Riding your way to aerobic fitness

Are you looking for the best and most effective cardio equipment for workouts? There are many to choose from including the treadmill, elliptical, rowing machines, and stationary bikes. Each piece of equipment offers a different aerobic workout and it really comes down to personal preference picking your favorite.

Some people enjoy a standing position for cardio workouts while others enjoy the support of being seated. Recumbent bikes remain a popular choice for seated workouts.

What makes any aerobic workout effective is how much you challenge your body during the training session. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), recumbent bikes can provide a safe and effective workout with low and high impact options.

What is a Recumbent Bike?
What makes recumbent bikes enjoyable to ride is their reclined position. You are able to sit back with full back support on a larger seat. The bike offers upper body comfort, allowing you to really focus on challenging the lower body and cardiovascular system.

Recumbent bikes are great for first-time riders new to cardio workouts. The varying programs also provide challenging workouts for virtually all fitness levels.  

The reclined sitting position also offers you the ability to read or watch TV during your training session.

Recumbent vs. Upright
Stationary bikes come in an upright (traditional) position or recumbent. Both bikes offer less impact on your joints compared to other cardio equipment. Your choice of an upright or recumbent bike depends on how you want to sit for the workout.

Recumbent Bikes
-Reclined body position

-Pedals positioned in front of the body

-Larger seat

-Full back support

-Comfortable sitting position

-Reduced upper body tension and muscle fatigue

-Focused lower body and cardiovascular exercise

-Low and high impact cardio options

Traditional Upright
-Upright body position like a traditional bike you ride outdoors

-Pedals positioned under the body

-Smaller seat

-Limited upper body support

-Upright seated position may cause upper body fatigue/tension

-More consistent workout similar to outdoor riding

-Whole body and cardiovascular exercise

-Low and high impact cardio options

Workout Effectiveness
Recumbent bikes may seem like comfort cardio but looks can be deceiving. The low and high impact options coupled with varied programs can offer effective workouts according to research.

A small study indicated healthy older women improved muscle strength, power, and functional abilities after using the bike for eight weeks. The high and low impact programs were shown to improve strength and power similar to resistance training.

Other research compared energy use and muscular output of the upright versus recumbent bike. The participants included ten non-cyclist males free of any lower body injuries. Results showed no difference in muscle activity during moderate workload riding an upright or recumbent bike. However, pedaling a recumbent bike resulted in greater activity in two (semitendinosus and tibialis anterior) of the four muscles studied.

It appears the recumbent bike provides just as effective of a workout as the traditional upright. Research indicates the alternate use of both recumbent and upright bikes during rehabilitation and exercise/fitness is an option.

Recumbent Riding Benefits
The recumbent bike is a great piece of stationary equipment shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and help restore range of motion.

Besides having the option to provide a low or high impact workout, there are many other benefits to riding a recumbent bike. The following are just a few benefits offered while performing a recumbent bike workout:

-Full back support during a low or high impact workout

-Less stress on joints

-Reclined body position is easier on the low back (lumbar spine) and great for
 individuals with low back injuries

-Large seat is comfortable and reduces post-workout “saddle soreness” typical of
 smaller bike seats

-Varied levels of resistance allow for a personalized exercise challenge

-Incline settings simulate riding up and down hills

-Comfortable equipment for injury rehabilitation

-Provides an excellent indoor workout without worry of inclement weather

-Cardiovascular workout with varied challenge levels

-Low and high impact workout options

-Varied resistance levels for challenging leg workouts

-Safe and effective workout

Working Muscle Groups
Recumbent bikes are great cardiovascular machines and an excellent way to work the lower body muscles. Pedaling hard and fast gets the heart pumping and the legs burning.

A slow and controlled push with increased resistance promotes leg definition. Alternating between high and low speed at timed intervals increases blood flow to working muscles. 

Even though recumbent bikes are marketed as aerobic equipment, several muscle groups are being used during a workout. You are challenging the following muscle groups when riding a recumbent bike: 

Heart: Aerobic exercise is beneficial to the heart muscle. Consistent aerobic exercise is shown to strengthen the heart, improve breathing capacity, and help decrease heart rate and blood pressure. 

Rectus femoris: One of the quadriceps muscles and the only muscle that flexes the hip. It also extends and raises the knee, and flexes your thigh.

Vastus medialis: One of the quadriceps muscles located in the front of the thigh. This muscle helps stabilize your patella (kneecap) and extends the leg at the knee.

Vastus lateralis: One of the quadriceps muscles located on the side of your thigh. This muscle extends the lower leg and helps you rise up from a squatting position.

Semitendinosus: One of the hamstring muscles located at the back of your thigh. This muscle helps to flex the knee and extend the hip.

Tibialis anterior: Muscle that runs along the front of your shin and helps flex your foot toward your shin (dorsiflexion).

Medial gastrocnemius: One of the calf muscles that helps plantar flex the foot (like standing on your tip toes) and flexes the leg at the knee joint.

Biceps femoris: A two-part muscle located at the back of your thigh and part of the hamstrings. This complex muscle performs knee flexion, hip extension, and internal and external rotation.  

Gluteus maximus: The largest muscle in the buttocks and said to be one of the strongest muscles in the body. This muscle performs movement of the hip and thigh.

A Word From Fitking
Recumbent bikes offer great upper body support and effective cardio and lower body workouts. They provide a safe and versatile way to challenge every fitness level. Recumbent bikes are also used to help rehabilitate individuals with injuries and alleviate low back discomfort during exercise.

Regardless of the cardio equipment you choose, any workout is only as effective as the effort you're willing to put into the session. 

For Buying Recumbent bikes visit: http://www.fitking.in/

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