Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Elliptical Trainer vs The Exercise Bike

The exercise bike has been a staple in health clubs and gyms for decades. The elliptical trainer on the other hand is relatively new, but it has quickly become a favourite of exercisers of all ages. At my gym, there is usually a waiting list to use the elliptical trainers.

Both the elliptical trainer and the exercise bike give you a terrific cardiovascular workout. Let’s review the elliptical trainer versus the exercise bike to see how it compares!

The elliptical trainer and the exercise bike both provide a low impact workout.

If you have ever tried an elliptical trainer at your gym, you may have been impressed by the smooth gliding action of the machine. The elliptical (oval shaped) motion lets you experience a full range of motion, but the smooth action keeps your joints supple.

The exercise bike is also a low impact exercise. Riding an exercise bike allows even people with back pain to exercise because it does not jar the spine like some other forms of exercise. In fact, rehabilitation specialists will often recommend the exercise bike to people who have joint issues or who are rehabilitating after surgery.

Both machines minimize the force on your knees, ankles and feet.

Both the elliptical trainer and exercise bike are great for beginners.

If you’re just starting out exercising, you won’t find an easier exercise to get used to than the exercise bike. It mimics the action of riding a bike, so even beginners feel comfortable within a few minutes of getting on the machine. Resistance levels can be adjusted, so that you can choose a very low level of resistance when just starting out.

Nevertheless, the elliptical trainer is also terrific for beginners because it mimics the same movement you use in walking, so you will find it easy to learn and use. The resistance level on the elliptical is also easy to adjust and change. Experiment a little bit to find the level that’s right for you.

The elliptical trainer with handlebars provides a great cross training work out versus the exercise bike.

Probably one of the biggest advantages of the elliptical trainer versus the exercise bike is its ability to give you a cross training workout. The handlebars give you the ability to work out many of the muscles of your upper body at the same time that you are working your legs. Many people choose the elliptical trainer over most other types of cardio equipment because you can get the best overall workout for your time.

The elliptical trainer and the exercise bike both allow you to reverse direction.

Don’t just get stuck in fast forward when you’re exercising. A great benefit of both the exercise bike and elliptical trainer is your ability to move your legs in a backward motion on the elliptical and to pedal backwards on the exercise bike. You may not realize that reversing the motion actually engages different muscles in your legs, thereby giving your legs a better all around workout.

The elliptical trainer provides a weight bearing workout versus the exercise bike, which does not.

Another benefit of the elliptical trainer is its ability to provide you with a weight bearing workout. Weight bearing exercise is important for protecting against muscle and bone loss, particularly as you age. Many fitness experts agree that weight bearing exercises are the best way for you to also improve your conditioning, strengthen your muscles and burn more calories efficiently.

The exercise bike is much smaller and less expenses versus the elliptical trainer.

If you are considering which piece of equipment to purchase for your home gym, space is typically a consideration. Exercise bikes take up less space than elliptical trainers do, so it may be a better choice if you have limited space.

In addition, you can usually get a decent exercise bike for a few hundred dollars less than a good quality elliptical machine. Remember to shop around to get the best price!

The exercise bike can help you build up your leg muscles.

If you are training for a specific purpose or sport, exercise bikes can be used to help you build up your quadriceps and calves. To achieve muscle building on the bike, you need to progressively increase your resistance on a regular basis. However, you are probably better off using the exercise bike for your cardiovascular benefits and using weight training for your muscle building.

Which is best?

The best way for you to evaluate which machine is right for you is to try them out. Of course, if you have a health club membership you can use a different machine for each of your workouts. However, if you’re planning a home based gym, you need to try each machine to see which works best for you. Hopefully, some of the differences pointed out in this article will assist you in your decision!

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Schwinn Exercise Bikes - Top Five Reasons to Choose One

I like Schwinn exercise bikes mainly because I've used mine for ten plus years and it's been trouble free and fun to use for all that time. This brand of bike is popular for just that reason. Schwinn has a well deserved reputation for selling quality machines at a reasonable price. Here are five reasons for choosing a Schwinn.

1. The Schwinn Airdyne

This is the classic that made Schwinn famous in the exercise bike field. This is the model I own. The current Airdyne is just about like the old one I use. These things have been used in gyms and rehab centers for nearly forty years and the reason they're still basically the same is they work. This is a dual action bike that works your arms and your legs. The resistance is a fan. You pedal and pump which turns a fan providing resistance. The faster you go the more resistance. These bikes are heavy, simple and they last. They're in a category all alone as an exercise bike classic.

2. Many Models

If you want another type of bike Schwinn has it too. You can get a well made upright bike for a reasonable price. And the company has some of the very best moderate priced recumbent models. They also specialize in the "indoor cycle" bikes which are upscale machines with regular bicycle components made to function much like a regular bike.

3. The Recumbent Exercise Bike Value Leader

A recumbent bike is more comfortable for many people especially folks with back challenges. The Schwinn Model 230 series is a very popular bike. It is a good example of a Schwinn machine that is high quality but at a very moderate price. This machine has several workout programs on the built in computer and is ultra quiet with the magnetic resistance system. This model you can ride and still listen to music or even read a book.

4. Get All Kinds Of Buyer Feedback

There are so many Schwinn bikes sold on the Internet that there is plenty of feedback available. For example, on Amazon you can often find dozens of feedbacks on several of the more popular models. Find out what actual owners think and learn what people like and don't like right on the Internet.

5. Save By Buying It Online

An exercise bike is easy to buy online. You can quickly do comparison shopping as you get price information and read testimonials or complaints. Then several sellers offer deep discounts on price plus free shipping. So just in s few days you have your bike with no expensive driving around and hassle.

I'm a fan of Schwinn exercise bikes based on my long-term positive experiences with mine. I'm a former auto industry engineer and I am very picky when it comes to quality in machinery. My bike is one of my all-time favorite machines!

By Al Bullington

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