Recumbent Exercise Bike Buying Guide
What is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
One o the major reasons Recumbent Bikes are so popular is because they provide an excellent workout without the impact other types of exercise cause. Walking or running on the treadmill and elliptical are also great forms of exercise but the impact involved in these forms of exercise can be a problem for some users. The design of recumbent bikes allows the user’s back to be supported and the body is positioned in a comfortable way that doesn’t put undue strain on any of the joints.
There are several things that will e in this recumbent bike buyer’s guide that will help you narrow down the choices from the models available so you can choose one that will meet your needs and fitness goals and will provide a great way for you to exercise.
If you regularly work out in a gym, chances are they have several recumbent exercise bikes for their members to use. They are available for home gyms too and vary in style, features and price as well. Once you know what to look for, you can use that information to compare it to the recumbent bikes you are looking at purchasing.
Things to Consider Before Shopping for a Recumbent Bike
These are a few of the things that should be checked into when it comes to finding the right recumbent bike for your needs.
- What is your budget? – Knowing how much you want to spend before you start shopping is important because it can help you avoid overspending. Recumbent bikes can range in price, so decide what you have to work with and look at the choices in that price range.
- What are your fitness goals? – Are you wanting to get a recumbent bike to get in shape and lose weight or is it for injury rehabilitation? Do you need something to help train for a cycling event? The answer to this question will help you decide what kind of features you need and the style of bike as well.
- Where will you be putting the bike? – Do you have a home gym with other exercise equipment in it or will you be keeping in the bedroom, living room or den? Knowing how much space you have can help you decide how big a bike to purchase.
- How many people will be using the recumbent bike on a regular basis? If several people are going to be using it every day, you will want to look for more durable and long lasting models that have excellent warranties. Recumbent bikes are great for people who have back problems, knee problems and who are 50 pounds or more overweight but anyone can use them and benefit.
Looking at Specifications of the Recumbent Bike You Want
Every model of recumbent bike has different features and specifications that make it what it is. Which bike you get will depend on what you needs are. The main thing you should look at when it comes to your recumbent bike choice is the construction of the bike and the mechanics of it. A high quality bike will last you a good long time and provide years of exercise. The recumbent bike’s quality is made up of the frame design, comfort, seat structure, and the flywheel construction. Below these important factors about recumbent exercise bikes have been broken down and detailed so you have the knowledge you need.
Comfort makes a Difference – One of the main reasons users like recumbent bikes is because of the comfort they provide during workouts as well as how easy they are to use. Even those with back problems can use them comfortably due to the back support and design of the bike. When shopping, look for models that have several placement choices available for the seat. You don’t want to be bunched up nor struggling to reach the pedals when fully extended, so having these placement choices can help you find the right place for you to sit.
Another factor about comfort is the design of the seat itself. A wider seat will be much more comfortable than a narrow one. It will provide better lumbar support which in turn means less strain on your lower back during the workout. Make sure that the frame of the bike offers the user easy access to the seat. Having to struggle to get on and off of it is not safe and also makes it frustrating for the user as well.
The Importance of Resistance – There are many types of resistance that are available among exercise bikes. Magnetic resistance allows a greater range and more workout options for the user. It is also provides a quieter operation and will have less wear and tear on the bike also. The reason for this is the no-contact brake system that is used. Magnetic resistance also provides the user with effortless resistance level changing, just push a button and it automatically increases or decreases. Finding a bike that offers many levels of resistance is beneficial because it gives the user the ability to increase the intensity of their workouts as their fitness levels increase.
The Flywheel’s Function – The flywheel is what controls the resistance the recumbent bike has and also is a major player in how smooth and consistent the pedaling action will be. No one likes a choppy pedaling action. In general, the heavier the flywheel, the steadier the motion will be and the more powerful it will be as well. The flywheel is one of the most crucial elements of any recumbent bike, so be certain to know what the flywheel construction is on the bikes you’re considering.
Console – You want to find a console that provides you with plenty of feedback options. A feedback option is going to be a variety of information including speed, calories burned, distance gone, etc. The easier it is to read the display the more users enjoy it. It provides beneficial information concerning the workout which is great for tracking progress. The ore advanced a bike is, the ore options it will offer usually when it comes to the console functions.
In addition to feedback functions, if you are looking to lose weight, you will want to find a recumbent bike that offers workout programs that are pre-programmed. These make working out easy and you don’t have to do anything but choose the workout you want. These often also offer customized pre-programmed workout options, where you can design you own workout. The pre-programmed workouts are usually much more challenging for the user and work a variety of muscles as well as targeting cardiovascular health as well.
What Kind of Warranty does the Bike Have? – Warranties are very important for any large purchase and recumbent bikes are no exception. Look for warranties that cover parts replacement for a minimum of one year. The better the warranty is, the more long lasting and durable your bike will be and more than likely it will require much less maintenance than the bike with a very slim warranty.
Benefits of Using a Recumbent Exercise Bike
There are many notable benefits to working out on a recumbent bike. Seeing as they are one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment in gyms and fitness centers, having one at home that you can use whenever you want is a great for anyone wanting to get into shape. We have outlined the benefits in detail below.
Improves Cardiovascular Health – Aerobic exercise of any kind usually engages the large muscle groups such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, and the gluteal muscles. Recumbent biking is a great exercise to do to get your cardio requirements in. It can help to strengthen your heart and lungs and also improves your breathing too. Studies have shown that regular cardiovascular exercise can lower heart rate, lower blood pressure and improve breathing.
Increases Strength – Since the muscles of the lower body; legs, thighs and buttocks, are used more lean muscle mass is built. You will also notice that your lower extremities will gain strength and is often used for rehabilitation to help elderly recover sitting to standing and stepping up movements.
