Exercise Bike Buying Guide

Working out on an exercise bike is a convenient way to get fit and stay healthy. This exercise bike buying guide outlines the types and features of stationary bikes to help you get started.

Exercise Bikes 101

A great thing about exercise bikes, also known as stationary bikes, is that they fit into almost any lifestyle. You can install them in your basement with ease, in your office at work and even in the living room of a tiny apartment. If you're researching exercise options, you'll quickly find that cycling is low impact and easy on your joints, making it ideal for all age groups and fitness levels. Cycling is also an effective way to build leg strength, improve cardiovascular capacity and burn calories. Exercise bikes are available in three types: upright, recumbent and spinner. The one you select should be based on your physical abilities and your health and fitness goals.

Types of Exercise Bikes


Upright Bikes

An upright exercise bike resembles a traditional outdoor bicycle, with the seat located almost directly over the pedals. You'll also find the handlebars about where you'd expect them on a traditional bike. As a result, you must maintain an upright posture during your exercise routine. For this reason, riding an upright bike strengthens not only your legs but also your abdomen and back.

Recumbent Bikes

On a recumbent exercise bike, you sit reclined in a bucket seat close to the ground. The seat provides good back support and the body position is more comfortable than when riding an upright bike. For this reason, recumbent bikes are a good choice for people with back problems. Also, since the upper body is well supported, the workout is focused on the legs and lower body.

Spinner Bikes

A spinner bike, also known as a spin bike, provides an experience similar to a traditional outdoor bike, but the handlebars are lower, forcing you to lean farther forward. Lifting your body out of the seat to cycle provides a spin-class style workout that exercises hamstrings, calves, glutes, quads and abs. Spinner bikes more closely simulate on-road biking because they’re harder to get going and the pedals keep spinning when you stop pedalling. A spin bike is recommended for athletes in training and those preparing for cycle races.  

Mini Exercise Bikes

If you have health challenges or limited exercise space, you could consider a portable mini exercise bike. About the size of a footrest, these pedaled devices are great for people living in small apartments. You simply sit in a chair with the mini exercise bike in front of you and begin pedaling. The mini exercise bike is well suited for people with mobility issues because it's easy to use in the home and provides a workout that warms up muscles, keeps joints flexible and encourages healthy blood circulation.

Exercise Bike Buying Tips:

• Determine in advance where you'll use the bike and ensure the space is large enough to accommodate the bike you're interested in buying
• Upright bikes occupy a smaller footprint than recumbent bikes
• Recumbent bikes are often recommended for seniors, therapy and rehab purposes
• Purchase a gel or foam seat pad for additional comfort while exercising
• Make sure you know how to adjust the bike’s height, resistance and electronic programs before making a purchase

Exercise Bike Features

Resistance +

Exercise bikes are equipped with adjustable resistance devices allowing the user to increase and decrease pedal resistance. This means you can easily vary your personal workout regime, and the different members of your family can all adapt the bike to their individual workout needs. The higher the resistance level, the harder the workout. There are a number of resistance technologies, including air resistance and the quieter, smoother magnetic resistance.

Electronic Display +

Choose a bike with a performance display screen if it’s important for you to monitor your fitness workout. The displays show a range of fitness and workout parameters, including heart rate, cycling speed, revolutions per minute, resistance level and calories burned.

Programming +

If you enjoy challenging yourself or simply want to break the monotony of cycling indoors, choose an exercise bike that can be programmed to simulate different types of workouts, including variable-speed routines and hill climbs. Programming also allows you to adjust your routine based on your fitness level and design workouts based on your age, weight and gender.

Heart-Rate Monitor +

A heart-rate monitor allows you to track your heart rate while you're working out. Some exercise bikes are sold with heart-rate monitors. Options include models that strap to your chest and pulse-rate monitoring devices built into the bike handlebars. Alternately, you can purchase a stand-alone heart-rate monitor.

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Using Your Exercise Bike

If you're new to using an exercise bike, your first order of business should be to establish fitness goals. It's common to overdo workouts when you're getting started, so try to begin slowly and work your way up to longer routines and higher pedal resistance. Also, be sure to follow your doctor's guidance if you're using your exercise bike as part of a therapy program. Cycling is great for both increasing stamina and losing weight. For example, pedaling at a moderate rate for 30 minutes can burn about 260 calories. Ensure the bike seat, handlebars and pedals are adjusted properly to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your joints. Wear shoes with laces, keep your shoulders relaxed and, if riding an upright bike, use your abdominal muscles to support your back. 

Exercise Bike Maintenance Tips:

• Use a soft cloth and mild cleaning solution to clean dust, dirt and excessive moisture from the frame, seat, pedals, handlebars and grips
• Use a brush to remove debris from the chain and flywheel
• Check for looseness in the pedals, seat and handlebars and tighten as needed
• Check that brake pads are not worn or dry and lubricate or replace if necessary
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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