Are you ready to pedal to the rhythm of music?
It is exciting to hop on an exercise bike and pedal your way to fitness. It is an extremely fun and effective exercise.
But beware… even a beneficial tool can turn harmful if used incorrectly. A group of researchers from Italy observed that using an exercise bike improved cardiovascular health; however it may not be a suitable activity for unfit individuals, especially the middle aged or elderly (The Department of Biomedical Sciences, Sassari University, Italy).
Here are 5 key mistakes to avoid on an exercise bike:
1. Setting up the Bike Incorrectly
How are you setting up your exercise bike?
Apart from height, the position of your seat is also important. If you set it too close to the handle bar, you may feel all crunched up.
It may also cause you to lose range of motion in the pedal strokes. This might make your workouts less effective since you’re not utilizing each stride fully.
Additionally, how are you adjusting the handlebars? Ideally, the handlebars should be congruent to the seat.
A lower handlebar setting is an aggressive position which might lead to back exercise. On the other hand, a higher handlebar position might compromise your upper body posture.
Resistance is no different. It should neither be too less nor too much. If you amp up your resistance greatly, you might need your entire body to get through every stroke.
This might unsettle your form and increase the risk of injury, particularly in the lower back, knees and hips.
Whereas, setting the resistance too low might make your strokes dangerous. The absence of adequate resistance might make you lose balance,
make your knees accidentally hit the brakes, or unclip your feet from the pedals. Moreover, it might sacrifice the quality of your workouts by making them too easy.
2. Choosing Inappropriate Attire
Wearing inappropriate attire might certainly disrupt your riding. If you wear loose pants the excess fabric might bunch up between the bike and the pedals. Similarly, the wrong footwear might injure your feet and toes.
So make sure you dress right! Wear cycling shoes, athletic shorts or trousers, and light-breathable dry-fit clothing which cool the body down.
3. Using Incorrect Form
- Using wrong form while performing the exercise might diminish both its effectiveness and safety. If you hold onto the cycle too tight, you are wasting energy by stressing your body weight on your hands and wrists. This misused energy can be better utilized in tightening your core and balancing your weight over your midsection, gluts and quads.
- Another error is swaying from side to side while pedaling. This will challenge your balance and make you grip the handle bars extremely tight, exerting unhealthy pressure on your shoulders. Moreover, pedaling one-foot or pedaling backwards is not required. It provides no additional advantage. Muscles function in the same manner and an equal numbers of calories are burned whether you pedal forward or backward, one-foot or bi-feet.
- Similarly, riding with only one hand or no hands at all is also unnecessary. It might make you lose connection with the bike and cause difficulty in maintaining constant pressure throughout the pedal stroke.
4. Adopting the Wrong Mindset
Exercising with a tense mind might compromise the effectiveness of your workout. On the other hand, a relaxed mind will stimulate the body to perform at its best. You will automatically adopt the correct posture – your shoulders will loosen, the bend in your elbow will relax, your neck will be nice and long. This will allow you to channelize energy to your lower body and get the most out of your ride.
Thus, make sure that you love and enjoy your time on the exercise bike. Immerse yourself completely in the activity and you will experience mental well-being in addition to physical benefits.
5. Concluding the Workout Inaptly
Contrary to popular belief, stretching after exercise does not aid muscle recovery. In fact, a group of researchers from The George Institute for Global Health observed that “serious stretching after workout is contraindicated for recovery”.
Moreover, a study published in the National Strength and Conditioning Association also advices to avoid rigorous stretching after working out and suggests using a mild exercise to cool down.
Hence, conclude your workout with a walk or spend some time in the pool. Or perhaps, have a little dance to celebrate the successful completion of your workout session.
If you avoid these small, but key mistakes, then riding an exercise bike is a great way to get fit while having fun.
So what are you waiting for? Get Pedaling!