A-list fitness gift ideas: Exercise bike

Many innovations have come along in the fitness world since the exercise bike became popular, but few machines can match the benefits bikes bring to an extremely diverse section of the population.
When trying to decide the perfect last-minute, A-list Christmas gift to give a friend or loved one, you might want to consider an exercise bike.
Exercise bikes range from the simple to the high-tech, complete with video screens to map out courses.
When you’re beginning an exercise routine, it’s important to find something you enjoy and is easy to do. That’s what makes the stationary bike or recumbent bike an ideal choice, especially for the novice exerciser or someone with back, knee, or joint problems that make running or walking more difficult.
A stationary bike is very easy on the joints, and also easy to use compared to say a treadmill or elliptical machine.
Having a bike indoors can also offer great freedom to ride when you want and also stay out of the elements. You can ride watching TV or listening to music, day or night.
Even for highly fit individuals, an exercise bike can still be a great way to get loose, change up the cardio routine or cool down.
Exercise bikes put less wear and tear on your legs than running on a treadmill. You won’t burn quite as many calories as running in the same amount of time, but exercise bikes still offer the chance to get consistently good workouts.
Studies show on average that people burn 750 calories per hour on a treadmill, compared to 550 on an exercise bike.
However, that can be a little misleading because for many people it’s much easier to keep up a good pace longer on an exercise bike than a treadmill.
So in the long run, you may be capable of burning more calories on a bike.

Recumbent or upright bike?
Upright exercise bikes have been around a long time and look like the bikes we grew up riding on.
To more and more people, though, recumbent bikes are the popular choice.
with no back support and a great way to work out the legs, especially the quads.
For avid outdoor cyclists, during the cold months they’re the next best thing to riding outdoors.
Upright bikes are also a great way to warm up before a workout, cool down and-or get a cardio workout on.
You get a lot more support from a recumbent bike, which offers a back rest with curved lower-lumbar support and puts more emphasis on the hamstrings.
If you have had any back trouble, a recumbent bike might be the best choice because of its added support. When choosing a stationary bike, comfort is a big key.
For many people who are way overweight a recumbent is a great way to start the process of trimming down. You can get a cardio workout on it without putting much stress on the back and joints.
Each type of fitness bike has its pros and cons depending on your riding preferences and fitness goals.
Some people feel the recumbent fitness bike is more ergonomically
and bio-mechanically correct because of its frame and handlebar design:

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com