Recumbent exercise bikes are similar to upright exercise bikes, but not quite the same. Recumbent bikes tend to be a gentler introduction to stationary biking. The wide, chair-like seats provide support for back and hips making them ideal for people who have had a back injury or perhaps even abdominal surgery. However, this also means that the core muscles are not as thoroughly exercised as might be the case with an upright bike.
Support for Recovery
Even though recumbent bikes do not require the core muscles to work as hard as an upright bike, they are still an excellent choice for indoor cycling and will provide a cardiovascular workout similar to that provided by an upright bike. Furthermore, not only does the wide seat with back support make a gentler ride for someone who is recovering from illness or injury, it might even encourage users to exercise longer because of the added comfort. For example, a recumbent bike is great for someone who has arthritic knees and just needs to keep the joints rotated. You push out on the pedal of most recumbent bikes, rather than pushing down. This distributes the muscle use somewhat differently and creates less pressure on sensitive joints.
Little Added Extras
Recumbent bikes have a lot of those little added extras that can make an exercise session fun. Many, for example, have a water bottle holder attached to the frame so you don’t have to juggle your H2o, your Sudoku puzzle book and the remote to your TV. In fact, many exercise bikes of all sorts have media shelves that can hold a magazine or book. Some of them have plugin ports so you can charge your cell phone or tablet while you are exercising. A few interact with your cell phone or tablet, recording your efforts for the day and showing whether you progressed or regressed.
Sticking with the Program
Like many sorts of exercise programs (and diets), the real secret of success is to stick with it. Not every exercise program or regimen is going to work for all people. You will want to tweak your fitness sessions to suit your needs, physical condition, and stamina. The hope is that over time, you will want to raise the bar on your activities and challenge yourself with increasingly difficult material. You can do this on your own, use an app for your cell phone or tablet, or invest in an indoor exercise bike that has digital programs and record keeping built into the console. The console, usually located near the handlebars, cannot only deliver fitness regimens, it can measure and track your vitals such as heart rate, resistance, distance (even though your bike doesn’t really go anywhere) and time. By keeping track of these, you have a record that you can use as part of a self-driven program or that you can share with your doctor or therapist.
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The Joys and Challenges of Exercising at Home
Like most human endeavors, using an exercise bike to increase your personal fitness has its upsides and its downsides. Many doctors, trainers, and therapists have found that their clients are more likely to use an exercise devise that is on hand, rather than having to leave, to across town, and then access similar equipment. You don’t have to worry about weather, mean dogs or muggers. The downside is that unless you have one of those handy recording devices to help keep you honest, it is way too easy to cheat on your sessions. Common excuses for failing to exercise include being sore from yesterday, just not in the mood, unexpected obligations, or just plain forgetting about it. One way to avoid non-participation is to make your sessions fun and interesting. Sign up for a virtual (stationary) bike tour of Europe, join a pedaling club, or just find an excellent audiobook series to listen to while you pedal.
Indoor exercise bikes of all sorts can be beneficial to your overall health. Recumbent bikes are useful to people who need back or hip support that is not provided by other types of a bike seat. Although recumbent bikes do not work on the core muscles as well as upright bikes, there is a good chance that when it comes to cardio, they do just as well because the user will exercise for a longer time. Finding something to act as an added incentive to return to each new cycling session.