Recumbent Bikes for At-Home Exercise

Staying fit and healthy is an important goal. Whether getting to the gym is impossible or you just prefer the convenience of an at-home workout, an exercise bike brings the gym to you. A recumbent bike allows you to get a low-intensity cardio workout from the comfort of your own home.

What is the difference between recumbent bikes and upright exercise bikes?

The rider of an upright exercise bike will generally sit in a similar posture as you'd see on a traditional bicycle. The pedals are underneath the rider. In contrast, the rider of a recumbent bike will sit in a reclined posture with the pedals in front of the body. Recumbent bikes tend to offer more support and be more comfortable. Because the recumbent bike will put less stress on the rider's joints, this exercise bike design is favored by those with back or knee problems. Another important difference is the amount of space the exercise bike will take up. Upright bikes have a smaller footprint, but some recumbent bikes are designed to fit in small spaces with a foldaway design.

Are there different types of recumbent bikes?

There are a few different types of recumbent bikes, each offering different benefits. An important distinction is between bikes relying on air resistance and those relying on magnetic resistance or belt resistance. Air resistance and belt resistance bikes tend to be a bit more affordable, but magnetic resistance bike have more features. Here is an explanation of how the different types of exercise bikes work:

  • Air resistance bikes do not require a power source because they rely on wind resistance. The harder you pedal, the more resistance you feel.
  • Magnetic resistance bikes need to be plugged into an electrical source. Based on the setting you select, magnets will cause the flywheel to be more or less resistant. Magnetic resistance bikes often give you more options for control and tend to include some bells and whistles like an LCD display.
  • Belt resistance bikes rely on a tension belt that can be tightened or loosened.
What information can you get on a LCD display?

If you like data about your workouts, you'll want your recumbent bike to have a data-rich screen. The exact stats you'll get vary from bike to bike. Typical displays tell you about the length of your ride, the calories burned, and the distance you've ridden. Often, there will be a heart rate monitor so you can keep an eye on the intensity of your workout. In some cases, your screen might display a virtual route with varying levels of intensity. There are even bikes with video screens that make it look like you're pedaling through the countryside. Some bikes display a class with a teacher leading you through your workout. These extra bells and whistles often mean a higher price. That said, they can be motivational and help you stick to a workout routine.