Stationary exercise bikes have been around for years but recently, manufacturers have started to pay more attention to what consumers want and the result has been the development and rapid popularity of the recumbent exercise bike. The type of bike offers most users so much more than an upright can.
It may surprise you to learn that recumbent bikes have been around since 1895. And, it may surprise you to further to learn that it has always been known that the rider could outperform his upright counterpart. In 1938, a Frenchman, called Francis Faure, became the first cyclist to exceed 30 miles in one hour. His record stood until as late as 1984 when Francesco Moser, riding an upright with special aerodynamic disc wheels in the thin air of Mexico City, covered 31.784 miles in one hour.
However, fitness companies paid little attention to cycling in a reclined position and instead made upright after upright. However, some began to actually find out who was using their bikes and why many people doing cardiovascular exercise preferred to use other types of exercise equipment.
What they actually found was that the majority of people using stationary exercise bikes were far from being the toned athletes that we always see in commercials and advertisements. Most people using their machines where getting on in years, overweight or had other health reasons for wanting to get in better shape.
Soon, the primary focus of building bikes changed from the machine to the rider, taking into consideration the best specifics for optimal exercising. The recumbent exercise bike was born.
So, what are the benefits?
Being saddled sore is always a problem for most when riding an upright, especially when riding one for a long time. This is especially true for those who are overweight. But with a recumbent bike, you sit in a chair and some models come with mesh a back and seat to allow air to circulate, keeping the rider cooler and drier.
Also, for those who suffer lower back pain, cycling in a reclined position in a chair is far more comfortable.
If you’ve ridden an upright for any length of time, you’ll have noticed your wrists and fingers getting sore and numb. This is caused by median nerve compression (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), which is aggravated by the hyper-extension and weight placed on the wrists. This is completely eliminated when cycling in a reclined position.
But it isn’t just comfort that is improved when cycling in a reclined position. A recumbent exercise bike is more ergonomically correct than a traditional upright. Breathing is improved for many, as abdominal muscles relax and breathing becomes much easier and deeper.
Also, the gluteal muscles are stressed more so than with traditional upright bikes. This is great news for those looking to get that pert butt outline.
Shoulders and upper arms are also less impacted. When riding an upright, the rider is hunched over the handle bars, but with a recumbent model, the upper back, shoulder and upper arms are pressed back into the back of the chair, remaining in a better, straighter position.
If you are considering buying a stationary exercise bike, you should look at a recumbent exercise bike rather than an upright; in terms of comfort, alleviating body stress and for the cardiovascular benefits these bikes are ideal, especially if you are a first time cyclist or are new to exercise.