You don’t need to get a gym membership to get into shape. In fact, one of the number one reasons that people say they can’t work out is because they just can’t find the time in their busy schedules to get to the gym. Well, nobody can complain that they can’t get to the gym if the gym is right in your home. Home exercise equipment allows you to get great exercise right in the comfort of your own humble abode.
One of the best pieces of equipment you can get is an exercise bike, which can provide both aerobic and strength training workouts. There are several different styles to choose from, depending on your workout preferences. Also, luckily, exercise bikes are one of the most affordable pieces of workout equipment, so it is a great piece of equipment to start off your home gym.
There are two basic styles of exercise bikes:
upright and recumbent. Both styles can provide you with a powerful workout, but there are pros and cons to both styles. The upright is the more traditional style it has a regular backless bicycle seat. The number one factor to consider is your own personal taste try out several bikes before you make a definitive decision. The most common complaint with the upright seat style is that you experience some pain in your rear end when you start out your workout regime.
Often referred to as saddle sore, these pains are normal during the initial stages of upright riding, and they will subside over time. Other complaints include sore or numb wrists and hands, which are actually the result of improper use. If you are sitting with your back straight and your arms extended but not locked, rather than leaning forward and supporting your weight against the handlebars, you should not have numbness or pain in your hands or wrists.
What’s great about upright home bikes is that you will be able to stand or sit for your cycling workout. Pedaling standing up replicates pedaling uphill. You are able to take on more tension than you can in a seated position, and it is terrific to be able to diversify your workout by alternating sitting and standing intervals.
Recumbent styles put you lower to the ground, and most recumbent seats are more like tractor seats, providing some back support and a much wider sitting area than a standard upright seat. Recumbent bikes are often thought to be less intense than uprights, but in reality, you can burn just as many calories on both styles.
You cannot stand up to pedal on a recumbent style stationary bike because the pedals are much further forward than they are on an upright style. With an upright, your body positioning is basically legs under the seat, but with a recumbent, your position is basically legs extended in front of feet.
Recumbent styles are far less likely to cause saddle sore because you are not on a narrow seat, so beginners typically can work harder when they are first starting out than they would be able to on an upright. Recumbent styles are recommended for seniors or anyone who has back problems because they provide more support and they are easier to get on and off of than an upright since the seat is lower to the ground than an upright.
An upright seat should come up to your hip, whereas a recumbent will be about midway between your hip and your knee.
Choosing between an upright and a recumbent is not the only decision that you have to make when you are looking to purchase a home exercise bike. There are also many additional features that you can look for, and many brands and models to choose from. Keep in mind that you do not need to spring for the extras if your exercise budget is tight a basic model will deliver great results too.
Schwinn has some great low-cost models, such as their 101, 103, and 105 upright models, all of which can be found for under $300. Reebok also has an excellent line of upright bikes, and in fact, many gyms have Reebok cycling classes. You can get an upright home Reebok with an array of special features for under $500.
Reebok RT 445 is an upright bike that has a digital front panel from which you can choose from eight preprogrammed workouts, plus it has a built-in workout fan, a built-in heart rate monitor, and a fully adjustable seat. If you are looking for a very high-end home upright bike, you should check out Lifecycle’s extensive line of home exercise bikes. Their 9500HRN is a top-rated exercise bike that is about $2000, but it is high-quality enough even for health clubs or professional athletic training.
Also, this bike has enclosed wheels, which is great for anyone who has small children or pets that could stick their little fingers or paws in the wheel. Enclosed wheels also cut down on the noise that your bike produces.
Schwinn also has a wide selection of recumbent exercise bikes, such as their recumbent 203 model which sells for less than $400 and has an LED screen, 12 preprogrammed workouts, a built-in heart rate monitor, enclosed wheels, and extra-wide pedals.
Another great recumbent bike maker is Nordic Track. Their SL 710 recumbent model is about $500 and features 8 preprogrammed workouts, enclosed wheels, and a high-backed seat for impeccable support. This is the ideal bike for senior riders. One of the more high-end recumbent bikes is the New Balance 7.5, selling for approximately $1000.
This powerful bike packs 11 preprogrammed workouts and 16 resistance levels, plus it has enclosed wheels, and a chest strap heart rate monitor (which they claim is more effective than regular handheld heart rate monitors). Try out as many bikes as you can so that you can find your perfect match.