The human body starts to feel the effects of the aging process over time, which is why staying active is more crucial than ever for senior citizens. But staying active can be challenging for the elderly, especially as limited mobility, achy joints, and sore muscles become the norm. For the elderly, long gone are the days of running 7-minute miles or lifting weights every day at the gym.
These high-impact workouts can do more harm than good for older individuals, but luckily, there is a solution. The recumbent bike is an amazing workout tool for seniors and the elderly. It provides a low-impact workout that allows the user to remain in a comfortable reclined position. Anyone, no matter their fitness level, can use a recumbent bike.
This cycling machine is highly recommended for those that need a low-impact workout - one that isn't too hard on the joints and muscles. For this reason, this is the ultimate workout tool for elderly individuals experiencing limited mobility. If a safe and effective home workout is something you need, follow this guide on the best recumbent bikes for seniors and the elderly.
Types of Recumbent Bicycles on the Market
Before we get into the top-rated recumbent bikes on the market, it is important to understand the different types of recumbent bicycle machines. There are three main types to choose from for home-use: stationary, folding, and outdoor.
A stationary recumbent bike is just as it sounds; it remains in one place while in use. Even as the user pedals, the bike will always remain stationary. This is the ideal choice for seniors looking for a piece of cardio equipment for the home. The bike can be placed in front of the TV, which means staying active is easier and more convenient than ever.
Another popular choice is the folding recumbent bike, which folds up for easy storage and transport. A folding bike typically remains stationary while in use, but the added perk is its compactness and portability. Compared to the more traditional bulky fitness equipment, a folding bike is ideal for anyone short on space within the home.
The only drawback to the lightweight, compact design is that folding bikes can't hold as much weight as a non-folding machine.
Just as you would expect, an outdoor recumbent bike is for use outdoors. It is by no means stationary and can be taken on flat bike trails and paths for a more natural workout setting. Not every senior will be able to use an outdoor bike since they are more challenging to handle than stationary machines. However, this is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to take advantage of fresh air health benefits.
Benefits of Recumbent Bikes for the Elderly
The general advantage of elderly use of a recumbent bike is the fact that it provides a low-impact workout that isn't rough on the body. An in-home elliptical is also a great low-impact cardio option, but not every senior will find the standing position possible while performing cardio. With a recumbent bike, the user can stay in a reclined, comfortable position.
Instead of the legs hanging down - like with Keiser spin bikes - the legs are extended outwards towards the pedals.
A source called Our Good Living Formula says that, "using a recumbent bike, you will burn the same amount of calories that you would with an upright bike, the only difference is that due to its seat arrangement, you will experience less back strain and will be more comfortable during your workout." This is a significant benefit for seniors looking for a no-stress workout.
More specifically, the recumbent bike offers the opportunity for numerous health benefits. These are just a few of them:
- 1Improved Safety - Recumbent bikes are lower to the ground than upright spin bikes, making them the safer option for the elderly.
- 2Calorie Burning - Recumbent bikes offer an amazing cardio workout, one that can help with weight loss by burning calories.
- 3Muscle Strengthening - Higher resistance levels while on the bike can lead to muscle strengthening and toning.
- 4Improved Circulation - Recumbent bike users have experienced improved circulation and healthier blood pressure levels.
- 5Mental Stimulation - Cardio fitness with a recumbent bike can keep the mind sharp and the brain active.
Buying a Quality Recumbent Exercise Bike
Size vs. Space In the Home
The first thing to consider is the size of the machine and whether it fits within your home's available space. Most recumbent bikes have similar dimensions, so if you have unlimited space, this doesn't need to be a major consideration. However, if you are working with a small area, size vs. space is something to think about.
Always take precise measurements of the space you plan on using your new recumbent bike. Then, compare those measurements to the dimensions provided by the manufacturer. Not only does the bike need to fit within the space, but there should also be ample room for you to move around. Anyone limited on space might consider purchasing a more compact foldable bike.
Comfort, Safety & Ease of Use
One of the main perks of using a recumbent bike instead of another fitness machine is the comfort it provides. The fact that you're investing in a recumbent bike instead of a treadmill or elliptical means that comfort is a top priority for you. Be sure to read reviews on the best recumbent bike for seniors to see what others have to say about each bike's comfort level.
Even more important than comfort is safety. A safe machine is one that can be adjusted based on your specific height and mobility. Most recumbent bikes offer adjustments for the seat as well as the handlebars. If you plan on moving the bike around the home, always invest in a machine with wheels attached for easy transport.
