How Do Exercise Bikes Work?


What are Exercise Bikes?

  • When used properly, exercise bikes allow the body to go through the same motions as does a regular bicycle, without the forward motion. Thus, exercise bikes are a great alternative to outdoor cycling as a form of exercise when the weather is inclement, or other circumstances prevent the use of a regular bicycle.

How do Exercise Bikes Work?

  • All exercise bikes work when the rider pedals a resistance mechanism, usually a fan or alternator of some type. Resistance can be varied by making it more difficult to turn either the pedals or the resistance mechanism. The more difficult it is to turn the pedals (i.e., the greater the resistance) the greater the workout.

What are Some Types of Exercise Bikes?

  • Some exercise bikes are electronic, and have programmable features that can vary the intensity of the workout depending upon which program you choose. Cycling uphill is mimicked by the exercise bike by increasing the resistance and making it more difficult to pedal. Downhills are simulated by pedaling that has less resistance and occurs faster. High-end exercise bikes may help simulate riding on different terrains and by altering resistance and showing corresponding images (going up or down a hill on a country road, for instance) on a television screen. They also can keep track of workout statistics such as speed, distance and calories burned.
    Exercise bikes can be either recumbent or upright. Recumbent stationary bikes are generally more comfortable, as the rider uses a seat with a back on it, and the pedals are in a more forward position. The workout on a recumbent bike can be just as rigorous as on a standard exercise bike, and can be easier on the neck and back.

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  • Photo Credit Jos van Galen
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