Do you like to exercise in a more comfortable position? If yes, then recumbent bikes could be just what you’re looking for.
Today, many people consider indoor cycling to be an effective way to stay fit and shed a few extra pounds. Moreover, since it targets large muscle groups such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes, it offers a solid cardio workout.
Scientists have been working hard to produce machines for optimal fitness, considering the muscle groups targeted, posture, and comfort while exercising. Recumbent bikes are an excellent example of such devices; they are one of the most popular cardiovascular and lower body workouts options.
In this article, I will help you understand what precisely recumbent bikes are. I will also acquaint you with their multitude of benefits and show why you should consider using one for your workout sessions.
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What is a recumbent bike?
A recumbent bike is an exercise bike that the user rides in a reclined position. Thus, they will be able to read their favorite magazine or watch television while exercising. This, in turn, could encourage them to stay on the bike for a more extended period of time without getting bored. Since you must exercise long enough to get all the benefits of a workout session, this is a handy feature. (However, remember that you must not let these luxuries lower the intensity of your workout.)
By virtue of their reclined position, recumbent bikes make many people feel much more comfortable than other similar exercise equipment. Unlike upright stationary models that can be hard on one’s body, they generally have chair-like seats with excellent lumbar support and comfy cushioning. Thus, as you lean back to cycle, they will relieve pressure from your back. Moreover, this kind of seated biking is easier on your hips, knees, and ankles because you exert less downward pressure than you do when seated upright.
Recumbent bikes are an excellent way to get started if you are a first-time rider or new to cardio in general, whether you go for a stationary bike or one that you can ride outdoors. These bikes are recommendable for experienced exercisers as well. You can tailor your workout to meet your fitness goals by increasing their resistance, cycling backward, or varying your pedaling speed.
What are the benefits of indoor cycling in general?
Health experts consider cycling to be one of the most effective kinds of exercise in existence. Indeed, there aren’t many forms of exercise that can compete with it in that regard. It doesn’t matter whether you hit the trails on a mountain bike, ride a road bike, cycle for transport, or work out on a stationary exercise bike – all of them will give you a wide range of health benefits. These include improved fitness, increased burning of fat, more muscular and toned legs, and better health overall.
If you ride a bike outdoors, you will have to deal with poorly maintained roads, unfavorable weather, and other people on the road. Moreover, you could be faced with an unexpected puncture or some other mechanical breakdown. By using an indoor exercise bike, you will not only evade the hassles of outdoor cycling but work out with optimal comfort as well. If you prefer to work out with others in a structured environment, indoor cycling is a great option.
However, keep in mind that indoor cycling is no ride in the park (pun intended). It may be a relatively low-impact workout, but these cycling sessions can potentially get quite intense. Therefore, if you have any medical problems, are out of shape, or are pregnant, you should talk to your doctor and instructor first. They can help adjust the workout program according to your requirements.
Recumbent Bike vs. Upright Bike
When going through the market, you will find stationary bikes in an upright (traditional) or recumbent (laidback) position. Both of them are easier on your joints compared to other cardio equipment such as treadmills. Whether you choose to go for a recumbent or an upright bike depends on the level of comfort you seek. I’ve compared their differences in the table below:
|Recumbent bikes||Upright bikes|
|Reclined body position||Upright body position|
|Full back support||Limited support for the upper body|
|Bigger seat||Smaller seat|
|Pedals are located in front of the body||Pedals are located under the body|
|Comfortable sitting position||Upright seated position|
|Lesser muscle fatigue and upper body tension||More chances of causing upper body tension and muscle fatigue|
|Focused lower body and cardiovascular exercise||Whole-body and cardiovascular exercise|
Despite these differences, recumbent and upright bikes are pretty similar in their weight loss potentials. The amount of calories that you can burn depends not only on the exercise machines you use but the duration of your workout session and the settings you choose. It all comes down to what you are ready to put into your workout and how hard you’re willing to work.
