Your guide to buying an exercise bike
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Exercise bike benefits
As well as being a great cardio workout, cycling is an effective way of building muscle and strength in your lower body, helping you to tone up your legs and bum. Because exercise bikes have this mix of cardio and strength training, they can burn a substantial amount of calories (if you work hard enough that is...). And to top it all off, they are low-risk, low-impact as there's not a lot of stress placed on joints. In fact, exercise bikes help improve joint mobility and strength because of the pedalling motion.
Choose the best exercise bike for you
For the workout newbies
If you’re new to fitness and just looking for a piece of equipment to start you on your journey, a basic exercise bike should work for you. These will measure simple things like speed, distance, time and calories burned, but you should be aware that they're unlikely to have any additional features or programmes.
For the casual exercisers
If you exercise regularly and are looking for a good piece of equipment to supplement your workouts, a mid-range exercise bike is ideal. These have more features than basic models, like heart rate monitoring and electronic resistance setting, but won't have advanced programmes and workouts that higher end models have.
For the fitness fanatics
If you’re serious about your fitness, and prefer higher intensity workouts, go for a top-end, professional model with bigger flywheels. These will provide you with a smoother ride and allow you to train harder. And with more programmes, you can be challenged and stay motivated, helping you on your way to achieve different goals.
Get to know exercise bike types
This is the most common type of exercise bike, and most similar to riding outdoors, meaning you’ll work the same muscles, including some in your upper body and torso. They’re also the smallest type of bike - great if you’re low on space.
With this, you’ll have a reclined body position, and the muscles you’ll work are predominantly leg muscles. They’re the most gentle on the joints and support your back, making them a good option if you struggle with arthritis or general aches and pains.
Also known as aerobic bikes, they’re best for interval and strength training helping to boost stamina. They also allow you to train harder, in a variety of positions to maximise muscle engagement and fat burn.
Not got much room?
Mini bikes are a good alternative to a normal exercise bike if you are really pushed for space and just looking for something small and convenient to do the odd bit of exercise. But if you still want the real deal, opt for a folding bike so you can pack it away when not in use allowing you to claim back the space.
Take your cycling up a gear
Best for serious cyclists, and race training, these allow you to use your ordinary road bike in a stationary position indoors. This means adverse weather conditions won't mess up your training schedule and traffic conditions can't impact your ride. Therefore, you'll be able to focus more on your technique and posture and in turn train more effectively.
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Time to get fit
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