Stationary bicycles are an excellent option for seniors to stay active; this equipment has very low impact on the joints and isn't complicated to use. Of all the options available, recumbent bikes stand out as the type of exercise bike that is easy to use, yet still provides a good workout.
Recumbent vs. Traditional Stationary Bikes
You may have seen recumbent bikes at the gym or exercise equipment store. These reclined bikes are ideal for seniors. Similarly to other stationary bikes, recumbent bikes mimic the movements of mobile bikes, offering the benefits derived by bike riding: cardiovascular training and challenging the muscles of the lower body.
More Comfortable and Easier to Use
Many people find recumbent bikes to be more comfortable, largely because of the back-supported seat and the design of the bike that makes it lower to the ground than a traditional stationary bike. As a result, recumbent bikes are easier to mount than a traditional bike and are much easier to maintain proper posture on while working out than traditional stationary bikes that force users to sit upright without support.
Safer for Seniors
Recumbent bike users do not have to climb onto the bike, but instead sit in the seat similarly to a chair; as long as the user can get one leg over the low base of the bike, they can settle into this machine comfortably. The back support takes some of the pressure off the user's back and core muscles and greatly minimizes the possibility of falls from the bike. Many recumbent bikes also feature arm rests for maximum comfort and stability while riding. The wide seat of recumbent bikes are unlikely to irritate the posterior of users like the narrow saddles of upright bikes might.
Tips for Choosing a Bike
Safety and comfort should be of the utmost importance when selecting a recumbent bike for seniors. Look for a bike that will provide a workout that can be challenging without over-exerting the exerciser.
Prioritize Easy Mounting and Support
The bike should be easy to climb onto and should work comfortably throughout the workout. The bike should offer back support and hold the feet steady in the pedals to keep them from slipping while pedaling.
Focus on Seat Comfort
The seat should be wide and comfortable. A padded seat will make for a much more enjoyable ride, whereas an uncomfortable seat might dissuade the rider from future workouts. Sit on the bike to to make sure you find it comfortable.
Check for a Smooth Ride
Right alongside comfort, the smoothness of the ride is vital. A clunky, choppy ride is hard on the knees and may promote injury. If possible, ride the bike in the store to check how the experience works for you.
Don't Forget Safety
A heart rate monitor is a must for senior exercisers, as are pre-programmed workouts that are easy to follow and progress at a safe pace. The console display should be easy to navigate and see so the pre-programmed workouts are followed safely.
Great Shopping Options
Some recumbent bikes stand out among the others as more suitable for seniors because of their comfort, ease of use, and safety features. If you want a starting point for your shopping, try out one of these models.
This recumbent bike is designed for comfort with the wide seat and padded arm rests. Seniors should purchase the "expert assembly" option available, as assembly can be tedious and require some heavy lifting. Purchase from Amazon for around $400 (including assembly).
NordicTrack Commercial VR21
Though the name of this recumbent bike may sound like something designed for professional fitness centers, this bike is quite suitable for home use and is indeed a good choice for seniors. NordicTrack sells this bike for around $700 including a 30-day money-back guarantee.
This bike's easy adjustability is what makes it a good choice for seniors. DiamondBack Fitness sells this bike for around $1000 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Staying active into the senior years can help avoid injuries and extend quality of life. Seniors should check in with a physician before starting any new exercise program, even if it's a low-impact recumbent bike regimen.