Stationary cycling: An easy way to ease into cardio

Monday August 03 2020

Exercising is as good to the body as food is but at a time where we are so cautious about our health, many may still be weary of heading to the gym but gyms are not even open. Nonetheless, that should not be reason to slack on your fitness goals. That is why looking at gadgets or exercises which we can comfortably do from home is the solution and one of such is stationary cycling.
Weight loss
A study, Effect of diet and indoor cycling on body composition and serum lipid, published in 2010, showed that after 12 weeks, overweight participants had successfully fought their weight and controlled their serum lipids. They cycled thrice a week for 45 minutes each with a restricted diet of 12,000kcal.

Richard Katumba, a gym instructor, is in agreement saying when one engages in low intensity cycling for a long time, their muscles are worked which leads to burning of fat and in due course, leads to weight loss.
Improves cardio fitness
Stationary bike workout is a cardiovascular exercise which unlike others in its bracket such as jogging, puts less strain on one’s joints yet delivers great impact. As one cycles, Katumba says, the heart is strengthened, not forgetting the lungs and muscles.

“In so doing, blood and oxygen flow throughout the body is improved. This has a ripple effect that is very important for one’s wellbeing,” he says. Delving into the after effects, Katumba says one will have normal blood pressure, wake up early and fresh, have improved memory and brain functionality, reduced stress levels, and be in better moods.

He adds that for great cardio health, indulging in high intensity cycling is ideal to get the heart pumping.
Low-impact workout
Irrespective of whether one is well or not, exercising is a necessity. However, not all workouts can be done by someone who has suffered injury. That is why cycling is a great option. In the past few months, Anita Mwagale has developed severe joint pain that the thought of the fast paced aerobics exercises scare her.

“That was when I was told about a stationary bicycle for exercising. I have not regretted because I do not have to cycle as fast as a pro would yet I still get to strengthen my muscles without intense pain,” she shares. Elisha Muhwezi, a fitness coach, says unlike jogging, skipping and other high impact cardio exercises, stationary cycling does not put a lot of strain on one’s joints since one does not have to lift their feet off the pedals.
Strengthens body
Irrespective of the resistance you work with, Katumba says riding a stationary bicycle will strengthen your upper and lower body. “With higher resistance, your legs will also benefit greatly because the muscles are strengthened as you pedal,” he explains.

He adds that the action of pedalling also strengthens your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves while working your glutes, core and back muscles. If you choose to make use of the bicycle handles, Katumba says you will also get to work the upper body including the shoulders, triceps and biceps.


Interval training possible
With stationary bicycle exercising, one can work out at various intervals. Muhwezi says a beginner may want to start slowly while one who has been at it for a while might prefer to start with slow pedalling for warm up before moving on to high intensity pedalling to achieve, say improved cardio fitness.
“There is also medium intensity that will work well for those that are familiar with the exercise yet not ready to pedal fast,” he shares.
While no one can claim that exercising on a stationary bike is accident free, Muhwezi says it is safer than cycling on the road. “From dealing with reckless drivers, to maneuvering uneven road surfaces, cycling outdoors may prove to be more accident prone. Besides, one cannot cycle in the blaring sunshine or when it is raining. However, with indoor cycling, one can workout at any hour of the day and safety is guaranteed,” he shares.

Elisha Muhwezi, a fitness coach, says depending on how well one has adapted, the plan or how you use the bike differs. “If you are a beginner, it would be great to start slowly. Starting with, say 30 minutes will be great so that you allow your joints to get used to the rigour. You can keep increasing the time you spend on the bike as time goes by.
In regards to how to use the stationary bike, he advises a user to ensure they have sat well to avoid sliding or hurting any part of the body as they pedal. “More to that, give yourself intervals of rest in case you feel out of breath or feel pain.”