Comfortable Cardio Workout
Let’s face it, we live in an exercise-obsessed culture. There are countless types of workouts, from running to rock climbing to trampoline jumping. If you don’t want to waste precious time keeping up with the latest exercise trends and are eager for a decent no-frills workout, consider purchasing a stationary exercise bike. In terms of a simple yet satisfying cardio workout, it can’t be beat.
Paradigm Health & Wellness, Inc. offers a stationary bike that will appeal to both the amateur athlete and hard-core fitness enthusiast. This company, based in Southern California, aims to create top-notch fitness equipment for the home, such as the Exerpeutic 400XL folding recumbent stationary bike.
Why Choose a Stationary Bike?
There are plenty of advantages to using a stationary bike.
- Perhaps the most obvious is that it offers a familiar and easy routine. (Just about everyone knows how to pedal a bike!)
- It’s weatherproof! You can exercise in your home while it storms outside.
- It’s so convenient. You can work out at any hour of the day.
- It’s cost-effective! The price of a bike equals a month or so of gym fees.
Imagine this: It’s quitting time on a wintry Friday afternoon. You’re tired, cold and can’t wait to leave the office; you aren’t in the mood to be social. When you get home, you want to unwind. It’s the perfect time to change into sweats and take a spin on an exercise bike! There is no hassle or pressure, just your workout, your way. (You can even watch TV or read while you pedal!)
Two Types of Stationary Exercise Bikes
There are two styles of stationary bikes, upright and recumbent. Let’s start with the one that’s been around the longest.
Upright Stationary Bikes
An upright bike is what you probably picture when you think of traditional bike riding. You are perched above the bike frame with your legs hanging straight down. The seat is likely to be a triangular-shaped cushion and relatively small. In most cases, the rider needs to lean forward at a slight angle to grasp the handlebars, gently curving the back and neck.
- The traditional design will put riders at ease.
- In the upright position, indoor riding strengthens the same muscles as outdoor riding for a consistent workout.
- With its upright stance, this bike takes up very little space.
- Being slightly hunched over can strain back and neck muscles.
- A small seat is more likely to cause “saddle sores.”
- More likely to have an accident because rider can stand up straight on the pedals and potentially lose their footing.
Recumbent Stationary Bikes
“Recumbent” means lying down, especially in comfort or repose. A recumbent (or semi-recumbent) bike offers a reclined body position with lower back support. The seat is a large triangular cushion and handlebars are located on either side of the seat. The rider sits at a slight backward tilt with legs stretched out in front. The handlebars are within easy grasp.
- The recumbent position is a natural posture. It’s more comfortable for the spine and gentler on the joints.
- Aches, pains and fatigue are minimized due to the seated posture.
- The larger seat is generally more comfortable because the body’s weight is spread over a larger surface area. In other words, there is less of a chance for saddle sores.
- The low impact makes this a better option for riders with ailments (joint pain, back pain etc.) and folks who are new to cycling or exercising in general.
- The overall footprint is larger than an upright bike so it takes up more floor space.
Since the tilted seating with a wider cushion is reportedly more comfortable and allows for longer and less strenuous workouts, the recumbent bike sure sounds like the best choice. The overall design enhances your workout without sacrificing safety features.
Worried about storage? Check out recumbent bikes that fold up, and can be tucked away in a closet or a corner of a room (transportation wheels are usually included for ease of movement!).
Finally, look for a bike that includes a warranty. For example, this bike comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Check out the stats for this top-selling model, the Exerpeutic 400XL:
Even though this is a compact, foldable bike, it’s loaded with top-notch, modern features.
All exercise bikes rely on tension in the pedals to determine the workout’s level of difficulty. In short, the more tension the harder the workout. In this case, there is an 8-level magnetic tension control or 8 levels of difficulty.
Magnetic tension is a highly advanced form of technology and a preferred feature of a stationary bike. To create tension (or resistance), a pair of magnets is placed on either side of the front wheel (called the flywheel). The flywheel is connected to the pedals with a belt and determines the bike’s speed. The idea is that when the tension level is increased, the magnets move towards the flywheel to create resistance (and make it harder to pedal). On the flip side, when the tension level is decreased, the magnets move away from the flywheel resulting in less resistance (and making it easier to pedal).
