If you are weighing exercise bike effectiveness versus what you get on a treadmill or other cardio machine, it is a bit like comparing apples to oranges.
Bikes have great advantages over other equipment in terms of lower cost and mobility, and while they don’t offer the total body conditioning of other machines, they still give you a number of great health benefits.
A stationary bike does not give the rider a “weight-bearing” exercise (since you are sitting down during the workout), and that is the main knock on this machine when compared to a treadmill or elliptical, which requires the user to stand while exercising. The other significant criticism of the stationary bike is that it works mainly the leg muscles and does nothing for the upper body.
However, for people who cannot perform weight-bearing exercises due to excess weight, injury, or a medical condition, the bike is the better way to go.
A recumbent bike is ideal for use for rehabilitating an injury, for seniors with balance problems, and for overweight people who need to take stress off the knees and hips. It is also considered the safest to use among cardio fitness equipment.
Since most bikes offer the ability to dial up more resistance thus making the workout more difficult, you can argue that the effectiveness of the exercise bike is comparable to other types of low impact cardio workouts.
Depending on how much effort you put into your workout, you can burn up to 500 calories in an hour on an exercise bike. That value for calorie burn is comparable to running a couple of miles on a treadmill.
Many people swear by their bikes simply because they are comfortable with them and they use them regularly. Stationary bikes are quiet, easy to move from room to room, and very affordable when compared to treadmills and ellipticals.
Quality exercise bikes start at around $399 whereas treadmills built for overweight people start at $1200. There will also be less maintenance issues with a bike, as well as lower costs for replacement parts.
There is no one piece of exercise equipment that is best for everyone since personal preference plays such a major role in the decision.
If you love cycling for fun and it is your preferred choice of exercise, then a stationary bike is the way to go since it is the one you will use.
For fat burning, general cardio, and giving the heart a good workout, the effectiveness of an exercise bike can be equal to any other type of cardio equipment.
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