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Have fun cycling in the great indoors

September 2016

 

As the weather cools and the nights draw in, going outside for exercise and activities seems less and less appealing.

This is when an indoor gym and pool would be wonderful. But sadly many of us can’t achieve that, but it is within the grasp of most of us to invest in an indoor exercise bike. 

Today exercise bikes have become really affordable and also the manufacturers have taken on the fact that they are used in the home as well as in professional gyms and there is a range of models to suit every house and all requirements.

Exercise bikes are also suitable for everyone and give a great cardiovascular workout, whether you are someone just beginning to get fit, if you are already super fit and want to keep your levels up, or whether you have certain mobility restrictions that restrict your exercise plans. Because cycling is not a weight bearing exercise (as long as you are sitting on the saddle!) it is also a great way to exercise for people who want to avoid putting too much stress on certain areas of the body such as knees.

Choosing a bike can be a bit off putting, today there are so many types around and the best way is to visit a shop and talk to someone who understands the differencies.

The upright bike is the most popular model, and something most of us are familiar with from cycling when we were kids.  These machines work in the same way as a normal upright bike does , so you ride sitting up and pedal normally, holding onto the handlebars in front. These are great machines for general exercise.

The other type of bike you might see is what is often known as a recumbent bike.  These are when you lay back a little and pedal with your feet well out in front of you. They look uncomfortable but in fact they are easy to sit in and can be more comfortable for some people. However they do require more effort from your legs to do the pedalling.

Whatever bike you choose, it is important that you give attention to your posture while you are cycling. Most bikes offer seat adjustment so that the height is right for the pedals…the knee should be slightly bent when you are sitting and the pedal is at its lowest point. You can usually adjust the handlebars as well so that you are not leaning too far forward and feel comfortable. Worth remembering here this is an exercise bike and not a racing machine, so bending far forward over low handlebars to emulate our top racers is not really what exercise bikes are about!

The effort you put in is down to you. Every modern bike will have adjustments to alter the intensity of your exercise. Some just have one or two levels while others can offer a range of different levels across various programmes that include uphill and steep climbs as well as easy riding.  This uphill feel is achieved by adding various resistance to the pedals, so you have to push harder to achieve the same “distance” .

You don’t have to pay much more to buy a bike that includes an LCD display on its handlebars. This is great and can make the workout much more fun as you can assess how far you have travelled, how fast you are going and in some models you can see how many calories you have burned. Some bike machines have special adapted plates on the handlebars that will even give you a heart rate reading, although you sometimes have to adjust your grip to ensure you get a correct reading.

If you really want to splash out, you can today find bikes that have a full video screen on the handlebars showing you a pretend route, terrain and all sorts of interesting detail that help you think you are travelling fast through beautiful scenery!

There really is a model for everyone and when you think how easy it is just to hop on a bike for a quick exercise routine without leaving the comfort of your home, it is surprising that there isn’t an exercise bike in every house!

For more information, there is a good online site that gives reviews about various models.

Two other good places to find out about bikes on offer and pricing are Amazon and John Lewis.



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