Is cycling the best exercise for you? The question is, are you limited in the amount or type of exercise you can do? If so, read on…
Let’s look at other forms of exercise that you’ll typically find in a decent sized gym.
Great all body workout device. The problem is, if your technique isn’t up to par, you may strain your back if you over extend. It is imperative that you work with a professional trainer to perfect your technique before you attempt to work out on this device by yourself, to avoid injury.
Steps are a great device for getting strong muscular and toned legs but again, if you’re not careful, or overdo it, you may strain your back.
Nothing wrong with the treadmill but it depends on your goal. If you want to lose weight, running on a treadmill, especially at a steep incline will burn more calories than rowing on a machine, however, for overall weight loss, a rowing machine is the better option because it provides an equivalent cardio workout to a treadmill. It also builds more muscle, according to this article: Which Is Better: Treadmill or Rowing Machine?
The cross trainer is a great all-round body toning device, with quite a few levels of resistance so you can increase the challenge as your fitness improves. However it isn’t for everyone – it does require coordination or you’ll find it clunky and frustrating.
Weights are my personal favourite – I love building body strength. I like to bench-press or do squats with a bar on my back, or lift kettle weights above and behind my head (triceps), or dumbbells (mainly biceps) or use the various weight machines. In just four years I’ve gone from barely able to lift 2kg, to bench-pressing over 30kg. But again, technique is very important or you could easily create an injury. I once threw my back out lifting a medicine ball and am still somewhat wary of them.
Body Weight & TRX
Another favourite of mine is using my body so increase by strength and tone. The great thing about doing this is you do not need to go to the gym. You can work out in your living room, in front of the TV, by doing press-ups, plank, side-planks and trapping a TRX in a door to do a number of body-toning and strengthening exercises. It’s a good idea to use the TRX to do pull-ups after having implemented press-ups. Make sure you are on the side of the door that pushes open and not pulls-open!
Core-Strength-Cardio in Equal Measure
In an ideal world we will all be exercising 4-5 hours per week, strengthening our bodies and core, and ensuring we break-out into a sweat with our cardio routines (e.g. running, Zumba, aerobics), in equal measure. Focusing on a single area of our bodies, such as body strengthening, will create over-toned and under-toned muscles in our bodies and we’ll most likely end up with an injury (if you do, visit our blog on Neuro Physiotherapy).
Limited in Time or Exercise Ability?
So in short, is cycling the best exercise for you?
It depends! Have you got the time and the exercise ability and are without any physical limitations? Great! Just make sure your technique is ‘on point’ and you spend an equal amount of time training core, strength and cardio.
If you’re limited in time, concentrate on the all-round devices and rotate them, if possible. So go from bike, to cross trainer to rowing machine and back (either for a full session or split the hour session into three 20-20-20).
If you’re limited in physical ability, use the bicycle with handgrips and footrest (pedals) accessories – that way you will be exercising your upper and lower limbs, improving your stamina and increasing your heart-rate (make sure you alternate from a comfortable pace to breaking into a sweat). When exercising your lower limbs, make sure the saddle is at the correct height so your legs are not too bent or completely straight, and that you are sat at the correct angle so as not to strain your back.
If you have had a stroke, or are frail, elderly, have a neuro-muscular disorder, spinal injury, have suffered brain trauma, are post-op, and tire easily, consider working on an Active Passive Exercise Bike so you can exercise in Passive Mode if you can’t work out in Active Mode.
Work with a Professional Trainer
We always recommend working with a professional trainer, at least initially, to learn the correct technique before venturing onto an exercise device.