The stationary bike was big all the way up into the 90s and then it kind of fell by the wayside for a while. But in the past few years, it has been making a huge comeback and once you learn about the benefits, it’s easy to see why!
Stationary exercise bikes are an excellent way to fit your workout into your schedule no matter how busy you are. With a bike at home, you don’t have to worry about the time, the weather, or anything else. You just get in your workout whenever you can, even while you’re watching TV!
In this article, we’ll give you a quick overview of the different kind of stationary bikes, the benefits they offer, some tips for getting the most out of your spin workout, and even give you a few suggestions for the best stationary bike!
Types Of Stationary Bikes
There are a few different kinds of stationary bikes out there and they each come with their own advantages and disadvantages. The important thing is for you to choose based on what your own priorities are when it comes to working out. So let’s take a quick look at each kind.
- Upright exercise bike: This is probably the one you are imagining when you picture a stationary bike. The seat is exactly like a bicycle seat (except maybe a little wider) and you operate much like a regular bicycle. This is the ideal choice for those who want a workout that most closely resembles an actual cycle workout outdoors.
- Recumbent stationary bike: Unlike the upright, the seat on a recumbent stationary bike is more like a regular chair. It has a back for you to lean against. It also tends to be lower down so that your legs are straight out in front of you when you pedal rather than below you. This is ideal for those who are turning to stationary bikes as a way to get a low-impact exercise. The upright is already low-impact but this takes, even more, pressure off of your joints and allows you to recline in a position that’s more comfortable for your back.
- Folding exercise bike: a folding stationary bike doesn’t have any special kind of seat. Its key feature is that it can be folded up for easy storage. Stationary bikes can have a tendency to be bulky and take up a lot of space so if space is a precious resource in your home, you’ll probably want to look for a folding exercise bike. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up the comfort and choices of upright or recumbent as there are both folding upright exercise bikes and folding recumbent exercise bikes.
- Stationary bike stand: for the most versatile (and affordable option), you can simply buy a stationary bike stand. This is a simple stand that you can mount your normal, outdoor bicycle onto. The stand lifts the wheel off the ground and holds the bike firmly in place so that you can pedal to your heart’s content in the comfort of your own home. You don’t get any of the helpful displays that track your workout data but if you’ve got a smartphone with a fitness tracking app, this might not be a concern for you.
The Benefits Of Using A Stationary Bike
Once you’ve chosen the most suitable kind of bike for you, prepare to experience these many great benefits:
- Weight loss: a stationary bike makes it possible to get an amazing cardio workout in the comfort of your own home. And cardio is the absolute key to burning fat. Whether you just squeeze in a quick 10-15 minutes here and there throughout the day or commit yourself to rigorous 45-60 minute sessions, you are going to start seeing those extra pounds melt away.
- Indoor workout: with a gym membership, you have to deal with the stress of finding time to actually go to the gym and get your money’s worth. With outdoor exercise, you are a victim of the weather. But with a stationary bike at home, you can workout any time of day, any time of year without worry. You can even get your workout in while you watch your favorite TV show! So there’s no excuse to not get your daily workout in.
- Decrease stress: regular exercise has been proven time and time again to decrease stress. This is for many reasons. For one, it stabilizes your blood sugar levels so that you aren’t dealing with constant spikes and drops in energy levels (which leads to irritability and other mood problems). Secondly, it lowers blood pressure which makes you feel physically more relaxed and calm. It also releases endorphins in your brain. This is one of the chemicals that’s responsible for making you feel happy and content.
- Increase confidence: that wonderful feel-good attitude you get immediately after a great workout will carry with you throughout the day. As you start to get in better shape, you’ll start to feel more confident in yourself.
- Low impact workout: for those suffering from arthritis, obesity, or other conditions that make many workouts too painful for your joints, a stationary bike is a great option. By being seated (especially on a recumbent exercise bike), you are taking a huge amount of pressure off of your knees, ankles, and other joints. This lets you get all of the amazing benefits of cardio without the painful strain on your joints.
