can be the ideal place to start your new fitness regime. If you have had a reasonable level of fitness in the past, you may be surprised at how quickly it all comes back to you. Other than general advice which includes consulting a physician before undertaking a new fitness activity, there are some other points to remember.
Exercise bikes come in various forms but the main types are ‘recumbent’ and ‘upright.’ The former allows the rider to rest their back against a full seat support – it feels like sitting in a pedal boat at the park. Some of these recumbent bikes also include a rowing machine which can be a useful addition. The latter type is more common, replicating the feeling of sitting on a regular bicycle saddle without any back support. It is a good idea to try both types before making a decision as the most important factor is comfort.
Once you are sitting on your preferred exercise bike, there are two factors that will affect your workout. First of all, varying the speed will lead to an increase or decrease in heart rate. Everyone will have different goals but generally speaking, a lower rate is good for burning fat while a higher rate will promote cardiovascular fitness. To make the workout even more effective, most bikes will also have variable levels of resistance. If you legs have to work harder to pedal, this will also increase your heart rate and help to build muscle mass.
If you are willing to spend a little more, the sophisticated models have a computer attached to them. This will give you real-time information about the total number of calories burnt, the distance covered and your heart rate. This can be a useful tool when you try to match your workout to your goals.