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Stationary Bikes

What features should you look for in a stationary bike

There are many advantages to cycling. Biking outside engages the participant in moderate to fairly intense physical activity, particularly when they're forced to bike uphill or against a stiff country wind. Fitness experts recommend we all get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least three times a week, and cycling can be a fun way to burn calories and stay in shape.

But what if you live in a place where it's just not possible to bike outside every day? Maybe it's too cold and snowy, or it gets dark too early, or the local neighborhood doesn't inspire confidence in your safety. If that's the case, the alternative might be to purchase equipment that replicates outdoor cycling while keeping you warm and safe inside, such as a standard stationary bike or a recumbent stationary bike.

Advantages of Stationary Bikes

The advantage to using a stationary bike, as with any bike, is that it can help you burn calories while limiting the impact on your joints and other body parts. Unlike running, outside or on a treadmill, which can take its toll on your feet, ankles, knees and hips, stationary bikes challenge you to pump those pedals, producing almost no impact and limiting the chance for injuries.

Some users consider stationary bikes better than real bikes because it's easier to adjust the challenges – many allow you to increase the resistance with the push of a button or the turning of a knob. Exercise bikes also allow a user to keep track of the calories they've burned, with the more advanced models tallying the distance traveled as well. That's particularly useful for anyone trying to lose weight.

Disadvantages of Stationary Bikes

Although you may not receive the stiff joints and sore knees that come with running outside, users of stationary bikes also won't experience the same dramatic burning of calories associated with sprints and jogs. As with most anything else, in exercise you get what you pay for – if you want to burn more calories, you'll need to increase the difficulty of your activity, and nothing quite beats running or jogging towards that end. Elliptical machines also tend to challenge a user more than stationary bicycles.

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