Exercising with a stationary bike is a powerful way to kickstart your physical fitness journey, with a range of benefits that will positively impact your total health. This style of workout is easily customizable to athletes of all ages, levels of experience, and fitness goals. Cycling can be a lifelong sport, adapting with you both as you age and become more fit. Whether your primary goal is to lose weight, increase your muscle mass, or keep your cardiovascular system running smoothly, a stationary bike will do you wonders.
Small Time Investment
You face enough difficulty finding the motivation to exercise; between work and the other infinite responsibilities of life, it’s hard to set aside much time for exercise. Make it easier on yourself by combining cardio and strength training into one piece of equipment. Switch between resistance levels or modes (cardio, fat-burning, incline, etc) at the press of a button to vary your workout’s intensity and target different muscle groups.
A stationary bike will save you time, money, and space in your home gym. Collecting a wide array of workout equipment might land you hundreds to thousands in the hole and fill up an entire room, whereas a stationary bike acts as a compact, multiple-use machine. Furthermore, the high-calorie burning potential of using a stationary bike cuts downtime spent exercising dramatically. Depending on factors such as workout intensity, age, gender, and weight, an hour of cycling can burn upwards of 500-600 calories. Paired with a healthy diet and attention to other important health factors like sleep and stress mitigation, stationary bike workouts certainly don’t need to be very long in order to see desirable results.
Low Impact Exercise
Cycling, unlike other common exercises like weight training and running, has quite a low impact on the joints and bones. There’s no repetitive, constant pounding of pavement or intense stress here—in fact, the motion of cycling itself reduces joint stiffness and pain, making movement smoother in daily activities. Low impact exercises are best for increasing endurance, as well as your ability to keep a controlled heart rate and breathing pattern during exercise. This reduces stress on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, in turn making the systems work more efficiently.
Paired with a low-salt, heart-healthy diet, the effects of a regular stationary bike workout are marked. Cardiovascular health is improved both by the low-intensity aspect of stationary bike workouts and the very nature of cycling as a cardio workout. For those with pre-existing conditions like hypertension, focusing on cardio exercise is a wise usage of time. Making the system work more efficiently reduces stress on the heart, lowers blood pressure, and minimizes the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack
Given the muscle mass reduction qualities of cardio exercise, it’s important to vary your workout routine. You can accomplish this by incorporating High-Intensity Interval Training days, as well as choosing a bike with a flywheel weight and/or a suite of resistance training levels. Some models come with resistance bands for the arms, which is helpful if you desire a full-body workout. Strengthening the muscles aids in bone, joint, ligament, and tendon function—strong muscles support their smooth, coordinated movement and distribute stress more effectively. Cyclers can avoid painful injuries like tendonitis, ligament tears, and shin splints if they work on their muscle building in tandem with cardio training. An added benefit of increased muscle mass is the raised calorie consumption of muscle versus fat outside of time spent exercising. Muscle increases daily calorie expenditure by a startling 20%, even when the body is at rest. That’s far above the expenditure increase of fat, which hovers around just 5%.
A slow metabolic rate can hamper the weight loss goals of those with even the healthiest eating habits. This can be partially remedied by following a regular sleep schedule and mindfully managing stress, but sometimes the slow metabolism has a genetic cause, or may involve a hormone disorder. Luckily, cycling is a great way to increase its speed via cardio and muscle engagement, making losing weight far less burdensome.
This helpful metabolism enhancer also protects against the dangers of extreme dieting by allowing the body to process and utilize a healthy amount of food more efficiently. Weight loss can be maximized further by varying the type and intensity of workouts. This can include high intensity interval training, incline training, variable workout time, and resistance training.
It’s no secret that getting active has strong psychological benefits in addition to the many physical effects we love. Brain chemistry during and immediately after exercise is spectacularly active compared to baseline levels. Endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and norepinephrine are all released in response to physical activity. While each has its own specific function, the most important thing to note is the increased activity and the positive feelings that these neurotransmitters illicit. This group of chemicals work on both a long and short term scale for brain health, including, but not limited to, increasing focus and alertness happiness and positivity as well as easing the process of establishing connections within the brain.
Plan your workouts around times you feel most mentally fatigued for a much-needed boost: perhaps the dreaded 4 p.m. slump, or bright and early to kickstart your day. A post-workout smoothie serves as further mental and physical nourishment; it’s important to prioritize recovery nourishment to help repair the minute muscle tears that occur with exercise. These are just a few of the many benefits of a stationary bike workout. As you establish a routine, you’ll soon discover other behavioral and physical effects of cycling. Its motivational and discipline-forming qualities can extend into other parts of your life, renewing joy in previously mundane activities. The stationary bike lifestyle gives back everything you put in and more. Good luck on your adventure.