Exercise bikes are one of the most popular fitness machines around the world.
They’re simple to use, have great impacts on your body, and are easy to own in your own home!
While you’ve probably wondered if they work, have you ever wondered how do exercise bikes work?
Well, wonder no further!
We’ve done the research, and put together a full guide on learning how do exercise bikes work!
How Do Exercise Bikes Work
Before digging into the question of how do exercise bikes work, we have to understand what an exercise bike is.
These bikes are also known as stationary bikes and mimic the feel of outdoor cycling. There are two more common different types of exercise bikes: the upright bike and the recumbent bike.
Upright Exercise Bikes
The upright exercise bike is more similar to typical cycling.
These are what you’ll see in spin classes and they often fill up cardio sections in gyms. They’re designed to keep your body in an upright position.
Pedals are positioned directly under your body, so posture and form are important. Despite being in a more upright position, you may naturally hunch over a bit to hold on to handlebars.
Recumbent Exercise Bikes
The difference between recumbent bikes and the upright bike is the way that you’re seated.
These use bucket seats, which are significantly larger than the seat on the upright bikes. They also have a backrest to lean against, which forces you into a reclined body position.
Due to the way that you’re seated, your pedals are positioned in front of your body and your legs will stretch further.
How they work
What separates the exercise bike from the outdoor bike is the lack of wheels on the exercise bike. You still pedal, but pedaling doesn’t turn the wheels. Instead, you use a more complex system.
The basic build of an exercise bike centers around the flywheel. This is the piece that helps your body to move. It is build using a bottom bracket and a crankshaft. With these, coupled with a belt or chain, the flywheel turns.
Exercise bikes tend to allow you to use resistance, making it harder to use by simulating climbing. This is done by a system of fans, magnets, and friction mechanisms. Some models will also allow you to pedal backward, working different muscles than you would be pedaling forward.
Many models of exercise bikes also feature handlebars. These are connected to the pedals, and move along with your legs. This helps exercise your upper body at the same time as your lower body.
What are the benefits of using an exercise bike?
Exercise bikes are a popular fitness choice for a variety of reasons. They get your heart pumping, legs moving, and body sweating! This can help with weight loss while also building muscles.
The amount of weight that you can lose by using an exercise bike will depend on the intensity. Some like to treat the exercise bike like a leisurely bike ride, using minimal resistance and not picking up speed. This has its benefits, as you’re still working out your body while enjoying yourself.
If you want to see real weight loss results and burn body fat at the same time, you’ll want to do a higher intensity workout on your exercise bike. Going fast and using a higher resistance is the best way to do this.
This form of exercise is a cardiovascular workout. Specifically, this means that it can help strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles. Other health benefits include:
- You’ll have more energy
- Stress levels are lowered
- You can lower your blood sugar
- You’ll get better sleep
- Brain functioning and memory can improve
One of the most desired benefits of the exercise bike is that it allows you to exercise in a low-impact way. You put minimal pressure on your joints and bones while using an exercise bike. This is ideal for people who have an injury or are recovering for one, or suffer from any joint issues.
How to use the exercise bike
Cycling on an exercise bike is not as simple as just hopping on and pedaling away. It’s important to get familiar with your bike, how it works, and how your body fits into it before starting. Here are some important considerations and things to look at before using your bike.
- Is the seat adjusted to your comfort? The seat can often be lowered or set higher to work with your height. If you’re using an uncomfortable seat, you can also get a seat pad.
- Do you know how the display panel works? There’s not much worse in the world of exercise bikes than getting on one and not knowing how to read the display panel. You’ll want to figure out where it says key information like resistance levels, calories burned, distance traveled, and so on so that you can understand your workout.
- Are the pedal straps snug? The pedals will typically have straps to keep your feet in place. Ensure that yours are strapped so that your feet are snug enough that they won’t slide, but not so tight that they hurt.
- Is your posture right? Some bikes are designed to put you into a slight hunch position, as you would when cycling outdoors. However, you should be mindful of whether your bike needs this position. Unnecessary hunching can cause neck and back pains.
Think the exercise bike is for you? Check out some more handy guides to getting to know the exercise bike.
Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of how do exercise bikes work.
They’re great fitness machines for anyone, from the fitness newcomer to the seasoned cycler.
Understanding how the machines you use work is important and ensures that you’re using the machine to the best of its ability. So, pedal on!