For those looking for an effective, low impact exercise that can be done on a regular basis, many choose activities such as walking or riding an exercise bike. Both are considered a moderate physical activity and are recommended by most health authorities to be performed several times per week. Is an exercise bike as good as walking? In this article, we’ll compare these two types of exercise to allow us to understand the benefits of each.
Low Impact Exercises
For those who suffer from joint or bones issues such as arthritis or osteoporosis, low impact exercise is considered ideal. Low impact exercises reduce strain on the joints and bones while allowing them to grow stronger and more accustomed to movement. Slow to brisk walking is thought of as an ideal low impact exercise, however, the faster you move the more impact that will occur. Riding an exercise bike is perhaps even better for those in need of a super low impact exercise. While regular stationary bicycles create very little impact, recumbent stationary bikes add even more support for the back, knees, and hips.
When comparing the number of calories burned by walking or riding a stationary bike it turns out that the exercise bike will burn about 25% more calories per session than slow to brisk walking. For those who are turning to exercise as a means of losing weight, it appears that over the long term, riding an exercise bike will eventually lead to more calories burned and, ideally, more weight loss. However, the difference between the two will only become significant if the activity of choice remains consistent over long periods of time and is combined with an appropriate diet.
Because the full weight of your body is being felt during the process of walking whereas an exercise bike supports a significant portion of your weight, your bones will typically benefit more from walking. The additional weight experienced while walking can reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis. That said, if your bones and joints are already in bad condition, riding a stationary bike might be a safer alternative. If an activity such as walking is too strenuous or damaging, the stationary bike can still allow you to get the exercise you need without causing further damage
Outdoor Versus Indoor Exercise
While many people find the outdoors refreshing, poor weather can cause one to rethink their exercise routine. A stationary bike, however, removes any need for dealing with the weather. Whether it’s snowing, raining, or very hot, the weather won’t have as large an effect as it would on someone who planned to go outside and walk.
The Boredom Factor
While you won’t have to worry about poor weather when it comes to riding your stationary bike, there is the possibility that the activity could become boring. Walking allows you to go to different places and see different sights, while a stationary bike, as its name suggests, will have you sitting in the same place no matter how much work you put in. However, for some people, a stationary bike allows them to catch up on TV, work or even reading. And there are now many online programs that give stationary bike users the sense that they’re actually moving through different environments.
When it comes to comparing the safety of a stationary bike versus walking, there are probably more risks outside the house than there are inside. That said, the risk of walking can be decreased with a few simple considerations. Wearing a reflective vest and facing traffic while walking can reduce the chances of any dangers posed by traffic. Before either exercise, it’s important to warm up the body and remain properly hydrated.
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