How to get fit by using recumbent exercise bike?
There are so many ways to get fit, and no one way is the right way for everyone. The best workout for you is one that suits your lifestyle, fits into your schedule and helps you meet your specific fitness goals, be they building strength, endurance, or cardiovascular health, or maintaining a healthy body weight. A recumbent exercise bike fits nicely into many fitness plans because it is comfortable, has a low impact on joints, leaves arms free, builds strength that is transferrable to a road bike, and overall encourages longer, more frequent workouts than an upright exercise bike. When designing a fitness plan using a recumbent exercise bike, some important considerations are designing a training plan that you can follow, using FIDO, tracking progress, and taking newfound skills on the road.
- Designing a training plan is easy if you know a simple acronym; FIDO! You’ll want to incorporate slow increases in Frequency, Intensity, and Duration, and do enough pedalling to achieve Overload, a feeling that your muscles have put in their all and need a short rest.
A. Frequency is how often you exercise. A good starting goal might be to work out at least 3 times a week. The recumbent bike is so comfortable that it invites you to recline, read a book or listen to music while you pedal often without strain to your torso or neck.
B. Intensity is how strenuously you exercise. Most recumbent bicycles have a band to tighten or a digital display that allows you to dial in a steeper slope. At the start of a workout, it is a good policy to warm up with a low intensity setting and then build up to a higher intensity workout later when your muscles are warm.
C. Duration refers to both how long your exercise session last and how long you can maintain a high intensity burst during a session. A gradual increase in the duration of your workout would be a good goal at first, and as you build endurance, a gradual increase in the duration of the high intensity portion of the workout would be a secondary goal. Recumbent bicycles, unlike upright bicycles, facilitate longer workouts by allowing arms to rest rather than constantly looking for a comfortable grip on the handlebars, and allowing the neck to redline rather than arch backward.
D. Overload is a goal for each high intensity burst during a workout, and periods of high intensity should be alternated with periods of low intensity so that your muscles can recover before the next high intensity burst. On simpler machines, just loosen the friction belt on the wheel when you reach overload and give yourself a few minutes to pedal freely before commencing the next high intensity burst. For the high end digital machines, just pre-program a few `hills’ alternating with ‘valleys’ in your workout and if you find your muscles are at their maximum effort just before a ‘valley’, you have the right intensity level.
2. Tracking progress can be as simple as recording on a calendar the days and times that you exercise, along with times at peak intensity for each workout. You may want to state your goals for the month so that a gradual increase in duration, intensity and frequency are scheduled. Be forgiving and flexible, because it is more important to keep working out and having fun than to work out exactly as scheduled.
3. Taking your new skills on the road is highly recommended, because it is truly inspiring on a spring day to feel the wind in your face, your newly trained muscles putting rubber to the road. However, be sure to put that book down, take those earbuds out of your ears, and steer with those hands! If you have a recumbent road bike, keep in mind that you are below the line of sight of most automobiles, so a tall flag is a good idea. Likewise, a rear-view mirror is very helpful on a recumbent bicycle because you have less neck mobility in a reclining position. If you have an upright road bike, you may find that your legs are strong, but your upper body and core muscles are sore at first. Go easy on them and drink plenty of water.
Final verdict; Recumbent exercise bikes are so inviting that they make fitness training a pleasure. Though somewhat more costly than upright exercise bikes, they offer the advantages of low impact, free hands and the same leg strength training advantages of an upright bike. Though some suggest that reclining means no workout for the core or upper body, they can be a life saver for anyone with neck or back injury and relief for beginners who want a healthy habit they love to keep, and an important part of a whole body workout for anyone at any stage of fitness training.