Whether you’re a committed athlete looking for a no-impact form of cross-training, or you need a simple way to get started on your fitness goals, there are a lot of reasons to choose a recumbent bike. Here are just a few of the benefits:
Comfort. The recumbent bike offers a natural seated position that makes your workout easier on your neck, shoulders, knees, and low back. This is a big advantage if you know that these areas are injury prone, or if you plan on watching television or reading while you work out. The low-to-the-ground design of these bikes simplifies getting on and off the machine. This comfort continues throughout the workout, since recumbent bikes feature large comfortable seats that won’t leave you experiencing the saddle soreness that can come with other types of cycling.
No Impact Cross Training. If you’re looking for a way to cross train without increasing your risk of impact related injuries, the recumbent bike is a great choice. You can use the many pre-programmed settings to vary your speed and resistance levels to optimize your cardiovascular challenge, while sparing your feet and knees from pounding on your active recovery days. The seated position of the recumbent bike also brings your glutes into the equation, improving both your power and your posture on your next run.
Motivation. Using the many features on the console of your recumbent bike can help to keep you motivated to stick to your training plan. Many feature integrated music that can keep your energy high, heart rate monitors that allow you to customize your effort levels and pre-set programs that take the guess work out of designing your workout. If you’re looking to keep your energy and motivation high, you’ll want to seek out some of these benefits when researching your options for a recumbent bike. With a comfortable ride and motivating music and settings, you can work-out longer and harder, getting you to your fitness goals.
While recumbent bikes have a lot of advantages, they aren’t for everyone. The movement is different from an upright cycle, so if you’re looking to complement your road races with some indoor training, you might want to look into a bike that fits with that. Additionally, these bikes can sometimes take up a bit more floor space than upright models, so consider the dimensions of your room before purchasing. Lastly, make sure you’re pushing yourself at the right level to meet your goals. The calorie burn for cycling on a recumbent bike is actually similar to other forms of cardiovascular exercise, but you do need to keep the resistance and speed high enough to challenge your fitness.
Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. To find out more, visit the Meet Our Writers page.