When the weather is nice, I like to take daily walks for a bit of exercise and for general health, both physical and mental. There have been some indications that 30 minutes of walking or jogging 5 days a week may even help keep Alzheimer’s at bay. See here and here, for example. When I was working, I usually spent my lunch hour walking around the city with some friends, but I slacked off once I didn’t have that structure any more.
But I’m definitely a fair-weather walker. When it’s snowy, rainy, or just too hot or cold, I have a lot of trouble motivating myself to get out of the house.
I don’t have a lot of room for exercise equipment in my house, so I really hadn’t wanted to get a treadmill or exercise bike. There are some gyms within a few miles, but my track record isn’t very good at attending gyms unless I have someone to go with, and meet on a regular schedule.
I had tried doing some step aerobics, but just stepping up and down was too boring, and any aerobic routines tended to end up hurting my back.
Something inspired me to see if I could find some sort of compact exercise bike that would be reasonably decent. After a bit of searching, I found this Exerpeutic folding semi-recumbent bike. It’s sold as the 400XL on Amazon, and as the 300SR at Walmart. These are evidently the same bikes – the Exerpeutic 1110. The company has different model numbers for different markets – in fact, the video at Amazon even shows it as the 300SR. The reviews were excellent, and the price was great, so I decided to go for it. When I bought mine a few weeks ago, the price at both Amazon and Walmart was $149 with free shipping. Today Amazon has it listed at $135.99. I like the semi-recumbent style with the backrest, since I think it’s a little easier on my back. But they do also make an upright version as well.
It seemed perfect – it only weighs around 40 pounds, has a small footprint, and can even be folded up and rolled away into a closet if necessary, so I bought it. It took us about half an hour to unpack and assemble it. Assembly wasn’t difficult, but there were just a lot of bolts and screws that you had to remove, put pieces together, then put the screws/bolts back in place. All the necessary tools were provided.
My biggest hesitation with purchasing this bike was that some reviews seemed to indicate that it might not give me enough leg extension. I’m slightly above average height for a woman (used to be 5′ 7″, but I think I’ve shrunk half an inch in the last decade), but I have an average length torso with long legs, so my inseam is 32″. My husband is only about half an inch shorter than me, but his inseam is 2″ shorter because he has a long torso with short legs. The bike claims to be usable for people up to 6’2″ (6’3″ for the upright version). While a really tall person could probably use the bike, I don’t think they’d get the proper amount of leg extension, and it could potentially give them some knee problems.
Because I wasn’t sure if it would work for me, I bought mine from Walmart, so that I could easily return it to the store if I didn’t like it. But it turned out to be fine! I have the seat at the highest position, and I think I get just barely enough leg extension. I would probably prefer it with another 1/2″ of distance, but if the seat had one more height adjustment, it might actually be too much. For anyone with a longer inseam, though, it might not be quite enough length. The upright version apparently gives more extension, so that might be a better option for taller people.
I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now. So far, I’ve been very impressed and pleased. It appears to be well-built, and with the magnetic resistance, it is SILENT. There’s a great range of resistance – I’ve only been using it on level 2 (out of 8), and pedaling at around 12-14 mph. I’ll probably increase my resistance to 3 pretty soon, but I can’t imagine ever needing to go up to the maximum. The pedaling action is very smooth.
I have it set up by an old computer so that I can watch DVDs or videos if I want. I found an awesome bike training video on Youtube. It’s a beautiful ride through Germany. Unlike most of the bike training videos I looked at, it’s shot from a car instead of a bike helmet cam, so the video is very smooth. I can turn it on and take a lovely ride through the countryside while listening to music or an audiobook.
So far, it’s a winner! Though I’m still looking forward to getting outside in the nicer weather. I bought a membership to my local botanical garden last fall, and it’s delightful to wander when the weather is pleasant.