Advantages and Disadvantages of Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Pros and Cons of Recumbent Bikes

Are you debating as to whether to buy a recumbent exercise bike or not? The following is a brief objective overview of some of the health benefits that recumbent exercise bikes offer as well as some of their potential drawbacks (compared to other fitness equipment etc.). In all, it should be able to give you a better idea as to whether you should make the investment in a brand new recumbent bike or not.

Benefits of Recumbent Exercise Bikes

  • Cardiovascular Exercise – the most obvious benefit is that they help you to get fit, through working mainly your leg muscles (specifically your quadriceps & hamstrings) and act to increase your heart rate. Intensively exercising on a recumbent bike regularly, will help you to lose & maintain weight, strengthen your organs, help to regulate blood pressure and boost energy levels.
  • Rehabilitate & Tone Muscles – as said just above, cycling on a recumbent exercise bike uses the majority of your leg muscles (thighs, buttocks etc.), which act (particularly as you gradually increase the resistance of the exercise bike) to build up strength in your legs and is often use in rehabilitation for the elderly to help them stand up and assist with mobility.
  • Comfort & Stability – not many other cardio machines (e.g. elliptical machines, treadmills, rowing machines) can offer a user as much comfort and support as a recumbent exercise bike can. As you can see from the image (right) of a Schwinn 270, it has an extra large vented seat that offers lumbar support and assisted handles either side to help you with getting on and off it. A very useful advantage of recumbent exercise bikes.
  • Low Impact Workout – because of all the ergonomic designs (e.g. large articulating foot pedals) and support offered through the framework of the recumbent bike and the fact that it is on such an angle and you aren’t impacting the floor (like you are doing with a treadmill & traditional upright exercise bike) means the entire workout causes much less stress on your joints (especially your ankles, knees and hips). A perfect cardio machine for the elderly and those who suffer with arthritis.

Drawbacks of Recumbent Exercise Bikes

  • Expensive – you will know if you have been shopping for a recumbent exercise bike already, you may have noticed they are fair bit more costly than your traditional upright exercise bike is. For instance if you compare a premium Schwinn upright bike (170) which costs just under $400 to a premium recumbent exercise bike (47) which is priced at $700, there is a fair difference in price.
  • Not Good Practice for Actual Cycling – if you are using the exercise bike for training (like for an up and coming race, but it is raining outside) cycling on a recumbent bike is not good practice for what you are actually going to be cycling on. They are pretty much a completely different set up to normal bike riding.
  • They Take Up a Lot of Room – as you can see from the Schwinn upright 170 (image on the right) compared to the one above (the Schwinn 270) the latter takes up a lot more room, which you might just not have. Moreover, you will also tend to find that the upright bikes can be folded up and then stored away, you will rarely find a folding recumbent exercise bike (that is affordable) and even if you can, it won’t fold up ‘that’ much.
  • Effective Cardio Workout – the major critique behind recumbent exercise bikes is that it is difficult to get an ‘as’ effective cardiovascular workout as other machines like that of an upright bike, treadmill and rowing machine as you are only really working your legs, whereas the other activate more muscle groups — hence you can get your heart rate to a higher beats per minute (getting it to work harder).

Summary of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Recumbent Bikes

As you can see recumbent bikes both have their benefits and drawbacks, but mainly I would advise them as a great option for those who have plenty of room to store them in and the main user suffers with joint pain, arthritis etc. (hence is looking for a machine that will provide them with the utmost support & comfort) and is looking to steadily build up their lower body strength and improve their fitness & health

Finally, if you have any questions or concerns regarding the benefits of recumbent exercise bikes or their potential negatives, then please make them below. Also, if you have found this article to be useful at all, please be sure to give it a like (heart) or share — will be much appreciated.