Stationary bikes are a great way for people with health problems to ease into an aerobic fitness routine. Whether it be a bad back or a heart condition, people with limited capacities for strenuous physical exertion can benefit from this form of cardio workout.
The reason why the stationary bike is so useful is due to the low-impact nature of the activity. Riding exercises tend to place less strain on the spinal column, and most machines have heart rate monitors so you can track your heart rate whilst working out on them. Using a stationary bike is also less jarring to the body when compared to running or jogging.
Exercising on a stationary bike also strengthens key muscles groups in the legs to help keep them toned and healthy. This is because of the push and pull motions that your legs engage in while peddling. While pushing the peddle down the quadriceps are engaged and working, and on the pull upwards of the peddle the hamstrings are getting a workout. When riding on a stationary bike be sure that your legs are able to extend to a comfortable length without being hyper-extended. This allows for the best range of motion while riding.
Pro Tip: To maximize the workout to these large thigh muscles, keep both the quadriceps and hamstrings engaged and tight on both the push and the pull. You’ll definitely feel the burn after a while of the muscles being worked more than they are used to. Just remember, start off in short intervals and work your way up to longer times of keeping these muscles engaged. We don’t want you getting hurt!
Developing control of the abdominal and back muscles is another great way to incorporate large muscle groups into the cardio session. On a regular stationary bike you can lean forward while keeping your core tight and engaged to work both the abdominal and low back muscles. Just be sure to keep your spine as straight as possible while leaning forward to reduce the chance of injury to your back. This is more difficult to do on a recumbent bike, but you can still use this machine while keeping your core engaged to get some benefit from the exercise.
In terms of heart health, a stationary bike is a great method of cardio exercising for working the heart and increasing circulation. These bikes have intensity settings that make them appropriate for people at any level on the physical fitness spectrum, and the built-in heart monitors most machines have these days make tracking your heart rate a breeze. These features allow the machine to the completely customizable to a person with a wide range of health or physical needs. As always, just be sure to talk to your physician before beginning any cardiovascular activity to ensure that it is safe for you and your needs.
Other Low Impact Exercises:
- Exercise Walking
- Tai Chi
- Water Therapy
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