As I have mentioned several times here, I much prefer to ride my bike on the lakefront to get my cardio workout – along with the exquisite pleasure of simply riding a bicycle – to anything I can do in the health club. Of course, as an adult, I realize that we don’t always get what we want when we want it. So when the weather doesn’t permit, I have to forgo cycling and visit the health club. This is not my idea of a good time and I try to get as much work done in the shortest amount of time.
Hence, this item on the Schwinn Airdyne exercise bike.
Photo from the Schwinn website.
As you can see from the illustration, there are hand holds so that you can work your arms while you pedal. There is also a computer on board that counts your calories.
I like the machine for a number of reasons. First, it feels like riding a bike which I love. You pedal and sense the front wheel spinning. That wheel generates wind that comes rushing at you as you pedal. It is cooling and gives a nice physical feedback for your work. Second, because your arms are engaged, you are getting extra cardio work done. More bang for the buck. Without too much difficulty you can get a good rate going. Lastly, it is a no impact workout, so you aren’t damaging anything in your feet or legs. As a former runner, I really appreciate that.
I like the machine because I can burn 300 calories in 30 minutes while keeping my heart rate in the zone. I think that is very efficient payment for my effort. To do better on a treadmill you need to be running, which I don’t want to do.
Finally, a word about those calorie counters on exercise machines. My understanding is that unless they have a place to input your weight, they default to a 150 pound person. That is important to know because if you happen to be a 180 pound man, you are doing 20 percent more work than a 150 pound man so you can increase the calorie count by 20 percent. Your workout is 20 percent harder than the guy who weighs 150.
Enjoy your workout!
This note was written on October 19, 2011. I have recently learned that while the cardio exercise on the bike is worthwhile, it is not weight-bearing. As a result it does not protect your bones against osteoporosis. You can use the bike to burn calories, but be sure that you are also getting weight-bearing cardio, too. Go walk a couple of miles on the treadmill. Walking is weight-bearing exercise. You could also not be a dumb bell and lift a few, too. It couldn’t hurt.