Avoid These 9 Exercise Bike Mistakes
If you are like many people, riding a bike comes naturally for you. This is especially true when it comes to riding exercise bikes – you might think you simply hop on and start pedaling. You may not realize that you can actually make mistakes while riding an exercise bike. In fact, making some mistakes can reduce the effectiveness of your workout and even lead to injuries.
Here are nine of the most common exercise bike mistakes:
9 Mistakes to Avoid for Best Results on Your Exercise Bike
Mistake 1: Riding an improperly adjusted bike.
Using an improperly adjusted exercise bike can negate the benefits of indoor riding; it can also increase your risk of injury. Riding in a saddle that is too high forces your knees to overextend, which could injure your knees, hips, and back. Riding on a seat that is too low can strain your lower back and knees.
Mistake 2: Forgetting to breathe.
Proper breathing is the foundation of all aerobic exercise, including riding an exercise bike. Every time you inhale, your lungs bring in oxygen that the muscles of your body use as fuel.
To explain it further, your lungs bring in oxygen every time you inhale. Your muscles use this oxygen to break down sugar in your bloodstream, known as blood glucose, to create energy that your muscles use as fuel. During exercise, your hard-working muscles need extra fuel and this increases your muscles’ demand for oxygen. Your body responds by increasing your respiratory rate and heart rate. Faster breathing brings more oxygen into the body, while a faster heart rate speeds the delivery of oxygen to the muscles.
The average set of lungs move about one-half liter of air with each breathe when the body is at rest, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), but a pair of lungs can move as much as 3 liters per breath during vigorous exercise.
Breathe in and out through your nose during low- to moderate-intensity workouts, and breathe through your mouth during high-intensity spinning. Deep, slow breaths helps calm your body and aid in recovery during cool down and stretching.
Mistake 3: Working out with poor form.
Using poor form while riding can cause soreness and muscle fatigue. Poor riding posture can also prevent the muscles in your body from getting all the oxygen they need to burn glucose.
Maintain a relaxed posture while sitting in the saddle. Keep your buttocks on the seat and bend your knees slightly. Rest your hands gently on the handlebars to keep the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and arms relaxed.
Your body has an easier time drawing air into your lungs when you are upright. Leaning squeezes your lungs to decrease the amount of air you can inhale. Rounded shoulders and a forward head posture also cause the muscles around your chest to tighten, further restricting airflow into your lungs.
Mistake 4: Leaning on the handles too much.
Leaning on the handles too much can cause cyclist’s palsy, also known as handlebar palsy or ulnar neuropathy. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, weakness, clumsiness, cramping, and pain, according to Physiopedia, and the condition can even prevent you from moving your wrist well.
The symptoms of cyclist’s palsy are the result of pressure to the ulnar nerve, which is a nerve that passes from your spinal cord into your hand. The condition can develop after overtraining or by leaning on your handlebars too much.
Mistake 5: Not using the resistance or using it too much.
Using the right amount of resistance helps you build muscle mass. Many exercise bicyclists prefer speed to resistance, so they avoid using tension altogether. The main drawback is that they miss the muscle-building potential of using resistance on an exercise bike. Other cyclists use too much tension and put themselves at risk for injuring their knees or damaging their bikes. Adding too much resistance also makes the pedals difficult to turn, which takes all the fun and benefit of riding an exercise bike.
Mistake 6: Wearing the wrong gear.
Jeans and flip-flops might be appropriate for a bike ride in the park, but they are a bad choice in clothing while riding your exercise bike. Jeans can prevent you from moving your legs freely enough to move the pedals; flip-flops may slip off the pedals completely.
Wearing a light, breathable shirt will help keep you cool. Opt for non-baggy, comfortable clothing that allows you to move your body freely. Wear shoes that grip the pedals. Ladies may opt to wear a good sports bra.
Mistake 7: Not hydrating during your workout.
Water regulates your body temperature, helps transport nutrients to working muscles, and lubricates your joints. A dehydrated body cannot perform at optimal levels. In fact, losing just 2 percent of your body weight to dehydration can impair sports performance, according to Human Kinetics, and losing just 5 percent of body weight to dehydration can cut performance by as much as 30 percent.
Your body loses a lot of water during the course of a normal day, and particularly during intense activity. You can lose up to one quart of water during an hour of exercise, depending on the intensity of exercise and air temperature.
To avoid dehydration during your workout, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends that you drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Specifically, ACE suggests that you consume between 17 and 20 ounces of liquid 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising and swallowing another 8 ounces of fluids 20 to 30 minutes during your warm-up. Down another 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes as you ride your exercise bike, and drink 8 ounces of water within a half hour of riding.
Mistake 8: Skipping post-workout stretching.
Cooling down from a workout is just as important as warming up for one. Skipping the post-workout stretch could increase your risk of blood pooling in your lower extremities and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Cooling down reduces your risk of injuries and improve muscle recovery.
Post-exercise stretches help your body take advantage of the “feel good” hormones associated with exercise.
Your cool down session should fill the final 15 minutes of your workout, according to ACE. Include static stretches, where you hold the stretch for about 30 seconds; focus on your leg muscles and other muscle groups used while riding an exercise bike.
Mistake 9: Not maintaining your bike.
Your ProForm exercise bike is a technically advanced machine that, when properly maintained, can help you stay in top physical shape. Exercising on a broken exercise bike can prevent you from getting the most out of your exercise routine. Keep your ProForm in top mechanical shape with regular maintenance.
In conclusion, before you hop on your exercise bike, take a moment to adjust and maintain your bike, put on the right clothes, and drink the appropriate amount of water. While you ride, maintain correct posture and breathe deep and end your exercise with a proper cool down. Avoiding these nine exercise bike mistakes can help you optimize your workout, avoid injuries, and feel good all around for achieving the ultimate workout experience!
DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. ProForm assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.