Biking, indoors or outdoors, is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. Unlike running, biking puts far less stress on the joints. It is also a great way to burn fat since you can stay in your optimum fat burn zone for much longer.
Exercise bikes come in three basic types, upright, recumbent and spinning. They all provide excellent exercise with the right effort but each type has its pros and cons. There are also hybrid exercise bikes on the market, but these are the three basic versions.
The upright exercise bike is the original type of exercise bike and still the most popular. Seats are large and cushioned and are typically have a single adjustment for raising or lowering the seat post as well as distance to the console and handle bars. Consoles can include lots of different training programs to keep you motivated and some models include a build in TV but handle bars are often not adjustable.
Your resistance is typically controlled electronically. Low end models of upright exercise bike provide distance and speed, while more expensive models may include heart rate monitoring and store your data for comparison. Pedals on upright exercise bikes are typically very standard with a strap and can rarely be upgraded to the clip-in type.
The recumbent exercise bike is to exercise what the Barcalounger is to watching TV. It will make you as comfortable as possible while you sweat. On a recumbent exercise bike you sit in a reclined position on a very comfortable seat with a back rest for support. Some models have adjustable back rests, some even have arm rests.
The seat of a recumbent exercise bike can be moved forward or back but not up or down. You get the same levels of digital display, training programs and feedback that you would with an upright. The more you pay, the more goodies are included.
Sitting in the reclined position on a recumbent exercise bike does have some implications compared to the upright exercise bike. With your body in a more horizontal position, blood circulation could be more efficient. But having your legs extended out in front of you can cause some knee discomfort with some users.
The spinning bike is the type of exercise bike you see in the spinning classes at the health club or gym. Spinning type exercise bikes have fewer frills than the upright or recumbent exercise bike though that has started to change. Resistance is controlled manually with a knob or lever. and on most models there are no readouts.
Seat height and distance to the handlebars can be adjusted separately and the handlebars are also adjustable. This makes it possible to closely simulate the position used by a rider on their outdoor bikes. and why spinning bikes are the preferred type of exercise bike with people that take their biking serious.
Often, both the pedals and the seat can be replaced to match those used on road or triathlon bikes. It is also possible to stand in the pedals without risk of tipping over. Spinning bikes are the preferred type of exercise bike with people that take their biking serious though there is no coasting or freewheeling on a spinning bike and the pedals will turn along with the flywheel.
Spinning bikes are the for hard core indoor bike riding or for those that just want a basic exercise bike with no frills.