Losing Weight – When combined with a good eating plan, using the recumbent exercise bike can help users lose weight. Cardio burns fat, so riding the bike frequently each week can aide in the reduction of body fat.
Safer and More Comfortable – Because recumbent bikes have larger seats, they are much more comfortable than traditional upright stationary bikes. They provide back support as well due to the design and the semi-reclining position. This makes them easier on the knees and other joints as well.
Working Out Safely on a Recumbent Bike
Adjusting the Seat Properly – Before you even get started with your recumbent bike workout, make sure the seat is adjusted properly. Sit down on the seat and place your feet on the pedals and pedal a few times. Watch and feel the extension of your legs while you do this. You should have a slight bend in your knees when your leg is on the back side of the pedal crank. You will need to adjust your seat forward or backwards to reach this optimum positioning.
Warm up – Every workout, even on a recumbent bike, should include adequate warm up exercises. Spend about 5-10 minutes warming up using stretches, side bends, etc to warm up the muscles and loosen them up for the workout at hand. Once you have done that, spend another 5 minutes doing a light warm up on the bike itself. This will involve light, easy pedaling that you gradually increase the speed of. Resistance should be easy.
How Long Should You Exercise? – If you don’t exercise long enough on the recumbent bike, you will not get the benefits this piece of equipment can provide. If you are looking to lose weight, it is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine to shoot for 60-90 minutes of cardio five days per week. You will find that using the recumbent bike for this time frame is simple due to the lower impact and the features that are available that allow you to watch TV or listen to music while you exercise. If you are just maintaining your weight, 30 minutes, five days a week is plenty.
Resistance – There are two ways that you can increase the benefits of the recumbent bike; pedal faster or increasing the resistance. Increasing the resistance will make it harder to pedal the bike, which in turn challenges the muscles to work harder. Since they will get stronger as you continue to work out, you will have to increase your resistance periodically to keep the workouts challenging.
Using the Right Form – Proper form is always an important factor when working out on any piece of equipment. You don’t want to lean forward when pedaling; you want to ensure that your back is pressed against the backrest during the workout and push hard with your legs while pedaling. You will need to maintain this position even when your hands are on the front or side handles.
Interval Training Importance – Interval training has been a popular means of intensifying workouts for some time now. What this means when using a recumbent bike is that you will speed up the pedaling periodically for a specified amount of time and then slow down, then raise the speed again. You can also do interval training by increasing and decreasing the resistance.
Additional Tips for Getting a Good Workout
There are many things to remember when working out on a recumbent exercise bike. Ensuring that you follow these helpful tips will give you the most effective workout you can while not straining or injuring anything.
See a Doctor if You’re new to Exercising – It is always important to get the advice of a doctor if you are new to working out and have any health conditions that warrant getting their input. Especially if you have any injuries, past or present, or are more than 50 pounds overweight. It is always best to be safe rather than take a chance.
Ending the Workout Safely – When you get close to the end of your workout, the worst thing you can do is just stop and get up. Slowly start to decrease the speed and resistance of your workout as it winds to a close. This allows your muscles to cool down gradually. Doing some post workout stretches is also a good practice to get into and can prevent cramps later on.
Staying Hydrated – Water is an essential element of any good workout. Keep a water bottle handy for during the workout and be sure you are drinking plenty (but not too much) Keeping your muscles hydrated enables them to get worked without cramping or having any issues during or after the workout. This is especially important if you are sweating a lot while you workout.
Wearing the Proper Workout Gear – Wearing the right shoes and clothing is important for many reasons, safety being one of them. Never ride your recumbent bike barefoot or with just socks. Shoes should not have heels or leather soles. Tie long hair back into a pony tail and make sure that you are not wearing loose or dangling clothing that can get caught in the mechanisms accidentally. The best clothing is shorts and a t shirt or leggings and a t shirt. (Women can wear a sports bra and shorts or leggings too)
Not for Children – Children love bicycles so it is extremely important that you never leave children unattended around your recumbent exercise bike nor let them ”play” with it. Younger children are too young to “work out” but responsible teens can be taught how to use them safely and properly. When you’re not using the bike, be sure to unplug it from the wall.
Don’t Put the Recumbent Bike Outdoors – Due to the fact that this leaves it exposed to the elements, your recumbent exercise bike should be kept indoors or in a garage where it is protected from the elements and isn’t exposed to moisture or dampness. This can affect the performance and ruin the console and pedaling mechanisms.
Keeping Your Recumbent Bike in great Working Order
It is important for the longevity of your recumbent bike to keep it cleaned and maintained properly. Below are some tips to use on your own bike to keep it lasting a long time and working properly.
Cleaning after Use – Be certain to clean your exercise bike after every exercise session. Wipe down all exposed surfaces with a soft cloth and 40 parts water to one part simple green.
Inspecting Before and After Use – Giving the bike a good once over before you begin your workout will ensure that you never use it with a broken cord or other safety hazard present. Check the bike for the following things every time you use it:
- Unusual noises during use
- Broken or frayed cord
- Slipping belts
- Grinding of any kind
- Anything else that is not normal
Never force the bike to perform if something is not right. You could permanently break it or cause an expensive repair to need to be done.
Recumbent bikes are a great way for people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels get into shape, lose weight and stay healthy. The information in this buyer’s guide will not only help you choose the right recumbent bike for you, it will also help you work out safely and keeps the machine working perfectly for years to come.
Now that you have the information on what to look for, what the features do, hoe the bike works and how to narrow down your choices based on your goals and needs, you can enjoy searching for your perfect recumbent bike and know that when you get it, you’re going to love it and use it often.