If you want to decide which of the above bikes will be the best for your needs, take a look at the benefits of recumbent bikes below.
Benefits of using a recumbent bike
We often wonder whether it is possible to keep ourselves in great shape while exercising lightly (or hardly at all) and putting in minimal effort. However, fitness follows the same law of nature that applies to everything else – what you gain is proportional to what you invest. Therefore, to get the body you want, you will have to put in an equal amount of effort.
That said, a recumbent bike can make a seemingly low effort remarkably effective. So let’s take a look at the significant benefits you can avail of by using one of these exercise machines.
Easier on your back
One of the most critical advantages of recumbent bikes is that they are relatively easy on your lower back because of the positioning of your body supported by the bike. As a result, you will be able to spend much more time in your workout session.
Although an upright bike is as good as a recumbent bike for a cardio workout, it has the rider hunched over the handlebars. This position will eventually lead to back pain and could even negatively impact your natural posture. At the very least, it will limit the time you can spend on your workout. Therefore, it is essential to maintain the correct spinal posture that you can get by using a recumbent bike.
Gentle on your joints
Recumbent bikes are notable for being gentle on all your joints. Their large bucket seat comfortably supports your lower back, and your knees and ankles are protected from trauma even during the most intense workout sessions. Also, unlike upright bikes, you don’t need to put your entire body weight on the pedals.
As a result, your workout session will become more effective without subjecting your joints to unnecessary stress. In addition, you’ll never wake up sore after using one of these bikes. By virtue of this attribute, they are a great option if you’re working out after recovering from an injury. You will also experience a much more fluid cycling movement when you work out on a recumbent bike.
Moreover, this quality makes recumbent bikes a good choice for obese or elderly individuals who still want a quality cardio workout. As we get older, joint pain can prove to be a significant challenge while exercising. Similarly, obesity makes it harder to move around when working out. A recumbent bike, on the other hand, only requires you to pedal in a comfortable position.
Recumbent bikes are relatively low impact and significantly lower the risk of pain while still allowing you to burn calories and build strength. As a result, they can be readily used by people of all age groups and fitness levels. In addition, they are an excellent option for people with rheumatoid arthritis because their reclining position allows your weight to be spread more evenly over the back and buttocks.
Admit it or not, we humans are really good at avoiding doing things we don’t enjoy. It serves as the perfect excuse to do something else. If your exercise bike is uncomfortable, you have an excellent justification for skipping your workout session and sitting eating chips in front of the television. Never underestimate the importance of comfort in producing and maintaining a sustainable exercise schedule.
As I mentioned in the table above, recumbent bikes are much more comfortable than their upright cousins. Their large seat offers a much more relaxed workout position, unlike the small seat available on upright bikes. Recumbent bikes’ seats are also mounted low and are thus more stable. For some people, the higher seating position of upright could be somewhat scary.
By virtue of this comfort factor, you will be able to extend your workout session by a significant margin. They make the user more likely to return and receive the health benefits they deserve for their hard work. If you look forward to working out, you will perform better and achieve better overall results.
Generally speaking, recumbent bikes are relatively safer than uprights. This is because they don’t allow you to stand on the pedals – something that many upright bike users do to boost the intensity of their workouts. Unfortunately, this technique can potentially lead to injuries as well. Thus, by eliminating it, recumbent bikes guarantee a safer workout session for their users.
A wholesome solution for all levels of fitness
It might sound too good to be true, but recumbent bikes indeed are a wholesome solution for all fitness levels. Whether you are a newcomer seeking to improve fitness or a professional athlete, you can effectively use a recumbent bike for working out. These bikes also work well for all age groups without putting excessive strain on aching joints. Even people having debilitating health issues can have a comfortable workout session on a recumbent bike.
Depending on your requirements, recumbent bikes offer a wide range of workout options. For example, they allow you to add upper body weights if you’re aiming for a more heavy session. You can try out everything from the easy flat slope to the more challenging and formidable uphill marathon.
