Stationary bikes are effective for burning calories, increasing cardiovascular endurance and building leg strength. They also offer an alternative to cycling at the mercy of weather and environmental conditions. When deciding on a cycling routine, consider your fitness and experience with distance cycling, as well as what your fitness goals are. Stationary bikes are accessible, relatively simple to use and offer noticeable results if you remain disciplined and follow an efficient program.
Beginner Cycling Program
Researching cycling exercise programs is a good idea if you're getting serious about either competing in cycling events or slimming down and staying motivated. Having a planned-out routine makes it more difficult to skip out on a workout and helps you organize your goals and track your progress. BeginnerTriathlete.com suggests six cycling workouts per week that range from 30 to 48 minutes, with one rest day for recovery. You should start most workouts with a 10- to 15-minute warmup before increasing your pace and settling in for the long haul.
If you need to increase the effort of your cycling routines to burn more calories or to raise your heart rate to its maximum, interval training is the way to go. Start an intense workout the same way you'd start out a beginner workout, with a five- to 10-minute warmup. Settle into your comfortable cycling speed, then ramp it up to your maximum speed for about 10 seconds. Recover at your comfortable pace for a few seconds longer than your max pace and repeat these interval rounds throughout the remainder of your 30- to 45-minute workout.
Track Your Workouts
Most modern stationary bikes make it easy for you to track your workouts by monitoring your time on the bike, calories burned and distance traveled. Tracking your workouts this way will help you focus on your goals and set benchmarks. It may also give you a solid indicator of whether you're overtraining and need a day or two off.
Cycling on a stationary bike is a low-impact exercise, but intense interval training will max out your heart rate and should only be done if your body can handle it. If you're concerned about the effect interval training will have on your health, speak to your doctor first. To avoid monotony and boredom on the stationary bike, vary your workout routine by experimenting with new intervals, and supplement your cycling with other forms of exercise.
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.