If a fitness regimen is not convenient for seniors, there's a good chance the regimen will be abandoned after a week or two. Convenience is a must, and a machine's specific features have a lot to do with how convenient it is to use. Tension, or resistance, must be adjustable since each senior has a unique level of strength and mobility. Over time, tension can be increased for a more challenging workout.
Just as every senior possesses a different level of mobility, the same goes for foot size. For this reason, some seniors will find oversized pedals to be a helpful added feature. Most machines come equipped with standard pedals, but find a machine with oversized pedals if you have large or wide feet. This will not only make using the machine more comfortable to use but also safer.
A heart rate monitor is an added perk that comes along with many fitness machines these days. For elderly individuals, it's not just a perk but a necessity. An accurate heart rate monitor gives older users an accurate reading of heart rate, which makes for a safer workout. A fitness tracker adds even more convenience since it provides information on calories, time, distance, and speed.
Almost all recumbent bikes come with a display console. This console is where users can access the fitness tracker as well as the heart rate monitor. The specifics of each workout session can be set here, like the intended time or workout program. The main thing to look for in a display console is that it's easy to use (and easy to see).
Resistance Type & Levels
The best recumbent bike for senior citizens will have adjustable resistance using one of the four main resistance types. These include flywheel-based, magnetic, fan-based, and direct contact. For an effective at-home workout, the most popular resistance type for seniors is magnetic.
This type of resistance is both quiet and easy to use, plus it is a bit softer on the joints and muscles. Most modern recumbent bikes come with 8 or more adjustable resistance levels.
Many recumbent bikes come with pre-programmed workouts. More advanced machines will offer 10+ workout programs, while the more basic ones might not come with any. These preset workouts are there for a reason; they are specifically designed to challenge the user and strengthen the heart and lungs. Many workout programs have a specific goal in mind, like fat burning or interval training.
For seniors, one of the best workout programs is Heart Rate Control. It will keep you in a specific heart rate zone that is 60%-85% above your natural resting heart rate.
User Weight Limitation
Many seniors don't have to worry about a recumbent bike's weight limitation, but it might be something that you need to consider. This is especially true if you are investing in this machine specifically for weight loss. The modern-day stationary machines typically have a maximum weight capacity of 250-300 pounds. A foldable machine will have a weight limit on the lower end of this number.
A noisy machine is not one that you'll want to use for very long. As mentioned before, recumbent bikes using magnetic resistance tend to be whisper quiet while in use. Avoid purchasing a machine that utilizes direct contact resistance, as these can be very noisy. Durability is a major factor when it comes to noise level; less durable machines can become louder over time.
Livestrong says that noise coming from an exercise bike can mean a few things. The main reason for the noise is often due to improper assembly. "Loose bolts and parts can cause knocking and rattling in the bike's frame and pose an injury risk," says Livestrong.
The solution is often easy, simply "work your way around, tightening bolts and making sure your pedals, seat, tires and electrical parts are secure. Any loose parts require repair before using your bike."
When a manufacturer offers a warranty along with a product, it shows that they have confidence in that product. This is why you should always look for a recumbent bike that comes with a warranty. Warranty terms and conditions vary from machine to machine.
Look for one that provides at least one year of coverage from the purchase date. Be aware that most exercise bike manufacturers have two separate policies (one for the machine frame and one for parts).
7 Best Exercise Bikes for Seniors Reviewed
1. Marcy Recumbent ME-709
Our #1 Choice
2 Year Limited
The best recumbent bike for seniors to make this list is the Marcy Recumbent ME-709. This stationary bike features an advanced step-through design that allows for maximum mobility. Users can mount and dismount the machine with ease, which is an essential feature for elderly users. The heavy-duty construction uses powerful 14-gauge steel tubing throughout the bike.
This recumbent bike features 8 resistance levels using magnetic resistance mechanisms. Resistance can be adjusted using the easy-to-turn dial that faces the user. The attached computer screen displays everything necessary for tracking progress. The console displays time, distance, calories, and speed, using extra-large numbers for better readability.
The Marcy ME-709 was ergonomically designed for comfort and features extra support wherever possible. The comfortable padded seat means that you can use the machine for long periods with no stress. Both the seat and the handlebars utilize high-density foam, which eventually conforms to the user's body for even more support. The counterbalanced pedals use a weighted design, which ultimately leads to more lower body control.
With over 3,000 reviews on Amazon, it's clear that this is a top choice among seniors.
The only drawback is that this bike does not come with preset workout programs or a heart rate monitor.
Why is this model good for seniors?
It's almost as if this recumbent bike was made specifically for the elderly. It features everything that an older user could ever need, including extra-padding on the seats and handlebars, an easy-to-read digital display, and a counterbalanced pedaling system.
