Is Riding a Recumbent Bike Good Exercise?

The recumbent bike benefits those who are looking for an effective aerobic workout that is easier on the joints than running. Sitting in a reclined position may be more comfortable for some exercisers than an upright bike. Recumbent bikes can be used either stationary or outdoors.

Recumbent bikes are good to help relieve strain on your joints.
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The recumbent bike benefits those who are looking to get an effective aerobic workout while limiting the strain placed on joints.

Cycling, in general, offers several advantages to health, according to Harvard Health Publishing:

  • Cycling provides an aerobic workout that is beneficial to your brain, heart and blood vessels.
  • Cycling helps to build muscle by utilizing the muscles of your glutes, thighs, calves, hamstrings and hip flexors.
  • Cycling helps to build bone due to the pull on the muscles, which in turn pulls on the bone, increasing bone density.
  • Cycling helps you become more functional by improving balance and endurance.

Recumbent bikes allow riders to sit reclined as if in a lounge chair while pedaling with their feet forward. This position enables less forward lean and reduces pressure on the backside. This may help some individuals, such as those that are overweight, to feel more comfortable while cycling.

Read more: The Best Stationary Bike for Low Back Pain

Recumbent Bikes Reduce Health Risks

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) explains that keeping active helps ward off obesity and could help you live longer and protect you from multiple health issues like Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and some types of cancer.

Consistently participating in physical activity can help you maintain lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, keep your bones, muscles and joints strong, maintain a healthy heart and lungs and even improve your sleep and mood.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Additionally, performing strength training activities a couple of times a week is also recommended.

The NIDDK recommends bicycling, particularly recumbent cycling, as an excellent option for those who are overweight or obese. With recumbent bikes, your body is reclined, and the seat is wider, which may be more comfortable. You need to check the maximum weight that any piece of equipment can support to be confident that it is safe.

A June 2015 article published in Transport Reviews suggests that cycling to work is associated with a 28 percent decrease in all-cause mortality risk. Furthermore, it was found that a 21 percent reduction in all-cause mortality resulted from 3.5 hours of cycling per week compared to none.

Read more: Is Cycling Good For the Knees?

Recumbent Bikes Help Build Muscle

Recumbent bikes elicit similar muscle activity in the trunk and hip muscles as compared to an upright bike, according to an April 2016 article published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.

Using a recumbent bike has been shown to help improve muscle strength among healthy older people with multiple sclerosis and those who have had a stroke. Muscle strength, postural control and power is enhanced through cycling, while lowering stress on the hip and knee joints, according to the study. This makes recumbent bikes a great alternative to running while still providing strengthening and cardiovascular benefits.

Read more: The Best Exercise Machines for Bad Knees

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