An exercise bike is, in essence, a piece of stationary workout equipment designed after the bicycle. Most people think of exercise bikes as public gym workout equipment, but in fact, it is easy to get an affordable stationary exercise bike for personal use in your own home.

This guide lays out the vast array of benefits of exercise bike types from, stationary, spin and recumbent, as well as general advice for safest and most effective use. 

1. Effective Aerobic Workout 

  • Boosts Cardio Fitness 
    Even low-intensity pedalling gets your heart pumping blood to your muscles a little faster, which works the heart muscle. Furthermore, you might feel better from the boost in circulation. 
  • Helps with Weight Loss & Burns Body Fat 
    Even fairly easy biking burns a lot of calories if you keep at it. Some people find that biking while reading or watching TV is the perfect way to trick themselves into burning an impressive number of calories. 

2. Helps with Strength Training 

  • Strengthens Legs and Lower Body Muscles 
    Cycling targets the thigh muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) and calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus). Rigorous cyclers generally notice toning of the butt muscles (glutes), as well. 
  • Improves Muscle and Joint Mobility 
    Perhaps the biggest benefit of riding an exercise bike is that, if done properly, it is much easier on the joints than most other aerobic exercises since the knees and ankles are mostly unburdened of the bodyweight throughout the workout. 
  • (Sometimes) Works Upper Body 
    Exercise bikes with manoeuvrable arm grips, often called dual-action stationary bikes, add both aerobic intensity and mild upper-body strength training. The biceps and triceps, as well as the shoulders (trapezius and more) and chest (pectorals), get a workout. Also, upright bikes and spin bikes give an upper body workout in a different way when you lean in on the handlebars during intense stretches of the movement.

3. Convenient, Easy Way to Fitness 

  • Allows for Interval Training 
    One of the benefits of a home exercise bike is that you have a straightforward way to do interval training—you can voluntarily pedal faster or ratchet up the resistance for timed periods. Pushing yourself to the max for a short time on a stationary bike is a simple way to get the added cardiovascular benefits of anaerobic exercise, too. 
  • Safer Than Road Cycling 
    Stationary biking eliminates roadway hazards and problems with public bikeways. You are in no danger of being hit or hitting someone else. You do not have to give any thought to weather conditions or ideal timing to avoid traffic, gatherings, or detours.

4. Slows the Aging Process 

  • Can Lower Cholesterol 
    Some of this is due to the weight loss that often accompanies exercise. It also turns out that regular moderate exercise actually reduces bad cholesterol (LDLs) and increases good cholesterol (HDLs).
  • Improves Mobility 
    Since cycling is low-impact to joints, it is a great way for arthritic people to keep limber and strengthen the muscles that support their joints.
  • Good for Blood Flow 
    Like any cardio workout, cycling stimulates the heart to work harder and the vascular system to transport blood more efficiently throughout the body.
  • Energy-Boosting 
    A stronger, more responsive cardiovascular system makes all activities feel easier, which should reduce overall fatigue throughout the day.
  • Great for Mental Health 
    Physical activity has long been touted as a way to promote psychological resilience—not only because of the mental gratification of getting through the workout, but also because of specific physical effects of exercise; these effects come into play for people of all ages, races, and sexes—as well as those suffering from physical and psychological disease. 
Health Benefits Of Low Impact Exercise Bikes

Different Types of Exercise Bikes & Their Benefits

Stationary bikes come in a number of different builds, each of which offers an experience unique from the others; however, you do not need to worry that you are seriously missing out if you choose one over another, since there is considerable overlap in the potential benefits of riding any of these exercise bikes. 

well-designed stationary bike will allow you to work out comfortably—to the point that you will probably be surprised by how easily you handle a challenging workout. There should be: 

  • Adequate adjustments to accommodate a variety of body sizes and proportions  
  • Console features that give basic stats on your workouts, such as time, distance, and speed  
  • Smooth and simple pedal action and resistance changes 

Most modern exercise bikes for gym and home use are magnetic exercise bikes. That is, they have a flywheel that absorbs momentum to keep the ride smooth. You can change resistance by a manual dial or digital control (depending on the model) that adjusts the position of magnets in relation to the flywheel.  

Related Article - Different Types Of Exercise Bikes

1. Benefits of Upright Stationary Bikes

If you have decent balance and mobility, and want a workout that will better imitate actual outdoor cycling (as opposed to a rehab workout), then an upright bike is probably what you want. 

  • Perfect for people who have felt unable to have a home gym due to limited space since they take up the least square footage of all the exercise bicycle types—and, in most cases, less space than most other types of aerobic workout equipment. 
  • Some can even fold up and roll away so that you do not have to give up living space. 
  • If you have space for a yoga mat, you have space for most upright bikes. In fact, you can probably incorporate a foldable upright bike into even the smallest home workout areas with no trouble. 
  • Most people find that you give up some seat comfort with an upright bike compared to a recumbent. However, for most, this is not a serious problem—many find relief using a separately purchased seat cushion. 

2. Benefits of Recumbent Bikes

The biggest benefits of using a recumbent bike are that it is easier to mount and will have more comfortable seating since recumbents are made for the rider to sit back while riding. 