On the other hand, upright indoor bikes put your entire body weight on the pedals, thus decreasing the effort. Doing the same thing on a recumbent bike will have a much more efficient workout minus the strain to your ankles and knees.
When you’re working out on an upright indoor bike, you need to keep your hands on the handle all the time. However, by virtue of their bucket seat, recumbent bikes allow your hands to be free. As a result, you will be able to play your favorite games, read a book, or text your friends while exercising. It allows for multitasking and offers a much more satisfying experience.
Strengthening your muscles
Upright stationary bikes typically target your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and lower legs. Recumbent bikes target the same muscle groups but slightly different angles to produce a unique strengthening effect. Certain researchers have found that riders using recumbent bikes manage to target more muscles. As long as you’re physically fit, you will have very fruitful workout sessions by spending time on both recumbent and upright bikes at different times.
You must always make sure to build up your fitness regime slowly, increasing the intensity gradually. If you haven’t worked out in a while or have any pre-existing medical condition, don’t forget to consult your doctor before starting any fitness routine. By using a recumbent bike, you can effectively increase cardio fitness and shed a few pounds without the risk of aggravating any pre-existing medical condition.
Recumbent bikes provide excellent aerobic exercises that involve some of the largest muscle groups, which have already been listed above. In addition, people who regularly work out on these bikes experience an increase in their heart and lung function, decreased blood pressure, and reduced risk of lung disorders.
Who should consider using a recumbent bike?
You’re now familiar with the various benefits of recumbent bikes. As you can see, they are ideal for people having back pain or limited mobility. However, they also enjoy significant popularity among professional riders in peak physical form. After all, they have been designed to prevent the literal pain in the back that some users experience with upright indoor bikes.
You are less likely to suffer muscle soreness the day after using a recumbent bike. They are easy to mount and dismount because of their low seat and because you don’t need to climb onto the bike. They offer a whole different level of support to help you maintain the correct posture. Although they are less efficient at burning calories than upright indoor bikes, they can still be quality tools for weight loss.
Recumbent bikes are also a good option for pregnant women. They offer a solid aerobic workout session without stressing your joints further. In addition, it is much safer than riding a bike outside; you needn’t worry about falling when your center of gravity starts to shift with your growing abdomen. Unless you have problems with your pregnancy, your doctor will likely let you continue with your indoor cycling class.
Safety tips when using recumbent bikes
Recumbent bikes offer a much safer experience than riding a bike out on the road. However, there are still a few safety concerns you need to be aware of:
- If you work out for an extended period of time or maintain an inappropriate posture when cycling, you could suffer from muscle fatigue or injury.
- If you don’t balance yourself properly, you could fall off the bike and get injured.
- To stay safe when working out on a recumbent bike, bear the following tips in mind when exercising:
- Make sure you position your body correctly and maintain the proper form. If you aren’t sure about the correct position or form, approach a qualified personal trainer for help.
- If you happen to develop any pain or muscle aches from cycling, take a break to give your body enough time to recover.
- Never exert yourself beyond your limits, especially when you’re cycling in a group class. Don’t push yourself too hard to keep up with the group. It can be especially hazardous if you are new to exercising.
- If you have issues with your blood pressure, balance, or heart health, consult your doctor to make sure a stationary bike workout is safe for you.
Best Recumbent Bikes to Buy
Indoor cycling can help you meet your fitness goals regardless of the weather outside. Apart from its numerous cardiovascular benefits, a recumbent bike can help you lose weight, burn body fat, and boost your muscle strength while being easy on your joints. Before purchasing a bike, consider your fitness goals, budget, physical limitations, and space available. Also, bear in mind that you will need time to get used to this unique form of cycling. With patience and perseverance, though, it is definitely worth the effort.
Last update on 2021-09-20 using Amazon Product Advertising API