Fitness Basics: The Exercise Bike Is Back

It's time for another look at an old fitness favorite.

By Barbara Russi Sarnataro
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Remember the exercise bike? It was popular at gyms and for home use long before many of today's glitzy, high-tech exercise gadgets were invented. Maybe you even have one, stashed in the attic and serving as a rack for out-of-season clothing.

But if you're ready to get serious about getting fit, it may be time to dust off your trusty (if not rusty) steed.

When you're starting an exercise program, the key is finding something you enjoy and that's easy to do. That's what makes the stationary bike a great choice, particularly 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," says Kim Eskola, MS, assistant fitness director at Little Rock Athletic Club in Little Rock, Ark. For a beginner, she says, "it's also easy to use a bike," compared with, for example, a treadmill or elliptical machine.

Further, if you're a fair-weather exerciser who lets heat, cold, or rain inhibit your workout, the stationary bike gives you fewer excuses not to exercise. "Because it's indoors, you don't have to worry about inclement weather," says exercise physiologist Kelli Calabrese.