2. Exerpeutic 400XL
Best Folding Recumbent Bike for Seniors
1 Year Limited
There are certain perks to purchasing a recumbent bike that folds. Folding machines are often more compact, more portable, and more lightweight. The Exerpeutic 400XL is our top choice for the best folding recumbent bike for seniors. Not only does it fold, but it has a weight capacity of 300 lbs. Most folding bikes have a lower weight limit, typically around 250 pounds, but not this one.
This bike uses a precision balanced-flywheel system for smooth and quiet operation. It comes with 8 magnetic resistance levels that are easy to adjust. Similar to top-rated pedal exercisers, it can be used as an under-desk bike thanks to the machine's compact nature. This means that your old desk chair can be switched out for the Exerpeutic, allowing for cardio even while accomplishing other administrative tasks.
The LCD is easy to read and tracks distance, time, calories, speed, and even heart rate. The only thing that a few users have spoken negatively about is the position of the display screen. Since this is a foldable machine, the display is placed lower than traditional, non-folding bikes. For the most part, though, users don't seem to mind. The general consensus is that the computer is more reliable and more durable than other recumbent bike display screens.
Why is this model good for seniors?
The compact, lightweight design makes the Exerpeutic 400XL a top choice for seniors. It is easy to move and easy to use, even for those planning on using it beneath a desk space. The semi-recumbent design makes for comfortable cardio, and the accurate heart rate reading is a major perk for seniors.
3. Schwinn 270 (MY17)
Top of the Range
Frame: 10 Years
The Schwinn 270 is another top choice for a recumbent bike for seniors. This machine comes loaded with tons of special features, and it even offers Bluetooth connectivity. Through the Bluetooth connection, users can sync with the Schwinn Trainer app as well as fitness-tracking apps. This recumbent bike goes all out when it comes to resistance settings; unlike other bikes that come with ~8 levels, the Schwinn 270 offers 25 levels of resistance.
In addition to that, this training bike has been programmed with 29 unique workout programs, including 9 for heart rate control. The bike comes equipped with DualTrack LCDs, a media shelf for electronics, console speakers with an input port for MP3, and an adjustable fan. Not every elderly individual will find it necessary to purchase a bike with so many special features, but it certainly makes each cardio session more enjoyable.
As far as comfort goes, the Schwinn 270 is as comfortable as it gets. The seat is ventilated and contoured with a padded cushion, and it can easily be adjusted with the side lever. The bike's weighted flywheel means that the machine is powerful while also maintaining a smooth and quiet operation. It is the optimal choice for seniors in the upper weight category since it can accommodate up to 325 pounds.
Why is this model good for seniors?
Not every senior will find the unique features of this bike necessary. If you consider yourself somewhat tech-savvy, though, you'll absolutely love the Schwinn 270. The seat is comfortable, the bike is easy to use, and the 29 preset workout programs + Bluetooth connectivity mean you'll never get bored with cardio.
4. Exerpeutic 900XL
1 Year Limited
Our top-rated model, according to reviewers, is the Exerpeutic 900XL. This stationary recumbent has the option to be purchased with Bluetooth, which is a great addition to the other special features. Workouts are extremely customizable with the 8-level magnetic tension system, allowing users to challenge themselves over time. The easy-to-read LCD isn't rough on the eyes as it tracks progress for burned calories, time, distance, speed, and heart rate.
Heart rate is monitored through the hand pulse sensors located on the handlebars framing the bike seat. The seat is wider than the average seat found on recumbent bikes for added support and comfort. The seat can be adjusted, but the only drawback is that shorter seniors might have difficulty using this bike. The manufacturer says that the Exerpeutic 900XL offers "easy and quick seat adjustments for users 5.3 inches - 6.6 inches." If you're shorter than 5'3", pedaling will be challenging.
This fitness machine is highly recommended by post-op knee, and hip replacement patients and seniors who have arthritis also sing the bike's praises.
Why is this model good for seniors?
The Exerpeutic 900XL is safe and comfortable for almost all seniors. Unless you're shorter than 5'3", using this recumbent bike is a great way to increase range of motion, improve circulation, lose weight, and gain muscle. Anyone shorter than 5'3" might consider the Marcy Recumbent ME-709 instead.
5. Nautilus R614
Packed with Features
Frame: 10 Years
If you're looking for the best recumbent bike for elderly that comes packed with features, consider the Nautilus R614. This bike features 22 preset workout programs, including 9 profile settings, 8 heart rate control programs, 2 custom settings, 2 fitness tests, and 1 quick start. On top of that, there are 20 resistance settings, allowing users to choose the perfect intensity level.
