Fit Tip: Ride Inside for an Effective Cardio Workout
Some people assume that a stationary bike is an easy workout. Like many things in life, when it comes to indoor cycling, you only get out of it what you put into it. Indoor cycling can be a very effective, intense workout if you put in the effort. Follow these tips from Life Fitness to get the most out of a stationary bike workout:
Use your whole body. Contrary to popular belief, a quality bike workout involves the entire body, not just the legs. Try not to slump in the saddle. Keep your abs tight and your back, shoulders and arms should be fully engaged.
Set goals. Indoor stationary bikes offer a good low-impact cardio workout option for those that are overweight or new to an exercise program. The bike is a great tool for setting your own pace. Indoor bikes will offer a variety of preprogrammed workouts that involve hills, intervals and zone training. They will vary according to speed, intensity, duration and resistance. By using different programs on the console or creating your own workout profiles, you can focus on improving strength, endurance and speed.
Increase the intensity. Indoor cycling can also be an great cross-training cardio workout for runners during the winter. Once again, work at your fitness level and focus on pedal speed and resistance to continually improve. Increasing intensity is like a math equation: pedal speed (cadence) + resistance = intensity. Many of the newer bikes offer iPod hook ups and heart rate monitoring systems for motivation to challenge your inner athlete.
Join a class. Group cycling classes, guided by an instructor, are a great cardio workout. These popular, high-energy workouts happen on a specially designed group exercise bike. The pace and speed varies throughout the workout, sometimes requiring break-neck speed, and other times pedaling happens from a slow, standing position. Group indoor cycling burns calories quickly and invigorating music make the classes fun. A novice might participate in a cycling workout for 30 to 45 minutes, while a more advanced athlete could ride 60 to 90 minutes.
All you need to get started on an exercise bike is comfortable workout clothes and sneakers. Try wicking tops or padded cycling shorts to make the ride more comfortable.