No reason to be subtle -- your health is too important. The answer is yes! -- riding an exercise bike or doing any other form of aerobic exercise does improve your circulation and thus makes you healthier. Your heart pumps about five liters of blood that travel through your arteries and around your body at all times. The circulatory system brings oxygenated blood and nutrients to every one of your organs and muscles. If your blood flow is constricted, you're at risk for a number of serious health problems.
Poor circulation often indicates a serious or potentially serious health problem. As Dr. Jeffrey S. Mandak explains at PennLive.com, poor circulation could mean that your heart is damaged and unable to pump blood with sufficient force. It could mean that your arteries are clogged, restricting the flow of blood throughout your system. If your circulation is poor, wounds and sores don't heal properly, which can lead to infections and even amputated limbs in some cases. Diabetics are especially at risk of peripheral artery disease due to poor circulation in their extremities. The symptoms of poor circulation can include shortness of breath, fatigue, heart pains and other muscle pain.
Regular aerobic exercise, such as riding an exercise bike, helps keep your blood flowing smoothly, states MayoClinic.com. Such exercise boosts your "good" cholesterol and decreases your "bad" cholesterol. As a result, you're less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease. In addition, aerobic exercise helps prevent or manage conditions ranging from stroke to diabetes, arthritis, certain types of cancer and depression.
There are manyways to improve your circulation through aerobic exercise, including walking, jogging and swimming. Riding an exercise bike is recommended for almost everyone, since it's a low-impact exercise -- easy on your joints. Choose either a regular exercise bike or a recumbent bike, which has a chairlike seat and might be easier to use, especially if you are overweight or suffer from back problems.
You know the old expression, "It's just like riding a bike?" Well, it is. Riding an exercise bike is incredibly easy. You can do it when the weather is too foul to exercise outside; you can crank up the intensity and do interval work or take a spin class; and you can read or watch TV while you peddle and improve your circulation without even thinking about it. However, you need to find an exercise routine that you enjoy over the long haul. So if an exercise bike doesn't get your blood racing -- metaphorically as well a literally -- find something else that does. If you already have circulation problems or other health issues, or haven't exercised in a while, check with your doctor before jumping on an exercise bike or doing any other type of aerobic workout.
- Circulation: Exercise and Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
- PennLive.com: 5 Questions About Poor Blood Circulation
- The Franklin Institute: Circulatory System: The Circle of Blood
- MayoClinic.com: Treatment Options for Poor Circulation in Feet
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.