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The benefits of an exercise bike workout

Updated: Jan 17

Exercise bikes are light, easy to use and can be folded away for easy storage.


It's easy to see why they are a popular choice for home workouts.


An exercise bike workout helps to strengthen your heart, lungs and muscles and is an efficient and effective way to burn calories and aid fat loss.


Compared to some other forms of cardio, an exercise bike puts less impact and stress through your joints, but still provides an excellent aerobic workout.


6 benefits of an exercise bike workout


1. Boosts cardio fitness


The benefits of improved cardiovascular fitness are immeasurable, and cycling is an excellent way to boost your fitness.


By strengthening your heart, lungs and muscles through an aerobic workout, you also improve the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body.


Think;

  • Better sleep

  • More energy

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Improved blood sugar levels

  • Better mood

  • Lower stress levels

  • Improved memory and brain function

  • Improved immune system

2. Can help with weight loss and burns body fat


An intense indoor cycling workout could burn up to 600 calories an hour, depending on several factors, but this makes it a great option for burning calories quickly.


An increase in strength and muscle mass can help the body burn more calories whilst at rest, leading to increased fat loss.


The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume.


3. A low-impact workout


Exercises such as running and other high-impact aerobic exercises put your joints under a lot of pressure.


If you have joint issues or an injury, an exercise bike is a low-impact workout that uses smooth movements and reduces the impact through your body.


4. Strengthens legs and lower body muscles


Peddling an exercise bike helps to strengthen your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, core and back.


Using a higher resistance will help to build more strength over time.


5. Interval training


Short on time? An exercise bike enables you to alternate bursts of intense exercise of varying lengths combined with rest periods.


This style of training can help to burn more calories in less time, whilst also improving your cardio fitness.


6. Safer than road cycling


Cycling outdoors is a wonderful way to exercise but it does come with a multitude of hazards, such as poor road surfaces, poor weather and visibility, and inattentive drivers.


With indoor cycling you don't have to worry about traffic, poor roads, or inclement weather, you can get the benefits of an exercise bike workout any time of the year.


Beginners exercise bike workout plans


Beginner workout plan


If you're new to cycling and just beginning to build your fitness, start slowly and gradually increase the time and intensity.


Try this 27-minute beginner's workout -

  1. Start pedalling at a low intensity for 5 minutes

  2. Switch to medium intensity for 5 minutes, and then

  • high intensity 1 minute

  • medium intensity 5 minutes

  • high intensity 1 minute

  • medium intensity for 5 minutes

3. Finish with low intensity for 5 minutes


As you increase your fitness try adding 1-minute increments.


Weight loss workout plan


An exercise bike workout burns calories and is a good option to add to a weight loss plan.


Try this workout plan to aid your weight loss or if you want to change your resistance levels -

  1. Start by pedalling at a low intensity for 10 minutes.

  2. Change to medium intensity for 5 minutes.

  3. For the next 30 minutes, alternate between high intensity (3 minutes) and medium intensity (5 minutes).

  4. Cooldown at a low intensity for 10 minutes.

Intermediate workout plan


Once you have a base level of fitness, you can boost your strength and stamina further by increasing the intensity of your workouts.


Try this interval training plan -

  1. Start pedalling at a low intensity for 10 minutes

  2. Switch to medium intensity for 10 minutes, and then

  • high intensity 3 minute

  • medium intensity 2 minutes

  • high intensity 3 minute

  • medium intensity for 1 minute

  • high intensity 3 minute

  • medium intensity 2 minutes

  • high intensity 3 minute

  • medium intensity 1 minute

3. Finish with low intensity for 10 minutes


Increase your intervals by 1 minute at a time as you feel fitter and stronger.


Types of exercise bikes


There are generally three types of exercise bikes: upright, recumbent and dual-action bikes.


Each one has different features and benefits.


Upright bike


An upright bike is similar to a bicycle and is one of the most popular styles of exercise bikes.


The pedals are positioned under your body and can be used standing and sitting.


The upright position can put pressure on your hands and wrists. Also, if you're a fan of longer workouts, the small seat can be uncomfortable.


Recumbent bike


A recumbent exercise bike enables you to sit in a reclined position on a larger seat that's further back from the pedals.


This cycling position puts less stress on your body as it's fully supported, but this can make your workouts less intense.


This option can be good if you have limited mobility, joint issues or injuries. It is also a good option for older adults or those beginning an exercise program.


Dual-action bike


A dual-action bike has moving arms as well as pedals and provides an upper and lower body workout.


Some have special air resistance systems that increase the difficulty the faster you pedal, which means they may be very demanding on those new to exercise.


Other types of exercise bikes


An indoor studio bike is similar to an upright bike.


It has an elevated seat to replicate a road cycle and has a weighted flywheel which can be adjusted to simulate hill riding or wind.


Safety tips


Whilst Indoor cycling is safer than riding on the road, you should still consider:

  • Poor form and repetitive motion can lead to injury and muscle fatigue.

  • You could fall from your bike if you are not balanced correctly.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Always ensure you position your body correctly and use proper form. Ask a certified personal trainer for help if you are unsure of the correct positioning or form.

  • If you develop any pain or muscular aches from cycling, take a break and give your body time to recover.

  • Remember your own personal limits and don't exert yourself beyond them.

  • Consult your doctor if you have balance, blood pressure or heart issues before starting any kind of exercise programme.

To sum up


An exercise bike can be a great way to meet your fitness goals without braving the elements or running the gauntlet on your local roads.


It has many cardiovascular benefits whilst boosting your muscle and joint strength.


Track your progress and improvements over time by using an app or a journal.


Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise programme.


Ben Yates is a personal trainer based at Places Gym Hinckley and Hinckley Leisure Centre in Leicestershire.


To book your free personal training consultation click here



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