I love riding my bike outside, but if it's raining or too dark out, the stationary bike is a great option for me. Since it may not be the most popular cardio machine at the gym, there's usually one available. Here are some pros and cons to think about when hopping on one.
- Since you keep your stationary bike inside, you can always get in a workout no matter the weather or time of day.
- You can't beat the safety factor. When biking indoors, you don't have to worry about cars, uneven terrain that could make you fall, or sharp objects that could pop your tire. And if you get tired, you can just hop off and end your workout, unlike when you're riding outside and still have to ride back home.
- Riding a stationary bike burns fewer calories than running on a treadmill, since most of your weight is supported by the seat. You'll burn 148 calories on a stationary bike after 30 minutes, and will burn 236 calories on the treadmill for the same amount of time.
- Biking doesn't offer the same bone-building benefits as high-impact running since you're sitting down.
To see the rest of the pros and cons,
- Stationary bikes are much cheaper than treadmills or ellipticals, and cost around $600 to $1,200. If you already own a bike, instead of buying a whole new stationary bike, you can attach it to a cycle trainer and ride it inside.
- If you have knee or back pain, or need to lose a lot of weight, using a stationary bike is easier on your body than a treadmill, especially if it's a recumbent bike.
- You don't have to wear a helmet, or be hyper-aware of your surroundings.
- If you need motivation, you can take a spinning class.
- Newer stationary bikes have a variety of programs so you can do interval workouts that replicate outdoor terrain even though you're inside.
- The readout keeps track of your workout data including time, speed, distance, and calories burned, so you can monitor your progress.
- It's easy to read a book or magazine on the stationary bike, which helps pass the time.
- It only works your lower body, unlike machines that have handles, like the elliptical, that allow you to target your arms and upper back as well.
- Stationary bikes that have readouts require power, so they're not as green as biking outdoors.
- If you're training for a race, you'll be missing out on training in extreme temps, wind resistance, blaring sun, precipitation, and uneven surfaces.
- It's easier to cheat on a stationary bike than on a real bike. You can lower the resistance, avoid hills, and peddle slowly.
- Since the scene never changes inside, it can be so boring that you exercise for less time.
- Sitting down on an uncomfortable seat makes for a sore tush.
- The readout on the machine may not be accurate.
Remember, pros and cons aside, spin class is a great way to stay in biking shape during the inclement weather of Winter.
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