The difference between a fitness recumbent exercise bike and a standard fitness exercise bike is the position of the user. A traditional upright bike positions the rider in an upright position, slightly leaning forward, much the same way as a standard bicycle. A recumbent bike positions the rider in a bucket seat, leaning slightly backward. This is a more comfortable position for those who are overweight or have back problems.
Greater Physical Benefits
Using a recumbent exercise bike is more ergonomically correct, allowing the abdominal muscles to relax. This makes breathing deeper and easier, thus improving the cardiovascular workout. This also increases the aerobic capacity and the burning of fat. Recumbent bikes exercise the gluteal muscles, thereby shaping the butt area. Since the rider is not hunched over, there are no muscle strains on the back, shoulders, neck, ankles, or knees.
Recumbent bikes have a number of different settings to increase resistance, which produces a great fat-burning cardio workout. This builds muscles. The rider can also adjust the seat in order to bring the legs higher and target the lower abdominal muscles for that “six-pack” without the crunches.
For women, the benefits of using a recumbent bike are that it takes less time to shape than legs and butt (than is needed on a stair stepper exerciser). The resistance feature of the recumbent bike will help build lean muscle in the leg area, including the inner thighs.
Recumbent Bikes Have More Features
Some people, usually athletes, prefer a standard upright bike because they can pedal while standing up, believing that this will increase the intensity of the workout. However, recumbent bikes can simulate different types of courses from easy and flat, to difficult and hilly. They also come with:
- LCD displays
- a heart rate monitor
- preset programs
- other informational systems.
Selecting a Recumbent Bike
Depending upon the rider’s needs and budget, there are many bikes to choose from with prices ranging from $200 to $6,000. The brands Quest, Tunturi, Schwinn, and Crescendo are among the best recumbent exercise bikes.
- The Crescendo Fitness Recumbent Bike costs approximately $200, has magnetic resistance, a double direction 5 KG flywheel, a weight capacity of 250 pounds, and it monitors time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse.
- The Fitness Quest Edge 491R Programmable Recumbent Bike costs approximately $400, has eight levels of magnetic resistance, oversized foot pedals with straps, built-in pulse sensors, digital monitoring of the speed, time, distance, and approximate calories burned.
- The Schwinn 230 and 231 range from $460 to $620. Both models have 16 resistance levels, operate a 300-pound capacity, have hand-grip heart-rate sensors, and they operate quietly; however, the Schwinn 231 comes with 23 programs, compared to 12, and a back-lit display.
- The Tunturi E30R costs approximately $1,000, has 23 programs (12 preset), heart-rate monitor, tilting handlebars, and a two-part soft, ergonomic seat.
When choosing a bike, it is important to get as many variations (simulating flat or hilly terrain) as possible within budget. Consulting bike reviews and ratings will help in the decision-making.