Recumbent or Regular Exercise Bikes?
Are you trying to decide between recumbent or regular exercise bikes? There are several considerations to be made, and this article will help you determine which one is right for you. If you are in great shape, healthy with no injuries and want to get the best possible training, your clear choice is a regular, or upright, exercise bike. However, if you have certain medical conditions, injuries or illnesses, a recumbent bike might allow you to get the exercise you need that would be painful or impossible on an upright stationary bike. Recumbent bikes are built so that the pedals are in front of, rather than below, the rider. The seat reclines and there is a back, unlike with upright or regular exercise bikes. The back of the seat and the seat position are usually adjustable. This allows riders of different heights and sizes to set the bike in a comfortable position for their needs.
The regular or upright exercise bike usually has a seat that is adjustable in height, but cannot be moved frontward or backward, and the seat usually has no back. Both bikes can be adjusted in resistance, so you can up the intensity of the workout as your level of fitness improves. The upright position is closer to the action of running, and the lack of support for the upper body with the back rest requires the rider to use more core strength to balance and stabilize on the bike. A recumbent bike normally has straps over the feet, which engages the hamstrings. This works more muscles than peddling in the recumbent position without straps, which exercises only the quadriceps only. A regular exercise bike engages more muscles in the body than a recumbent, however.
There are several medical conditions that make a recumbent exercise bike a better alternative than an upright. Those with heart problems who need some low impact exercise without being too strenuous can benefit from the reclining position. Elderly people who wish to remain active to stay healthy find it easier to mount a recumbent bike because it's lower to the ground and easier to ride for a period of time because they can lay back as they peddle. People with certain back problems also benefit from a recumbent bike. Walking on a treadmill is often prescribed for back problems, too, so speak to a doctor or physical therapist if you are in doubt about the best exercise for your bad back. Obese people also find it easier to mount and ride a recumbent bike than a regular one. Those with hip problems may find that it is easier to use a recumbent bike due to the angle of the pedals to the seat. Whichever bike you choose, aim to start with thirty minutes of exercise four times each week. Start slowly to allow your muscles to warm. Use a heart monitor on the bike or purchase one separately to determine when you're in the heart rate zone to loose weight or get a heart healthy workout. When thirty minutes becomes too easy, increase the resistance so the peddling is harder. This is how you progress into higher fitness levels.
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