As soon as you see the DualTrack LCD display, it becomes evident that this machine is like no other when it comes to added features. One of the most-like features is the Goal Track capability. This enables each user to set and track specific exercise goals, such as weight loss or adopting a normal heart rate. Many seniors have particular fitness goals in mind for using a recumbent bike, and the Nautilus R614 makes it easy to track the progress of these goals
The bike seat is easy to adjust and locks solidly into place. However, some users claim that the seat would be much more comfortable with some additional padding.
Why is this model good for seniors?
The Nautilus recumbent bike is the ultimate choice for seniors who are interested in tracking their fitness goals. Even if you choose not to use the "Goal Track" feature, you'll love the additional features, like the preset workout programs, console speakers, USB charging port, and adjustable fan.
6. Stamina Elite Total Body
Good for Compact Spaces
Frame: 5 Years
One of the smallest recumbent bikes on the market is the Stamina Elite Total Body machine. This is the best recumbent bike for seniors limited on space. Just because this bike is small does not mean it is any less effective than the other recumbent machines on this list. The Elite Total Body comes with adjustable tension control with 8 resistance levels. Not only does it provide users with a lower-body workout, but the added upper hand pedals help to strengthen the shoulders and arms.
The padded seat and angled seatback mean that you can pedal for longer without feeling any discomfort. While pedaling, you'll be able to track the workout through the multi-function monitor. Even your heart rate will be displayed on the screen, making it possible to stay within your target heart rate zone. It is recommended that you aim for 70 to 85% of your maximum heart rate, and the pulse sensors located on the handlebars make this easy to monitor.
The textured pedals are perfect for elderly users since they prevent the feet from slipping. The adjustable pedal straps also help to keep the feet firmly in place.
In other words, you don't need to be in shape to get in shape thanks to this compact recumbent bike. However, due to its compact size, the weight capacity for this machine is only 250 pounds.
Why is this model good for seniors?
The lightweight, compact machine is the perfect solution for seniors who are limited on space within the home. Unlike other bikes, the Stamina Elite comes with upper body hand pedals, allowing elderly users to target all muscle groups (not just the lower body).
7. Mobo Triton Pro
Best Outdoor Recumbent Road Bike for Seniors
This next model is unlike any of the others we have covered. As the best outdoor recumbent bike for seniors, the Mobo Triton Pro is meant to be used outdoors as a road bike rather than indoors as a stationary fitness bike. Just like an indoor stationary bike, the Mobo Triton provides a low-impact exercise that is gentle on the body while also strengthening, toning, and burning calories. However, there is no option for adjustable resistance or preset workouts.
The reclined seat is exceptionally comfortable, much more comfortable than a traditional outdoor 2-wheel bicycle. And unlike a 2-wheeler, this model requires no balance whatsoever. You'll simply sit back in a reclined position, pedal with your feet out in front, and steer with the easy-to-use joystick positioned between the legs. There is an additional handle for braking that can be found on the right side of the bike.
The frame of the Mobo Triton is adjustable, accommodating for riders ranging from only 4 feet to 6'3", basically any adults up to 250 pounds. An added perk is that this bike requires no chains whatsoever to operate. The chainless design means easy maintenance and the durable steel frame means you can count on this machine to last for years.
Here is just one of the many positive comments left by a Mobo Triton Pro reviewer: "I have a spinal cord injury that makes riding a bicycle difficult. My husband bought a Mobo Cruiser for me and I absolutely love it. Now I can go with my friends when they go bike riding."
The Mobo Triton Pro is an excellent solution for seniors who love the outdoors and want a pain free and fun way of experiencing nature.
Why is this model good for seniors?
The low-to-the-ground design of this recumbent bike makes it a much safer alternative to the traditional bicycle. Seniors can ride in a reclined position with no stress on the body. The fact that it requires no balance at all is another perk for seniors struggling with mobility. The Mobo Triton Pro is, without a doubt, the best recumbent road bike for seniors.
Resistance Types of Exercise Bikes
You know that exercise bikes need resistance to make cardio more challenging, but did you know that the type of resistance system makes a world of difference?
It is normal to consider how many resistance levels are offered by an exercise bike, but many people fail to consider the specific type of resistance used. There are four main types of resistance in exercise bikes, including:
- 1Flywheel/Brake-Based Resistance
- 2Direct Contact/Frictional Resistance
- 3Magnetic Resistance
- 4Fan-Based/Air Resistance
In the past, the most common type of resistance used in exercise bikes was the direct contact system. This type of resistance uses the forces of friction with the help of braking pads positioned along with the flywheel (the wheel found at the front of the bike).