When talking about biking, you may have heard the word “torque,” which describes the amount of tension (or resistance) that is put on the flywheel. For a smooth ride, it is essential to have a high quality torque system so the pedals won’t suddenly stop in the middle of a workout. The folding, recumbent Exerpeutic 400XL boasts a 3 piece high-torque crank system that ensures consistent rotation at all times.
Another technological plus is the large-size (3.3”W x 1.5”H) LCD computer screen that clearly displays the following: how long you have been pedaling, the distance you’ve gone, the speed you’ve traveled, the calories you’ve burned, and your heart rate (the screen requires 2 AAA batteries). The handlebars include “pulse points” that easily monitor your heart rate.
Stability and Comfort
This is an extremely stable bike. The natural semi-reclined position makes the rider feel secure and comfortable while pedaling, especially due to the extra back support.
- Leg stabilizers keep the bike from wobbling or falling over.
- Larger than normal pedals with straps secure your feet.
- Pedals are positioned in front of you and at a downward angle to reduce the chance of knee, hip or lower back strain.
- Slightly tilted seat provides a restful position that fits a support pillow for even more comfort.
- Large-sized triangular seat evenly distributes body weight for a more balanced ride.
- Handlebars are padded for a comfortable grip.
What’s more, the folding, recumbent Exerpeutic 400xl is extremely quiet! No need to worry about waking your family or your neighbors because of the near-silent V-belt drive. You can even exercise at night while those around you are sound asleep!
Who is this Bike Perfect For?
A major benefit to incorporating modern technology on an exercise bike is that it encourages all types of users, from beginners to experts. So whether you’ve just learned about cycling or if you’ve trained for years, you will appreciate what this bike has to offer. The adjustable 8-level magnetic tension coupled with the 3-piece high torque crank system allows the rider to customize the session: you get the workout you want.
No doubt you’ve heard how you can improve your overall health by upping your heart rate for just 20 minutes every day. Regular cardiovascular exercise reportedly decreases your risk of heart disease and increases brain function. Certainly, using a stationary exercise bike is an easy, reliable way to get your blood flowing!
The bike is perfect for:
- Beginner cyclists who aren’t ready to “hit the road”
- Experienced cyclists who desire extra training at random hours
- Folks inconvenienced by weather conditions
- Injured or elderly riders looking for low-impact strengthening exercise
- Anyone wanting a safe, enjoyable cardio workout in the comfort of home
Features We Love
There’s a lot to love about the folding, recumbent Exerpeutic 400XL, but here are our favorite features:
- It’s so quiet! Thanks to the magnetic resistance technology (the magnets never touch the flywheel!) and the V-belt structure, this bike is so quiet you can watch TV while you pedal or workout at any hour without fear of disturbing others.
- It’s compact! The bike folds to half its size and can easily be moved with the transportation wheels provided. Fits into a closet or a corner of a room with no problem at all! Perfect for apartment living.
- It’s instructive! The large computer display is not only easy to read, but it provides important information (including heart rate) about your exercise routine.
- It’s adaptable! The rider can decide on just how difficult the workout should be. In this way, it’s suitable for both amateur and advanced athletes.
Features We Don't Love
- While we don’t mind that we need to assemble the bike, the instructions are over-detailed and therefore tricky to follow. To avoid frustration, we suggest watching “how-to” videos like the one below, the first in a series. .
- You cannot adjust the angle of the seat back. No doubt some riders will be OK with it as is, but you may need to add an extra cushion or a rolled up towel to achieve just the right level of comfort.
- Although the bike claims to accommodate riders up to 6’2”, we found that if you are over 6’ tall, you may have difficulty fully extending your legs when they are on the pedals.
Certainly, the folding, recumbent Exerpeutic 400xl delivers on almost every feature. We haven’t discussed price range, but it is competitively priced and is not an enormous financial investment. The compact (foldable) frame and quiet mechanics plus the fact that it can be used for an easy to difficult workout, makes it an obvious choice for many modern lifestyles.
We live in a culture that is preoccupied with exercise and finding ways to improve overall health. So if you are looking to incorporate a safe, satisfying low impact activity into your everyday routine, this is the stationary bike for you. The versatility sets this bike apart from the competition. You can exercise at any time of day and at any level of difficulty: on the days you only want to stretch your muscles, keep the tension at a low level and pedal away. But as your cycling ability increases, crank up the tension and go for it! You always have the option of stowing away the bike because it’s no trouble at all to roll it back into place and workout again—your way!