A stationary bike is a piece of exercise equipment that people can use for indoor cycling. This can be an accessible and low impact type of aerobic activity that can benefit a person’s health and fitness. Indoor cycling is a relatively easy exercise to start, and people can adapt workouts to suit their fitness requirements.

Stationary bikes are a popular device among health enthusiasts. Many people may have purchased one due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evidence notes that digital technologies have improved the convenience of indoor cycling and spinning, helping increase the popularity of these sports.

As a physical activity that people can perform in their homes, indoor cycling is a fun and accessible exercise that can provide many health and fitness benefits. It may also be a suitable alternative to other types of exercise.

In this article, we will discuss the possible health benefits of stationary bikes, as well as the different types of such bikes. We will also provide examples of workout plans.

A person using a stationary bike.Share on Pinterest
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Performing regular exercise such as cycling is an important activity that a person can use to improve their well-being.

Some guidelines recommend that people attempt to perform 150–300 minutes of moderate aerobic activities or 75–150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activities per week.

A 2019 systematic review highlights that indoor cycling can be an effective method for improving health and fitness. Other research indicates that regular indoor cycling can benefit health, particularly for people with obesity.

This is consistent with other studies noting that indoor cycling may be more beneficial for body composition and physical fitness than regular cycling.

Other research adds that indoor cycling is a time-efficient form of exercise. People can also vary the structure and alternate intensity to make it a more enjoyable activity.

Additional benefits that stationary bikes may offer include:

No single workout plan suits everyone. The right stationary bike workout depends on a person’s age, fitness level, and overall health.

Anyone considering a new workout routine may want to first consult with a healthcare professional. People can modify the following workout suggestions according to their unique needs and preferences.

Beginner workouts

For someone new to cycling, the first step is to set up the bike properly. It is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s setup instructions. These may include adjusting the handlebar or the seat height.

After adjusting the bike, a person may want to consider a beginner-friendly workout routine, such as the following one:

  1. Warm up at a low resistance level for about 5 minutes.
  2. Increase the resistance to a level that is slightly challenging but that still allows for conversation. Cycle at a brisk pace for 1 minute. Return to a comfortable pace for 3 minutes. Repeat this sequence 3–5 times.
  3. Return to a low resistance level for a 5–10-minute cooldown.

People just beginning to use a stationary bike should remember that there is no need to rush. A 15–20-minute workout is an accomplishment.

Improving fitness takes time and consistent effort. Starting small and staying driven is a winning strategy.

Weight loss

Stationary bikes are a great fat-burning tool. An interval workout focused on sprinting can help burn calories.

Below is an example of a 20-minute routine:

  1. Begin with a 5-minute warmup at a brisk pace.
  2. Increase the resistance to a level where sprinting is comfortable. Sprint at a hard pace for 30 seconds, at a medium pace for 30 seconds, and at an easy pace for 60 seconds. Repeat this interval cycle 3 times.
  3. With the same resistance, sprint as fast as possible for 40 seconds, then at an easy pace for 20 seconds. Repeat this 4 times.
  4. Finish up with a 5-minute cooldown at a lowered resistance.

Sprinting is an excellent way to burn calories fast. Moreover, a person may choose to fit this quick fat-burning routine into a lunch break for a midday energy boost.

HIIT workouts

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has grown in popularity over the past several years. HIIT workouts center on high bursts of energy over a short period of time.

Research suggests that HIIT workouts can improve blood pressure and metabolism.

A HIIT stationary bike workout may involve the following:

  1. Warm up for 5 minutes at a low resistance level and medium pace.
  2. Pedal at a light resistance level but high intensity for 30 seconds. Follow this with 30 seconds of easy pedaling. Repeat this pattern 5 times.
  3. Cycle at a medium intensity for 5 minutes.
  4. Pedal at a high resistance level and low cadence for 30 seconds. Follow this with 30 seconds of easy pedaling. Repeat this pattern 5 times.
  5. Finish up with a 5-minute cooldown.

With HIIT workouts, it is crucial to keep the heart rate up for short bursts of high intensity.

People can adapt this type of workout to suit their fitness levels. Regardless of fitness level and goals, a good workout should be enjoyable and sustainable.

It is equally important to pay attention to the body’s signals and take a break if necessary.

The type of stationary bike that most people are likely familiar with is the upright bike. The design of this bike is similar to a regular bicycle, with pedals positioned under the body. Many people may recognize this type of bike at the gym.

Another type of bike popular at the gym is an indoor, or spinning, bike. This is the type individuals commonly use for spin classes. They include many adjustable features that allow people to quickly alter the bike to follow the spin routine.

A recumbent bike is another type. It has a larger seat, allowing the rider to cycle in a reclining position. Many people enjoy the recumbent bike, because it puts less strain on the lower back. This bike is a great option for people with back problems and for those who are new to cycling.

A dual-action bike is one that features moving handlebars. It targets both the legs and the upper body.

A fan, or air cycle, bike features a fan near the pedals. This fan adds extra resistance during pedaling, which can be great for a HIIT workout. These bikes may also come with moving arms for an added workout challenge.

People may avoid outdoor cycling due to safety concerns, such as crash risk, adverse weather conditions, and a lack of safety.

Although stationary bikes offer fewer risks, they still come with certain safety considerations.

For example, positioning the seat and handlebars incorrectly could lead to strains. A narrow bike seat can also cause discomfort for new users.

Anyone beginning a new exercise routine should start slow and pay attention to how their body feels. Overtraining or moving too quickly into a new routine can lead to stress injuries.

People who live with children should make sure that any stationary bikes are safely out of reach. While most newer bikes come with built-in safety features, only individuals old enough to follow safety guidelines should operate them.

A stationary bike is a popular and convenient option for exercise. Indoor cycling can provide many health benefits, such as improving body composition, lowering blood pressure, and increasing overall fitness.

People can alter indoor cycling workouts for individual health and fitness goals. A beginner cyclist may benefit from a relaxed spin session, whereas an experienced athlete may prefer a HIIT workout to further improve their cardiovascular fitness.

Regardless of individual fitness goals, many people can use a stationary bike workout to help them enhance their health and overall well-being.