Stationary Bike Workout
In order to get all of those great benefits, you want to make sure you are working out safely and smartly. Here are a few tips for sticking to protect yourself from injury and make your workout as effective as possible:
- For absolute beginners: start with 3-4 days per week. You want to give yourself plenty of recovery time so that you aren’t overtraining your body which isn’t used to intense, regular exercise. You will see weight loss benefits even at this relatively low starting level. You want to push yourself TO your limits, not PASSED them.
- Stick to a schedule: the key to sticking to a workout is making it a part of your routine. You don’t have to work out first thing in the morning or as soon as you get home but you need to fit in somewhere that works best for you.
- Make time for exercise: the biggest excuse for not working out is saying you don’t have the time. This is not true. Those who truly want to work out make the time. You don’t need to do long, strenuous workouts every single day. Even making the effort to wake up just 15 minutes earlier to fit in a quick spin on your bike will make a huge difference. And trust us, those 15 minutes of exercise will get you feeling more energized than that extra 15 minutes of sleep would have.
- Set goals: set short and long term goals. Long term goals can be your weight loss goals. Short term goals should be more focused on fitness level. That is, things like “within 30 days, I want to be able to spin for 30 minutes straight, without breaks in between.” Setting goals not only helps you stay motivated, it gives you a way to make sure you are consistently pushing yourself to improve which will mean more weight loss and health benefits in the long run.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. This has been shown to have even more powerful fat burning benefits and it’s perfect for those who only have a limited time to exercise as it is. HIIT uses intervals of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise.
Typically, someone will do 40 seconds of exercise at their absolute max intensity level and follow that with 20 seconds of easy, low-intensity exercise. For the bike, that means pedaling as hard as you can on as high of an intensity level as you can handle for 40 seconds and then dropping that intensity way down and going at any easy pace for 20 seconds.
These short bursts of intense exercise burn serious calories. So if you only have 10 or 15 minutes to workout, HIIT is your best option for making the most out of that time.
Now with those tips, you are ready to start spinning! All you need is a stationary bike of your very own!
Our Top Recommendation
With all of this in mind, here are our top 3 recommendations for stationary exercise bikes. We selected 3 different types so you can get a sense of what kind of benefits each one can offer.
Nautilus R614 Recumbent Bike
This is one of our favorite recumbent stationary bikes out there. It’s not the absolute cheapest but it’s still on the lower end of the price spectrum. It has a large display with two LCD windows which together track and displays 13 different things (including heart rate) so that you can get one of the most detailed analyses of your workout every time.
There are 20 levels of resistance so you have a lot of room to progress. And there’s even the option to have 2 separate user profiles so the same machine can be tracking two different people’s progress. It also comes with some very nice built in speakers for great sound as you spin.
Schwinn 170 Upright Bike
This is one of the best upright bikes which comes at about the same price as the recumbent from Nautilus. It’s a very well made and durable construction with a lot of handy built in features. For example, like the recumbent bike above, it also features two LCD window displays that provide you with tons of feedback on your workout.
There are 25 different levels of resistance so you’ll be able to push yourself to your limits, wherever those limits may be. It even has a goal tracking feature that allows you to set fitness goals and then check your progress. With the USB charging port, you don’t have to worry about any of your devices dying mid-workout. It’s a really fantastic machine, especially when you consider its affordability.
Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike
Of the three stationary bikes on this list, this foldable exercise bike from Marcy is definitely the most affordable. It’s also the most suited to people with limited space in their homes who aren’t exactly thrilled about the idea of a large stationary exercise bike occupying a whole corner of the room.
The easy folding mechanism makes it a breeze to fold this bike up and store it in a closet or simply leaning against a wall in the corner, out of everyone’s way. Despite its foldability, it’s still made with a sturdy steel construction. We also love how comfortable the thick foam seat is. It doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles of the earlier two bikes but it does have a nice display that tells you the essential information including distance, time, speed, and calories burned.
Getting a stationary bike to help you get in shape and stay in shape for good will be one of the best decisions you ever make. But in order to get the most out of your stationary exercise bike, you want to make sure you are choosing the right kind to suit your needs. Do your research, read stationary bike reviews, and make sure you make the best decision for you.