Indoor cycling is one of the most popular fitness trends. Sales of indoor exercise bikes in the US nearly tripled in 2020, and the boom is expected to continue.
It’s easy to understand their popularity. In addition to being able to socially distance, you can get a great cardio workout without worrying about harsh weather and dangerous drivers.
With a wide range of price tags and features, the difficult part may be deciding what style is appropriate for you. Consider these tips to help you shop for your indoor bike, as well as tips for how to use it safely and effectively.
Tips for Buying Your Indoor Exercise Bike
You can spend less than $200 or more than $2,000 on an indoor bike. Your first decision will probably be choosing between a traditional stationary bike or a spin bike.
The main difference is that spin bikes have a heavier flywheel, so you need to exert more effort. They’re also designed more like racing bikes and feel more like cycling outdoors.
Keep these tips in mind, too:
1. Consider your goals. Your workout plans will determine the kind of bike you need. Maybe you just want to warm up before other exercises, or maybe you’re interested in training more intensely.
2. Check the adjustments. You’ll be able to adjust the seat, handlebars, and resistance on most bikes. Some will give you a fixed number of settings, while others allow for more precision.
3. Understand resistance. Lower-priced bikes will usually have strap-based or friction resistance. Higher-end models use electromagnetics, which are more durable, and offer a smoother ride.
4. Collect data. Do you want to track your progress and program your workouts? How about taking online classes and streaming entertainment? Browse for bikes with consoles and connectivity, or you may be able to use your own tablet and speakers.
5. Lean back. Recumbent bikes are one more option to consider. They’re especially helpful if you have joint issues or experience pain in your lower back.
6. Read the warranty. Compare warranties to see what replacements and repairs will cost you. Ask questions to be sure you understand the details. Some brands will guarantee the frame for three years or more.
Tips for Using Your Indoor Exercise Bike
Exercise bikes are relatively safe. However, you still need to know how to ride them properly to avoid injuries.
Consider these practices:
1. Mind your posture. Set up your bike so that the seat is even with your hip bones. Keep your back straight. Relax your shoulders and lengthen your spine. Hold your head up and keep your feet flat.
2. Pace yourself. Increase your time and resistance level gradually, especially if you’ve been sedentary. Take days off to rest.
3. Protect your knees. Indoor bikes are a low impact activity, but you can still sustain overuse injuries. Warm up thoroughly and listen to your body. You may need to lower the resistance or stick to upright and recumbent bikes.
4. Engage your core. Gently firming your abdominal muscles also helps to protect your knees and the rest of your body. Imagine lifting your navel and pulling it toward your spine. Remember to use slight pressure, rather than sucking in your stomach.
5. Wear gloves. Do your wrists and hands hurt after you ride? Try to press more lightly on the handlebars. You may also want to buy padded gloves.
6. Balance your training. Supplement your cycling with other exercises that increase strength and flexibility. You may want to rotate among other cardio activities too for the sake of variety.
You have many more options when it comes to choosing an indoor exercise bike today. Being informed will help you to get more value from your investment and have more fun cycling at home.