Like most other pieces of cardiovascular exercise equipment, a recumbent bike can provide you with a good workout -- assuming you put a decent effort into it. If you lounge back and casually pedal while listening to Beethoven and flipping through "People" magazine, you may not achieve enough intensity to elevate your heart rate and reap the fitness benefits. However, if you crank up the resistance and keep a steady, intense cadence, a recumbent bike can help you burn calories, train your heart and strengthen your lower body.
Recumbent bikes come as either stationary pieces of exercise equipment or actual bicycles that you ride outdoors. The difference between recumbent and traditional bikes is that recumbents require you to sit back and pedal with your feet out in front of you. The relaxed ride posture of recumbent bikes make them a good option for people who can't use upright bikes because of neck or shoulder issues. If you decide to hop on a recumbent for your cardio, make the most of your exercise time by maintaining at least a moderate intensity throughout the duration of your session.