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Can an exercise bike alone get me in shape?

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QUESTION

I'm a 24-year-old male. I am six feet tall and 210 pounds. I have joined a gym and I want to know if using the exercise bike alone will allow me to get in shape and lose weight.

ANSWER

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I am conflicted on how to answer this question. On one hand, I would never want to say anything to discourage anyone from working out. The great part of your cycling routine is that it will help you make exercise a regular part of your life.

That said, I would suggest you develop a more well-rounded fitness program. Consistently doing one activity, no matter what the activity is, will cause muscle imbalances.

To guard against cycling-specific muscle imbalances, include a stretching routine for the hips, back and shoulders as well as strength exercises, like rows, to strengthen your upper back.

In addition, I encourage you to start a full-body weight training routine. Weight training will help you build lean muscle mass.

Lean muscle will positively affect your resting metabolic rate. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn at rest.

The bottom line is, any exercise is better than no exercise, but a well-rounded routine is superior to just doing cardio.

Also remember, no exercise routine will help you lose weight unless you are eating a balanced diet.

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TRAINER'S TIP

If the reason you only want to cycle is because you aren't comfortable with gym members watching you weight train, buy some inexpensive free weights and do 20 minutes of basic weight-training exercises twice a week at home. Once you are more comfortable, start weight-training at the gym.



Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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