  • A blessing to older, disabled, and injured people (or those who feel insecure about biking or exercising in general).
  • Do have resistance adjustment and console features like any other workout bike (and, as with others, you can pedal as fast as you want), so you can still get a very rigorous workout. 
  • Compared to upright biking, recumbent biking is less like outdoor cycling—so not the best training for a real bike trail. 
  • Generally, recumbent bikes are less of a full-body workout—minimal glute action and almost no engagement of the back or shoulders. 

3. Benefits of Dual-Action Bikes

There are both upright and, less commonly, recumbent models with upper-body workout features.

  • Many upright models have moving arm handles, reminiscent of elliptical trainers, but potentially greater resistance. 
  • few recumbent models have a set of hand pedals, but unfortunately, these might or might not be usable while foot pedaling. 
  • There are a few interesting hybrid models out there that combine different combinations of arm and leg workouts—some even allowing recumbent, upright, and/or elliptical riding—all in the same piece of equipment. 

4. Benefits of Air Bikes

Air bikes are, arguably, a special type of dual-action upright bike, but since the pedals and arm handles are part of the same air resistance mechanism, the air bike feels more like an elliptical than other dual-action upright workout bikes.

  • Guarantees an intense, fitness-enhancing workout that is among the best in terms of calorie-burning and body sculpting. 
  • Takes relatively little space compared to other dual-action bikes or full-body workout machines. 
  • Having used an air bike for a while in the past, I can say that I enjoyed the gratuitous fan blowing—the increased air movement can feel good as you pump hard. 

5. Benefits of Spin Bikes

Spin bikes are increasingly trendy for both gym and home use.

  • Positions the rider in a slightly recumbent upright position that feels very natural. 
  • Relatively heavy flywheel—usually at least 30 lbs.—making for an invitingly smooth pedaling experience.  
  • Robust build, which allows the user to stand on the pedals and push down on the handlebars during very high intensity pedaling—blasts the core muscles more than other types of cycling. 
  • Takes up more space and weighs more than an upright bike. 

Getting the Most Out Of Your Exercise Bike: Pro Tips 

Positioning Adjustments

The most basic piece of advice here is to be sure that the seat is at a level where, at the bottom of a pedal stroke, your leg is slightly bent - not extended or stretching, but not really flexed either. You want to make sure your seat is comfortable. 

If your bike has handlebar level adjustment, or seat horizontal or angle adjustments, then simply adjust until your position feels natural - not stretching or bending.

If you are someone who has trouble lifting your legs or keeping balance, it would be safer to get a model, usually a recumbent, with a low walk-through (the area between the handle/console and the seat/pedals is no more than a couple of inches off the ground).


Depending on how much you are willing to spend, you can get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, instructional or entertaining apps, and/or built-in speakers.

However, even many inexpensive stationary bikes have at least basic workout metrics and a support rack for your phone or tablet. Also, there are many free workout apps available for your mobile device to get you started.

Bicycle Workout Tips

Be sure to warm up and cool down with a few minutes of low intensity pedaling. If you have not been exercising previously, be sure to increase the intensity and duration of your workout gradually.

Workout instructors say that many people jump on a workout machine and go hard with great enthusiasm, only to quit a few weeks later because of injury.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is 30 minutes on a stationary bike enough?  

Yes. Beginners should start with no more than 30 minutes of cycling. Intermediate and advanced cyclists often use increased resistance and/or interval training, all of which can be accomplished in 30 minutes. 

Will I lose weight cycling 30 mins a day?  

In general, yes—but obviously, if you eat more, to the point that you replace the calories burned, then you might not lose weight at first. However, cycling 30 mins/day should still give you added energy, reduce stress, and foster a sense of accomplishment. 

Furthermore, you should find you can increase the intensity of your workout over time, which means that you will burn more calories in the same amount of time. Therefore, in the end, if you keep with it, you will probably lose body fat, if not overall body weight. 

Is a stationary bike better than a treadmill?  

Overall, it is a tie. It depends significantly on your condition, fitness level, and goals, and it depends on the type of stationary bike. Compared with treadmills, recumbent bikes come up lacking when it comes to burning calories or improving cardiovascular health.

Still, they do take pressure off of joints and more strongly target leg muscles: The big health benefit of a recumbent bike is that it might allow you to get a great workout when you might not otherwise be able to. 

Does cycling reduce belly fat?  

Overall loss of body fat will naturally trim the waist some. Plus, unlike some abdominal workouts, biking will not bulk up the ab muscles much, and so it can only reduce your waist circumference.  


Whether you are young or old, an exercising novice or a seasoned cyclist, there are definite benefits of riding a stationary bike. You just have to find the type of stationary exercise bike that suits your needs; ideally, you should also get some extra bike features that keep you happy and comfortable as you work toward your goals.  

Last Updated on April 16, 2024

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Andrew White

Andrew White is the co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. As an expert fitness professional (gym building nerd) with over 10 years of industry experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern fitness & the newest market innovations for garage gyms. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually out surfing or playing basketball.