There are many cardio machines that can improve your health. Find out what benefits stationary bikes offer to see whether they are for you.
Some of these benefits apply to having your own stationary bike. Others are more general positive health effects that definitely deserve a mention.
1. Stationary bikes can help you lose weight
Stationary bikes can help you lose weight because pedaling requires more energy from your body than more standard daily activities.
There are a few estimations for the number of calories burned with a stationary bike to give you an idea of what to expect.
The average person can burn around 207 to 356+ calories while riding a stationary bike at medium resistance setting (150W) for 30 minutes.
If all of this extra calorie burning this is enough to increase your energy to a usage where the food you eat is not enough, your body starts using energy stores like body fat.
That does also mean that your habits in other areas like your nutrition still need to be good enough to make this potential benefit of stationary bikes happen.
In the worst case, stationary bike workouts would at least reduce to what extent someone can gain weight.
2. Stationary bikes work a few muscles
The main thing stopping you from pushing further in stationary bike workouts will typically be you getting out of breath.
In simpler words, using a stationary bike is typically a cardiovascular workout.
At the same time, you are still working a few muscles with stationary bikes. The main ones are:
- Quadriceps (front thighs)
- Glutes (butt)
- Hamstrings (back thighs)
You should not really expect any actual muscle growth in these areas from riding a stationary bike.
However, working your muscles can still improve their endurance, slow down degradation, and make the muscles healthier.
To get these benefits to a larger extent, you can increase the resistance setting on your stationary bike.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that weight lifting exercises exist too. These tend to be better than using a stationary bike for muscle-related effects.
3. Stationary bikes require less balance than real cycling
Stationary bikes stand still on their feet. You would have to make a big effort to tip these over.
This can be a benefit over regular cycling for people who do not entirely trust their balance skills and/or don’t want to pay any attention to this.
On the flip side, it is worth mentioning that exercise bikes would also lead to training this fitness component less.
At the same time, some studies indicate that stationary bikes can still be challenging enough to see some improvements in some individuals.
One small study with 24 elderly women over 65 years old observed that stationary bicycle exercises 3 times a week for 8 weeks can improve balance (1).
Another study also observed a beneficial effect of stationary bike workouts on balance but with stroke patients (2).
Having better balance can help you avoid accidents in your daily life.
4. Stationary bikes allow you to cycle at home
For many sports and exercises, you will have to go to a specific place to be able to do your workouts.
A 10-minute drive may not be that much for one exercise session but if you consider how many times you will do this, the amount of time you spend really adds up.
On top of that, it becomes easier to skip workouts when you think about this extra trip.
Luckily, a benefit of having stationary bikes is that you can just do your cardiovascular workout at home.
You can basically step out of your bed and get moving more.
Another positive effect of this is that you are not as dependent on the weather for your workouts.
In the case of alternatives like running and walking, a rainy day would mess with your exercise session.
5. Stationary bikes can improve cardiovascular health
As briefly mentioned, using a stationary bike is mainly a cardiovascular workout.
That means this gym machine can be useful for working and strengthening your cardiovascular system which includes your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
One thing to note is that you don’t want to overdo it either.
If you have been relatively inactive up until now, you likely want to start with light stationary bike workouts at low resistance settings to play it safe.
6. Stationary bikes offer low-impact workouts
Certain workouts and sports can be relatively hard on your body.
For example, while it is a popular choice, running is one of these high-impact options.
High-impact workouts are not necessarily bad for everyone but for people who are new to exercise and/or have a few pounds to lose, they are not always recommended.
For these individuals, something like running tends to involve a relatively high injury risk.
Luckily, there are also ways to get fitter without workouts like these.
More specifically, a stationary bike is a piece of low-impact workout equipment. Your body will not really experience a lot of shocks can be helpful for avoiding injuries.
As you strengthen your body with stationary bikes over time, you can still consider implementing high-impact workouts to get the specific benefits of these.
7. No traffic accident risk with a stationary bike
Regular cycling outside can be fun and effective too but there is a bigger risk of getting injured compared to stationary bikes.
For example, traffic accidents with cyclists are not uncommon (6). Especially in areas where there are a lot of people.
Secondly, even in the countryside, falling down while cycling can happen due to a variety of reasons.
In the best case, you only get some bruises or scratches from these accidents. In other situations, they can actually cause broken bones.
Depending on where you live, your personal preferences, and how much you want to avoid accidents, it could be worth playing it safe with a stationary bike instead.
8. Stationary bike workouts can be entertaining
Most people know that exercising can be a good decision in terms of health. However, they find it hard to actually stick to a workout routine.
One of the causes of this is that not everyone enjoys working out.
This is an area where stationary bikes can help to some extent.
It is relatively easy to listen to audio, watch a TV series, or even just talk to friends or family while using an exercise bike.
Additionally, there are many stationary bikes that offer online workout video libraries with things like scenic rids to make things more interesting.
In turn, these things can help distract you from the stationary bike workout itself while still getting the valuable health benefits.
By being able to make your workouts more entertaining you will have an easier time being consistent with your exercise routine.