With so many options for cardio equipment out there, how do you decide what is best for your needs? If you are trying to decide on a new piece of exercise equipment, you’ll want to consider a recumbent bike.
A recumbent bike is a type of stationary bike where you are in a seated position with a slight recline. This recumbent position serves a few different features, and this article will look at the 10 benefits that come from a recumbent bike.
Biking is A Tremendous Cardiovascular Workout
Some of the fittest people on earth are cyclists. Biking is an ideal form of cardiovascular exercise and a recumbent bike gives you this excellent exercise choice. Cycling not only works your legs, but it is also a core strengthening exercise as your upper body needs to be supported in position during the workout.
Most people don’t realize that cycling can get your heart rate up nearly as high as running does–without the joint and tendon issues. Cycling can also burn around 400 calories an hour making it an ideal choice to not only get fit but lose weight too.
A Recumbent Bike Is Easier on Your Back
Biking is clearly a great exercise choice, but a regular upright bike–regular or stationery–can still put pressure on the back due to the position of the upper body. The recumbent bike takes aways this issue with the declined seating position.
Fatigue can set in on a regular bike causing you to hunch your back over the handlebars for better support. This causes a lot of pressure on the lumbar spine. Fortunately, this issue is taken away with the recumbent bike as when fatigue sets in, you still have the seat back to keep you supported.
The recumbent bike is the ideal choice for seniors, those with back injuries, or anyone needing a good workout without unneeded pressure on the back.
You Can Exercise at Any Time
As great as cycling is outdoors, you are pretty limited to when you can do it. Safety is so paramount that exercising at night isn’t really an option. Then there are the weather conditions. If there is any form of inclement weather–cycling is probably not the best option.
The big advantage of a recumbent bike is that you can exercise at any time of day you like, and don’t have to worry about the conditions outside. This makes it easier to keep a consistent exercise schedule. If you like to exercise in the morning–and want to continuously do that–a rainy day could throw off your biking plans. With the recumbent bike in your home, nothing will get in the way of your workouts, and this consistency is a key factor in producing results.
Less Pressure on Your Joints
This is one of the big benefits of any form of cycling–but especially the recumbent bike. Running can be a great workout, but the constant pounding of the joints on the hard surfaces–or a on a treadmill–can cause real wear over time. With a recumbent bike, you take away that pressure and impact from your joints and tendons–specifically in your knees and ankles.
This will allow you to exercise for a longer duration–or at a higher intensity–compared to other activities where you might have to stop short because of the discomfort. Those with varying forms of arthritis are also recommended to use a recumbent bike by the Arthritis Foundation. so they are the ideal choice for anyone with joint issues who don’t want to stop exercising.
A Recumbent Bike Takes Up less Room
There are other great cardio machine options out there like treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, and multigyms–but those take up a lot of room. If you are limited for space, you might not have the option of having these bigger pieces of equipment.
A recumbent bike is compact, does not take up a lot of room, and can be stored in the corner of a room. They are the ideal choice for those in smaller settings or apartments. Some varieties can also fold up, and have wheels, meaning you can pull out the bike when you are ready to use it, then store it away to keep more open space.
A More Affordable Option
Fitness equipment isn’t always affordable. Like most things you get what you pay for, and it’s not worth buying a treadmill that’s too cheap just to have it break in a few months. Compared to bigger pieces of cardio equipment, a recumbent bike is a more affordable option. It is ideal for those on a budget, or who want to add a simple piece of cardio equipment to a home gym set up.
Some people also like them in conjunction with a gym membership. Being able to do your cardio at home is a great option and it will be an affordable add-on to your gym membership.
You Can Build Stronger Bones
We often think of cycling as a purely cardiovascular activity. Not only is it strengthening the muscle of the legs, but the motion of peddling can improve bone density. This makes it a great option for seniors, or those suffering from osteoporosis.
Peddling is able to strengthen the bones because of the act of pushing the pedals puls on the surrounding muscles. Those muscles that are being pulled then pull on the bones they are attached to. This is one of the key factors in improving bone density and it’s why it’s so important for seniors–and everyone–to exercise. A recumbent bike provides that safe, low-impact exercise to option that is not only beneficial cardiovascular-wise, but to improve bone health too.
A Recumbent Bike is a Great Option For Those With Neurological Conditions
Some people have neurological issues that can affect balance. In many situations, there are no other physical problems and they can exercise normally. But any potential for balance or disorientation can be potentially dangerous if you are running on a treadmill or elliptical machine. Even an upright stationary bike can become a hazard.
A recumbent bike provides a safe solution for anyone with these issues. The supported and reclined position will help to support a person experiencing any form of neurological episodes. The recumbent bike is also extremely stable so it won’t jostle the body and brain too much.
They Are Great for All Ability Levels
Anyone from kids to seniors can use a recumbent bike. You don’t even need to know how to ride a bike to get the benefits from one. This lends itself well to multiple members in the same household making it a truly universal piece of cardio equipment. There isn’t a learning curve to them, as you just have to sit down and peddle. You can watch TV, listen to music, or even read knowing you are supported and safe.
Whether you are a high-end athlete or have mobility issues, everyone can still use and benefit from a recumbent bike.
A Recumbent Bike is Beneficial For Those of Varying Sizes
Some cardio equipment can be difficult to use if you are taller, shorter, or have a larger weight capacity. This can make them difficult to operate, or even get set up in. Those with a larger weight capacity can benefit from a recumbent bike as they tend to have a larger capacity than an upright stationary bike. Many of the machines can hold up to 300 pounds and even more.
Those who are overweight can turn to a recumbent bike to not only accommodate them, but allow them to exercise safely and effectively. Their weight is also better supported in the recumbent position and there is again the lack of impact on joints and ligaments.
Conclusion/Personal Trainer Tips
An important tip when using a recumbent bike is to make sure to warm up on it at a light resistance for at least 5-10 minutes. This will activate the muscles, increase blood flow, and get the heart rate up. Just as important, it’s effective to finish with a 5 minute cool down. Drop down the resistance and lighten the pace for that last 5 minutes. If you are going at an intense pace, and just stop, blood can pool in the muscles leading to cramping and other issues.
The cooldown should be gradual and comfortable to help return you to a more regular heart rate. Stretching after using a recumbent bike is important as you will have used a lot of the muscle in the lower body. Make sure to hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds and avoid bouncing to ensure the muscles are properly stretched.
Make sure to set the seat in the correct position. You want a slight bend in the knees before you begin pedaling. If you’re too far back you can put some strain on the knees and the peddling will not be comfortable. If you’re too close, you won’t be able to get full-wide strokes for an effective workout.
The recumbent bike is a great piece of cardio equipment. It works for people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities. They are more affordable than other home equipment options and are an ideal choice if you are limited for space where you live.