Getting fit is important for a healthy heart and a strong musculoskeletal frame.
You can get fit using an exercise bike by combining aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise all while on an exercise bike.
In order to have a complete workout, you need both cardio (aerobic) exercise and strength training (anaerobic) exercise.
Aerobic exercise is good for your heart muscle and anaerobic exercise is good for all of your other muscles. You can use an exercise bike to perform both aerobic and anaerobic activities. The bike itself is great cardio and lower-body strength training. By adding upper body training to your bike routine you can get a fairly complete workout.
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What Is an Exercise Bike?
An exercise bike is a stationary bike that you can use to pedal at varying speeds for fitness. Since the bike does not actually go anywhere, you can easily put one in almost any room of your home. They are also found in most fitness facilities.
Most exercise bikes come with electronic programming so that you can set different exercise routines. For example, you can change your terrain or vary your intensity level, or even set a timer for a set length of time.
Some exercise bikes also come with heart rate monitors. By using the built-in hand sensors, the machine can monitor your pulse rate so that you can safely monitor your intensity.
Additional features may include a fan, a magazine rack, a water bottle holder, and even a port for your iPod player. You can choose between an upright bike and a recumbent bike depending on your personal preference.
If you do not have room for an exercise bike, you can buy an exercise peddler, which are the pedals without the bike frame. With a peddler, you can sit on a regular chair and exercise while you are working at your desk or watching a movie in the living room. It does not have any of the features, however, of a regular exercise bike.
Regular exercise bikes usually give you a workout performance summary after your exercise routine is complete. You can see how many miles you traveled, your average RPMs, and the calories you burned.
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How Do You Use an Exercise Bike for Cardio Fitness?
For cardio workout plans and fitness, an exercise bike is ideal because it gets your heart pumping and you can easily vary your speed and difficulty level to accommodate your target heart rate. Interval training is a great way to get fit using an exercise bike.
Typically with interval training, you will have a pre-planned routine or let the machine program an interval training session for you. After a set amount of time, the exercise bike will automatically kick into a harder gear and then drop to a lighter intensity after another set amount of time.
This is an ideal way to target your heart rate, recover, and target your heart rate again. When exercising this way, your heart muscle gets a great workout and you get your blood flowing.
Using an exercise bike may not be for everyone. Whether you plan on doing a leisurely pedal or an intense workout, you should get your doctor’s permission before beginning an exercise routine.
How Do You Use an Exercise Bike for Anaerobic Fitness?
Using an exercise bike gets your heart working and it also gets your legs moving. It can tone your calves, quadriceps, and buttocks. While this is great for strength training, you can increase your anaerobic exercise even more by adding an upper body workout to your bike routine.
Depending on the style of bike, you may be able to prop some lightweight dumbbells on either side of you. If not, set up a table nearby that you can easily reach during your workout. Resistance bands can usually be hung on the back of the seat.
In-between your target heart rate intervals, alternate exercises for your arms, chest, and back that utilize the dumbbells and/or resistance band. The best time to do these exercises is when you are pedaling slower and breathing easier.
For example, when you first start on the exercise bike you should warm up slowly with a leisurely pedal and some upper body stretches. After your warm-up, increase your intensity if you are on manual mode, but do not make this interval too challenging. Instead, pick up your dumbbells and perform a complete set of dumbbell curls.
Return the dumbbells and increase your intensity level to try and accomplish your target heart rate. After your burst of pedaling, slow down your pedaling once again and grab the dumbbells again, this time exercising your triceps. Continue alternating in this fashion until your routine is complete.
You can do a complete fitness routine, alternating an upper body workout with target heart rate training all while exercising your lower body.
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