What is your preferred piece of workout equipment at the gym? treadmill? rower? stationary bike? If you answered stationary bike, is it an upright or recumbent bike? Is there a difference? In simple terms, one type is distinguished from the other by the position of the rider. Regardless of your response, stationary bicycles are a safe and effective means of exercise according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as the bikes provide the option for a low-impact cardiovascular activity.
Stationary bikes, both recumbent and upright, place less stress on the joints then some other cardio equipment options and are relatively comfortable once you become accustomed to sitting in the saddle, or seat, for an extended period of time. Recumbent bikes, in particular, are an excellent option for those with low back pain as the bike provides added support for the back. Recumbent bikes are also good for those who are new to cycling. The bottom line: a recumbent bike can provide a cardiovascular workout for users of virtually all ability levels.
Want to give it a try but can’t decide which type of stationary bike is best for you? The following might help you make a decision if you only have time for one piece of equipment during your workout.
Are you concerned about maximizing calories and weight loss, when deciding between a recumbent bike or an upright bike? Each bike has benefits that will be enticing depending on your main goals. However, both bikes produce the same calorie and weight loss potentials. It all comes down to what you’re willing to put into your workout, the harder you work the more improvement you will see. Decide which bike will be best for you by looking at the above benefit features for each bike, then be willing to work hard to achieve your fitness goals.
Whether you use an upright or recumbent stationary bike–at home or in the gym–keep these important points in mind:
A person needs to find an exercise routine that he or she enjoys and will stick with for the long haul. A stationary bike can be an important part of that routine particularly for someone new to exercise or someone with back, knee, or joint problems that make other types of cardiovascular exercise difficult. In addition, if you happen to be a person that uses excuses such as the heat, cold, or rain to curtail your daily exercise routine, the stationary bike throws those excuses out the window.
Because it's indoors, you don't have to worry about inclement weather, says exercise physiologist Kelli Calabrese. And, if you don't belong to a gym, you can use an upright or recumbent stationary bike at home.
I can do it watching television, says Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD Weight Loss Clinic's
I can do it at night, when it's dark, when it's raining or cold. It's a great way to burn calories and fat stores, and it's a good oxygen boost.
The bottom line: choose which option best fits your needs and remember a stationary bicycle, whether upright or recumbent, is only beneficial if you use it! Set attainable goals and create a circle of health for yourself for today and the future!
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