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Pros and Cons of the Stationary Bike

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.

Pros Cons
  • 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,


Pros 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.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I wish my gym had Spinning class, but it doesn't, so I use the stationary bike and do my own thing for 30 minutes. I usually choose an interval program so I can get my heart rate up quite a bit.
vanillabean vanillabean 7 years
Believe it or not I cannot ride a real bicycle outdoors, so I truly enjoy spin class -- no risk of uncoordinated me falling (so far). However, when I forget to wear padded shorts, the seat hurts my bum something else!
syako syako 7 years
Eek, I don't know if I'd like that. I think that's the part of spin class I like the most, you have no clue what anyone else is doing and you're only focused on you. Strange!
califab califab 7 years
The number of calories you burn can vary greatly. Yesterday I was on the bike with my friend; I was on level 12 and she was on level 4. My readout was twice as many calories. I do know the machines exaggerate the burning, but intensity level can greatly vary based on the workout you choose. I sweat buckets on the stationery bike, more than any other machine, but I think part of it is that you warm up the little area you stay put in.
Fitness Fitness 7 years
thanks syako, I clarified that bit about bikes and electricity. My gym is getting new bikes with readouts and the instructor will have a master readout and be able to see what each rider is doing. Big Brother meets class. Yikes!
syako syako 7 years
I have really come to love spin class. Because I commute by train to work and I workout on my lunch break, it's not possible to bring my bike with me, so this way I can still get in some biking workouts during the week. I find that spin class pushes me much harder than I do on my own outside, unless I'm out doing some serious hills. Our spin bikes aren't electronic, aren't most of them like that?
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