Whether it be due to weather, physical limitations or simply one’s personal preference, indoor workouts are extremely popular. You can control temperature settings to your exact liking, choose what music to listen to and decide if one-on-one, group or solo exercising is the most advantageous. Stationary bicycles are an excellent way to achieve a high cardio workout while limiting the amount of pressure applied to one’s joints. It is important to remember a few tips on what to avoid when using these types of machines to avoid injury and complete a successful ride.
Wearing Improper Gear
When riding an exercise bike, it is imperative that you wear the correct clothing and footwear. Sneakers or other closed-toed shoes should be worn at all times to prevent shoelaces from becoming tangled in the pedals as well as to properly and evenly distribute the pressure placed on your feet. Loose-fitting bottoms should also be avoided for similar reasons. Biking shorts and leggings should be worn in lieu of baggy clothing or oversized sweatpants.
Your body doesn’t stop sweating just because you are working out indoors and are away from the outdoor elements. Heavy workouts can still cause high levels of perspiration that need to be replenished through continuous hydration. Drinking water, sports drinks or other fluids with electrolytes is essential when it comes to the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. Taking small sips throughout the course of a workout can aid in achieving top performance levels.
Poorly Adjusting Seating
Bike seats that are set at the incorrect height can pose an increased chance of injury. Seats that are too low can put an excessive amount of strain on your knees and cause them to bend at an uncomfortable angle; sitting too low may also cause you to hike your hips in an effort to complete each rotation. On the other hand, seats that are too high can cause your legs to extend too far thereby overstretching key muscles. When sitting on a bike, you should be able to easily straighten out your leg while having your foot planted firmly on the pedal.
Lacking Appropriate Form
Working out on an exercise bike may be ideal if you want to work, read or watch a television show while exercising. Many bikes come equipped with reading ledges or built-in electronic holders; however, it is imperative that you pay extra attention to your posture when utilising these features. When looking at a book or small screen, you may be inclined to lean forward to get a clearer view. In doing so, you are causing yourself to hunch over and put undue stress on your lower and upper back, shoulders and neck. Sitting in an upright position is key to the prevention of an injury.
Skipping Out on Stretching
It is not uncommon for individuals to skip over the cool-down setting when finishing up a bike ride. Abruptly ending a fast-paced workout may prevent the body from engaging in muscle relaxation and recovery thereby increasing the likelihood of developing delayed onset muscle soreness. Using a stationary bike may help in getting your legs moving, but it can also strain your hips; when riding a bike, your hips remain in a flexed position and can therefore become tight after working out.
Performing hip rotator and full-body stretching may be beneficial in cooling down the body and releasing any tight joints, muscles or trigger points.
There are numerous ways to get a nice, high-quality cardio workout. If choosing to use an exercise bike, you should fully understand how to properly set up and use the machine. Knowing the basics can make for a smooth and safe ride.