Although they are incredibly effective at providing different levels of resistance, direct contact bikes are becoming less common because they tend to be very noisy. Flywheel/brake-based and fan-based resistance systems are much less common. Flywheel resistance has not been found to be very reliable. Similar to direct contact, this system utilizes brakes to create tension. Over time, the brakes tend to malfunction and wear out.
Fan-based systems use air to adjust a bike's resistance. The faster you pedal, the more air is filtered through the bike, which increases resistance. Although this system is effective, it offers very little control to the rider.
Magnetic resistance, which you probably noticed, is used in all of the bikes reviewed above, is becoming the norm. This system utilizes the powers of magnets in combination with the flywheel to control tension.
When you increase the resistance on your exercise bike, you're essentially just increasing the magnetic force. Bikes using magnetic systems are trendy since they provide the smoothest and quietest cycling experience.
Recumbent Vs. Upright
Although upright exercise bikes are extremely useful, they are not the ideal cardio choice for seniors. Upright bikes are designed so that the user sits in an upright position with the legs extending down towards the pedals.
When using a recumbent bike, the user remains in a reclined position, and the legs extend more outwards than downwards. This means there is no hunching over and no strain on the back when using a recumbent bike.
Recumbent bikes are not only gentler on the body, but also safer for elderly individuals. Upright bikes sit much higher off the ground, whereas recumbent bikes are relatively close to the ground.
The chance of injury from falling from an upright bike is high, especially for an older adult with limited mobility. There is minimal risk of falling from a recumbent bike since it offers plenty of stability.
Health Restrictions for the Elderly
Not only is using a recumbent bike completely safe for older individuals, but many healthcare professionals also view this machine as one of the best fitness tools for the elderly. Regular cardiovascular activity is a must, especially once old age hits. With a recumbent bike, it's possible to get a cardio workout without the harmful impact on muscles and joints.
If you are experiencing any abnormal health issues, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using a recumbent bike. Always perform a warm-up and cool-down session and avoid overdoing it. Stretching before and after getting on the bike is one of the best things you can do to prevent injury,
Care, Maintenance & Cleaning
Keeping your bike clean is an integral part of maintaining the machine's frame and components. After each use, wipe down the bike with a mild cleaning agent and microfiber towels. Just remember that the better you care for your bike, the longer it will last.
Origin Fitness says that there are a few monthly maintenance habits that you can adopt to keep your indoor cycle machine running smoothly. "All bikes are different - some have belt drives, other work with magnetic resistance assemblies," says Origin Fitness. "Your bike's manual should have a comprehensive walkthrough of the expected maintenance near the warranty section."
Frequently Asked Questions
How do Recumbent Bikes Help Keep People Fit & Healthy?
Recumbent bicycling is a common form of cardio, and engaging in cardiovascular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. These machines help to keep people - especially seniors - fit by burning calories, strengthening muscles, and improving mobility.
Are recumbent bikes good for losing weight?
Absolutely. Cardio exercise is the ultimate way to lose weight. When regular cardio on a recumbent bike is paired with a healthy diet, weight loss is entirely possible. If losing weight is your goal, using a preset workout program geared towards weight loss can help.
Is stationary cycling good for knee pain?
Many seniors experience knee pain due to arthritis and other issues relating to the joints and muscles. Everyday Health says that "stationary bikes and elliptical machines (a cross between a stair-climber and bicycle) allow you to get a good aerobic workout without stressing your knee joints."
Do I need professional help setting up a recumbent bike?
This depends on how comfortable you are at assembling exercise equipment on your own. Many reviewers claim that the bikes mentioned above are easy enough to install without an expert. If you choose to do it without professional help, though, read the manufacturer's instructions for assembly carefully. When a bike is assembled improperly, this could cause the warranty to become invalid.
Where is the best place to buy recumbent exercise bikes?
Amazon is the ultimate shopping source for anything, including recumbent bikes. Amazon has the best prices on exercise equipment, even better than purchasing from the manufacturer directly. It is also possible to find spare bike parts if you're ever in need of them, as well as recumbent bike maintenance and cleaning supplies.
We stand by our choice of ranking the Marcy ME-709 as the best rated recumbent bike for seniors. There are plenty of recumbent bikes that cater to the elderly, but none of them quite compare to this top-rated model. The ME-709 is not only safe and comfortable to use, but it has also been proven to show results. Tons of seniors claim that this bike was the trick to increased mobility and improved overall health.
Last Updated on