Exercise Bike Buying Guide

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Exercise Bikes have been a firm home fitness favourite for many years. They are inexpensive when compared to other forms of home fitness equipment such as treadmills and cross trainers due to their engineering. They are also well suited to low entry beginners as most people can operate a bike, and with the low weight-bearing nature of the exercise it makes it particularly easy on body parts that often take much of the weight and strain of exercise such as the hips, knees and ankles.

A good example of an exercise bike workout is the Aerobic Exercise Bike Workout:

To start with warm up for 10 minutes, gradually increasing your heart rate. To increase your fitness level and burn fat at the same time, exercise for 20 to 30 minutes at around 65 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is a good target to aim for, because exercising for 30 minutes at 65 percent of your maximum heart rate burns approximately 300 calories. Then warm down for 5 to 10 minutes.
If you are unable to achieve your 65 percent heart rate, ride at a lower percentage, for longer. For example, working out at 50 percent of your maximum heart rate will mean that you need to train for 45 minutes.

When purchasing an exercise bike there are several things that should be taken into account.
Warranty - As with any other piece of home fitness equipment be sure to check the warranty on a exercise bike before making your purchase. Most exercise bikes come with at least a one year parts and labour. Mid-range and higher-end models can be bought with two or even three years parts and labour cover. You may also find certain exercise bikes with lifetime warranties on the frame, and some models will even include a lifetime warranty on magnetic breaking systems.

Space – Exercise bikes are relatively small in comparison to other types of fitness equipment such as treadmills and rowing machines. Although exercise bikes are compact it is recommend that before purchasing your exercise bike you measure the space in which you intend to place the exercise bike. Most modern exercise bikes will need to be plugged into the mains and so require a power socket nearby, though you can now purchase self-generating exercise cycles, usually found in gyms and health clubs, which are designed for home fitness.

User/Users - It is important to consider who will be using the exercise bike to ensure the bike fits their requirements. Perhaps the user is recovering from a heart problem and would benefit from a heart-rate controlled programme.

Exercise Bikes are the ideal for those who are looking to improve their stamina and cardiovascular fitness and also tone up and increase the strength in their legs.

Types of Exercise Bike – Exercise bikes come in three variations.

Recumbent Exercise Bikes - Recumbent exercise bikes adopt a more horizontal cycling position then upright exercise cycles and indoor training exercise bikes. They are easier to mount and dismount and have supportive seat with a back support, which is more comfortable if you are pedalling and training for long periods of time or recovering from knee/back injuries. Recumbent exercise cycles are also better suited for people with high blood pressure.

Upright Exercise Bikes>- Upright exercise bikes keep you in a similar cycling position as normal push bike. You adopt a raised position and tend to sit slightly forward. A large advantage of an upright exercise bike is they are more compact than recumbent models.

Indoor Training Bikes - Training bikes, also referred to as Indoor Cycles or Class Cycles, are the type of machines used in gyms and health clubs spinning classes. Training bikes are ideal for those who are looking to use an exercise bike for vigorous work-outs and tend to have saddles similar to road-racing cycle, which the average person may find uncomfortable.

Resistance – On most modern upright exercise bikes the resistance is usually ECB magnetic (Eddie Current Braking) or electromagnetic. Both systems provide very quiet and smooth resistance. On models which are ECB, a powerful magnet is moved closer to a large flywheel to increase the resistance. On a cycle using electromagnetic resistance a small flywheel spins between two coils and resistance increases as more current is applied. The latter system can be controlled more accurately and can usually deliver far greater resistance levels. Because of the accuracy you will find that most cycles with an ergometer rating have electromagnetic braking systems.

Computer and Programmes – Most exercise bikes have some form of electronic feedback console which displays your workout data such as speed, time, distance, calories burned and heart rate.
There are many affordable models which include motivational and simulating programmes, allowing you to create your own workout programmes or control aspects of your workout such as heart rate. Exercise bikes which feature heart rate training programmes automatically adjust the resistance of your machine to keep you in your ideal heart rate zone. This provides you with a safer form of exercise. Heart rate training programmes are ideal for those who want to lose weight and improve physical performance, as well as keep the level of effort in a safe zone for those under medical supervision.
If you are the type of person which becomes easily bored whilst exercising we recommend that you look for an exercise bike which features a wide range of programmes as they may help to keep you motivated and therefore reach your fitness or weight loss targets.

Another great way to stay motivated is to purchase an exercise bike which can be hooked up to a video, I pod, CD player or the internet for interactive programmes.

PLEASE NOTE: Before starting a new fitness programme we recommend that you consult your GP or medical adviser
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