Stationary Bike Benefits

by Liza Blau, Demand Media
    Weight loss is just one benefit of riding a stationary bike.

    Weight loss is just one benefit of riding a stationary bike.

    Exercising on a stationary bike is an effective way to get into physical shape and improve your health. These bikes have become increasingly sophisticated, capable of measuring your heart rate, calories burned, speed and mileage. Most modern models also feature adjustable fitness programs to keep your cycling workouts fun and motivating.. Whether or not you're new to exercise, a stationary bike offers many benefits.

    Types

    The two types of stationary bikes are the upright and recumbent. On the recumbent bike, you're able to recline on a backrest with your legs stretched out to the pedals. Overweight individuals and those with back or disc problems often find the recumbent bike's reclining position and back support more comfortable while pedaling. The design of the upright stationary bike is similar to an ordinary outdoor bike. The seat of the upright bike is directly over the pedals and the handlebars are in front. Upright exercise bikes allow for a variety of positions, such as the racing position and the ability to stand while pedaling, which exercises more muscle groups.

    Low Impact

    The stationary bike provides a low-impact, gentle workout, allowing you to exercise without putting too much stress on the spine, according to Spine-Health. Riding a stationary bike is a beneficial way to obtain cardiovascular exercise and strengthen the lower body without stressing your joints. Stationary bikes are often prescribed by physical therapists after an injury or surgery, during the rehabilitation process. Working out on a stationary bike is also beneficial if you suffer from balance problems as its stable foundation negates the need to lean to make turns.

    Muscle Strengthening

    Riding a stationary bike helps to strengthen major muscle groups that support the back, leg and thigh muscles, and the hamstrings behind the thigh. While pedaling on a stationary bike, there are two different strokes: the push and the pull. Pushing down on the pedals strengthens the quadriceps, while pulling up works and strengthens the hamstrings. The stationary bike causes less stress on the knees than outdoor bikes that must be navigated on hard and uneven terrain.

    Weight Loss

    If weight loss is your goal, a stationary bike is one of the most efficient calorie burners. According to Harvard Health Publications, riding a stationary bicycle at a moderate pace burns 210 calories in 30 minutes for an individual weighing 125 pounds, 250 calories in 30 minutes for an individual weighing 155 pounds and 311 calories in 30 minutes for an individual weighing 185 pounds. The greater the weight, the more calories burned.

    Improved Heart and Lung Function

    Regular aerobic exercise, such as riding a stationary bike, can strengthen your heart and lungs and improve your body's ability to utilize oxygen, according to WebMD. Consistent use of a stationary bike can help decrease your blood pressure and heart rate and improve your respiratory function. For the best results, the American Heart Association recommends exercising five times per week for 30 minutes each day.

    Convenience

    With a stationary bike, inclement weather or darkness does not prevent you from exercising. Stationary bikes are compact enough to keep in your home or office, allowing you to work out on your lunch breaks or whenever it's convenient. While riding the stationary bike, you can catch up on your reading, check email, talk on the phone, watch television or keep your eye on young children, while still reaping the many benefits of exercise.

    About the Author

    Liza Blau received a B.A. in English from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in fiction anthologies from Penguin Press, W.W. Norton, NYU Press and others. After healing her own life-threatening asthma by switching to a whole, natural foods diet, she founded the NYC Asthma Wellness Center. Blau counsels individuals on healing their own asthma and allergies with dietary and lifestyle changes.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images