Common Questions On Exercise BikesBeth Wright
As the nation’s heart was broken in Doha, we look ahead to cupboards twinkling with sparkling chocolate wrappers and Christmas puddings – calories and temptation abound. ‘Tis the season to expand the waistband but here at Roger Black Fitness, we like to encourage you to live in balance, especially as fitness is for life and not just for Christmas.
The Most Common Questions About Exercise Bikes
Our best-selling exercise machine is the Roger Black Folding Exercise Bike so we thought we would collate three of our most frequently asked (and answered) questions about both our folding and stationary bikes. So here goes a quick snapshot:
Q. Which is better, a folding bike or a stationary bike?
A. It really depends on three things: 1. Budget 2. Personal circumstances eg health challenges, frequency of use and 3.Space at home.
Q.I am quite petite, will the folding bike be suitable for me?
A. The distance between the seat and the pedals is 31 inches (76.2cm) so do take this into account when considering your purchase.
Q.I find the seat really comfortable but my husband is less comfortable. How can we adjust the seat?
A. Replacement saddles are not available for either of our bikes so the best first option would be to buy a gel seat cover online or in-store, to use on top of the bike seat. If you buy one for the folding bike, you will need a unisex gel seat as the saddle is slightly wider than its stationary bike counterpart.
In terms of more generic advice prior to buying your bike, we have attempted to cover some key points to consider prior to purchasing:
What Are Exercise Bikes Good For?
Exercise bikes are a brilliant choice of machine for all, especially if you are struggling with your joints or have been advised by a medical professional to do more regular low-impact exercise. A bike allows you to catch-up with your favourite Netflix series, while pedalling away, supporting cardio health and building strength in your legs and core. A bike allows you to carry on with your working day as well; if you aren’t committed to knowing what your pulse is or need a monitor reading, you can sit and answer emails or make calls as you pedal, although always ensure that you are steady on your machine as your type or chat.
What Should I Look For in an Exercise Bike?
This question is very personal to you and your own checklist, as detailed above. If you are a hardy fitness bunny and used to more advanced spinning classes or standing up in your seat, your budget is going to need to be higher to accommodate a more intensive workout and heavier/higher spec machine.
If space at home is your number one issue or challenge, a folding bike will be your best option. Although please take into account that the position of the machine is less suitable for adjustment as the centre of gravity is fixed.
If you are keen to source a machine with a comfortable seat, don’t forget that you can always buy a gel seat to use on top of your saddle, especially if multiple families or household members are using the machine and have different preferences.
If you like to get geeky about your purchases, you can compare machines, like-for-like, in terms of the ‘fly wheel’ power and resistance levels available.
When shopping around for your fitness bike, take into account that replacement parts for folding machines are rarely available, other than monitors and pedals. The flywheel is usually fully integrated and seats are standardised and cannot be interchanged.
Are Exercise Bikes Good for Weight Loss?
When it comes to results and assessing how to integrate exercise into a weight management plan, as with any exercise, you also need to consider what you are eating and when and how mobile you are overall during your day.
Exercising for 20-30 minutes a day on your bike will surely deliver health and well-being benefits but needs to be balanced with other considerations and won’t necessarily help you to lose weight if your diet overly includes lots of processed foods, red meats and too much alcohol. The general rule of thumb in its most simple version is to increase your output and decrease your (food and drink) input. Sleep and hydration also play vital roles in weight management.
What Muscles Do Exercise Bikes Work?
When you use an exercise bike, it is mainly the lower half of your body that is engaged although, with spinning bikes where you are able to stand, you can complete a fuller-body workout.
Key muscle groups used, in the main, are quads, core and calves. If you want to vary your workout, you can also incorporate some light hand-weight exercises or stretches with your upper half, if you are confident and sure you aren’t going to wobble! This can also include wrist or ankle cuffs if you want to challenge yourself further. Always stretch before and after your workout.
In summary, a bike at home is a great all-rounder for the family to use. It is easy to set up and doesn’t require too much technique or a high level of coordination. It’s the perfect Christmas present if you want to give the gift of health this year.
As a checklist, here are some of the most common issues with exercise bikes:
- Saddle height – the seat should be at hip height
- Leg extension – for some rehab purposes, leg extension should be in full but generally speaking, the knee should usually be slightly bent when seated. Always check with a medical professional
- Knee position – many people turn their knees out when pedalling which can lead to issues with posture and comfort. Your knees should face front unless your doctor has advised otherwise. Knees pointing outwards can also mean that the bike is too small for you (or that you are on the wrong seat setting)
- Posture – endeavour to engage your core when on your bike. If you have a bad back, you may be better off with a recumbent machine so that you have support for your back
- No pulse reading – ensure that you are holding on to both sensors as you pedal
- Squeaking or noise – if a machine is under Warranty, always ensure that you check with the manufacturer if there is an issue. Bikes, especially folding machines, should not be taken apart by customers. From time to time, especially as the machine ages, pedals and removable parts can be wiped down with a little WD40 or similar
- Storage – always store your machine away from damp or excessive heat
- Flooring – make sure that you use your machine on a flat surface and take care when getting on or off your bike. Some users like to use a rubber mat, especially on top of the carpet but this is at the user’s discretion
- Too little resistance – always vary your workout and get used to adjusting the resistance on your machine. Your muscles need to be challenged both in terms of speed (with light resistance) and intensity (heavier resistance). This is called interval training in the most basic form.