I am thinking of buying a stationary bike for my home. How often should I use it per week? Will it provide me with a balanced workout?
Buying a stationary bike is a great idea. Biking regularly will help improve your cardiovascular fitness and leg strength. That said, if you want your workout regime to be balanced, make sure you also do flexibility training, strength training and some type of low- to moderate-impact cardiovascular activity.
Including resistance training and cardiovascular workouts that involve moderate impact, like walking or jogging, will help build bone density. As an added benefit, the variety will help ward off boredom and decrease the likelihood that you will reach a fitness plateau.
Here's a sample week of a balanced regime:
- Tuesday and Thursday: Thirty minutes of intervals on the bike. Warm-up for five minutes and then do twenty “pick-ups” – alternate 15 seconds at a higher resistance level and fast pedal speed, with 45 seconds at a lower resistance and regular pedal speed. Cool down for five minutes.
- Sunday: Forty-five minutes on the bike, at a moderate pace. On a scale of one to 10, your perceived level of exertion should be a six.
- Monday and Friday: Walk or jog outside for 30 minutes and do 30 minutes of resistance training. One example of this kind of exercise is the walking lunge: Start standing, take a big step forward with your right leg and bend both knees so that your body moves toward the floor. Engage the bum muscle of the front leg to straighten your legs. Step forward with the left leg and repeat the lunge, 10 to 20 times. Make sure your toes stay facing forward and that your front knee does not cave inward.
- Stretch after all your workouts.
I enjoy stretching over the Swiss ball to counteract the forward leaning position that biking requires. To do an extension stretch over the Swiss ball, start by sitting on the ball. Walk your body forward so that your bum moves towards the floor. Let your upper body and arms fall backward over the ball. Hold that position for 10 to 15 seconds.
Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.
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