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Exercise Bikes: Aerobic Workout

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Exercise bikes provide you with a great aerobic workout that strengthens your muscles and improves your cardiovascular system. In a nutshell, aerobic simply means "with oxygen," and therefore all aerobic activity works to improve your body's oxygen system and use oxygen efficiently to create energy.

Aerobic exercises require your body to use large muscle groups for long periods of time, and a bike is ideal for this type of training. Throughout the duration of these work outs, your heart rate should raised to 70% to 80% of its maximum rate. The purpose of aerobic conditioning is to increase your endurance and facilitate the pumping of your heart. Your body will be able to transport oxygen throughout your body more effectively, and therefore your blood circulation will improve and your health will benefit as a whole.

Follow the steps below to get the best aerobic workout from an exercise bike:

Step 1: Correct Information

Once you hop on an exercise bike be sure you accurately enter your age and weight. The machine will use this information to figure out your heart rate and ensure that you are staying in the aerobic zone.

Step 2: Program and Level

Carefully choose the program that will give you an effective aerobic workout. This will be one that allows you to keep your heart rate up for a long period of time, but not to the point of exhaustion. Something steady with little variation would work well for aerobic conditioning. Likewise, choose a level that will give you a great workout and cause you to sweat, but one that also enables you to sustain your workout.

Step 3: Time

This is the most important factor of an aerobic workout: the duration. In order to get the most effective aerobic workout, you should strive to stay on the bike for an hour. This will allow you to burn a great deal of calories (around 500), improve your stamina and strengthen your cardiovascular system. If you are just starting out on your fitness regimen, try to work out for at least 30 to 45 minutes.

Step 4: Heart Rate

Monitoring your heart rate is crucial to an effective aerobic workout on an exercise bike. As previously mentioned, your heart rate should fall in the range of 70%-80% of your maximum heart rate. This might be lower if you are exceptionally out of shape. Anything above this is in the anaerobic zone, and would be tough (and dangerous) to sustain for a long period of time. Anything below this falls into the weight control/fat burn zone, which still enables your body to burn fat, but it won't reap the benefits it will in the aerobic zone.

If the bike you're on is technologically advanced, it might be able to track your heart rate and notify you of your current zone. If not, it is up to you to monitor your own heart rate. To find out your maximum heart rate, subtract your current age from 220. Therefore, if you're 40, you're maximum heart rate is 180. To find out your aerobic heart rate, multiply your maximum heart rate by .75 (or .80 or .65 depending on what you wish to achieve during your aerobic workout). In this case, you would strive for 135 beats per minute. You can also wear a heart rate monitor that will calculate this information for you while you work out.

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