Recumbent bikes and upright bikes are excellent pieces of equipment if you are looking to get a low-impact cardiovascular workout. Recumbent bikes are preferred bikes when looking to work the hips, legs and buttocks, and to protect the lower back. The recumbent bike is even recommended for those with ankle and knee problems seeking a low-stress form of exercise that is less harsh than jogging or walking.
Semirecumbent and Recumbent Bikes
On a full recumbent bike, your hips are positioned lower than your knees. Meanwhile, on a semirecumbent bike, your knees might align with your hips or they might be slightly higher. Both types of bike cause you to work your hip muscles, knees and legs harder while your lower back remains protected. However, keep in mind that recumbent bikes will cause more hip flexion when you use the bike, and you will be putting strain on your gluteus and quadriceps muscles, too. When you start using a recumbent bike, the first few times you ride it you may notice soreness or tenderness in your hips, knees and legs; you are now using muscles that you are not accustomed to using all the time. For this reason, start off using a recumbent bike slowly, for 15 to 20 minutes two to three times a week until you get adjusted to using your hip and leg muscles.
In terms of comfort, many people prefer recumbent bikes. With recumbent bikes, you are provided with a large, padded seating area and a backrest for back support. Recumbent bikes can be used by the elderly, and are great for people with mobility issues. When you can exercise in total comfort, you are more likely to stick with the exercises; these bikes are not only great for your hips, they are great for your health in general. You get full back support of the lumbar region and lower back. It is easy on your knees, and many of these bikes are crafted with computers that have presets, which can be used to tailor the ride based on age and size.
To get the best use out of a recumbent bike and to ensure that you do not experience pain from its use, make sure your equipment is a proper fit. Once you sit on the recumbent bike, you can make seating adjustments so that the seat is positioned so you bend your knees at a relaxed angle when you have the pedal nearest to your body. You should not overextend your leg when you push the pedal away; this can result in hip and leg strain. Your leg should be near full extension, but not beyond it, when you use the recumbent bike.
If you find during cycling that your body moves back and forth from side to side, you are in the wrong seating position; this can cause hip strain and achiness later.