If you want to get back into shape - or stay in shape - without risking accidents or injuries, there are few better ways to do that than with a recumbent bike. They have a low impact on your joints and promote a healthier lifestyle.
Check out our guide to the best recumbent bikes for seniors to find out which model is right for you and learn how to get the most out of your recumbent bike!
What is a Recumbent Bike?
Recumbent bicycles come in either stationary or outdoor configurations. They’re named after the “recumbent position”, a seated position that has the user leaning on a backrest and elevates the legs. Recumbent bikes put your feet in front of you, not under you; they also have a backrest that you lean against, which takes the pressure off of your hips.
These bikes are designed for people with bad backs, knees, or hips, as well as people who have balance issues. You don’t have to balance yourself on the bike and can instead focus on pedaling. They put less pressure on the knees, and won’t leave your hips or buttocks sore after riding. Recumbent bikes are a near-perfect form of exercise for anyone who finds using traditional bikes to be uncomfortable, painful, or unsafe.
Pros and Cons of Riding a Recumbent Bike for Seniors
Recumbent vs Upright Stationary Bikes for Seniors - Pros and Cons
What is the Advantage of Getting an Upright Stationary Bike Instead of Recumbent?
Upright bikes provide a slightly more intense workout than recumbent stationary bikes. They require more balance and effort, which helps you burn calories faster. The difference is slight, but it is still worth mentioning.
Upright stationary bicycles are better for seniors who have fewer health issues, particularly in their muscles and joints, than other elderly people. They are more engaging to ride, which means you’re less likely to get bored using one over time.
Finally, although many upright stationary bikes are very expensive, seniors on a budget have more options with upright models than they do recumbent. They’re simply easier to manufacture and take less raw materials to produce; you can get a very simple model for about $150!
What is the Advantage of Getting a Recumbent Stationary Bike Instead of Upright?
Recumbent stationary bikes are easier to use and less taxing on your joints although they offer the exact same benefits. If you are looking for the exercise benefits of cycling without having to balance on the bike, recumbent bikes are for you.
If you have back pain, balance issues, or get sore when sitting on a normal bike, getting an upright stationary bike isn’t the best idea. If you do, it’s far more likely that you won’t use it enough to experience the benefits of cycling and leave it collecting dust. Recumbent bikes are more comfortable, simpler to use, and don’t require any effort to balance.
The biggest downside of these types of stationary bikes is that they’re more expensive than upright models. You can still find recumbent stationary bikes that fit your budget, but each model of recumbent bike is generally more expensive than a comparable upright bike.
Best Brands of Recumbent Bikes
Nordic Track: Top-of-the-Line
This brand has a worldwide reputation for producing luxury workout equipment that truly promotes a healthy body. They only make two recumbent exercise bikes, but both of them are excellent ways to fully engage in an active lifestyle. These are some of the most expensive recumbent bikes on the market; you’ll spend no less than $1,500 on one.
If you want to get a recumbent bike that you can use to push yourself to the limit, this is the brand for you. Nordic Track’s recumbent bikes come with a 1-year membership to a video workout plan called iFit, full of different video workout routines that will play directly on the built-in screen! For any senior who is serious about their fitness, it’s hard to go wrong with Nordic Track.
Sole Fitness: Best for Medium Budgets
Similar to Nordic Track, Sole Fitness only produces two recumbent bikes, but both of them are high-quality and designed to help you get in shape without injuring yourself. Sole offers free shipping on all their products and a lifetime warranty on any motors/frames on their products.
If you don’t have the budget for a Nordic Track or aren’t interested in the included workout videos, a Sole Fitness recumbent bike might be right for you. You can get either of Sole’s recumbent exercise bikes for about $1,000; still a premium price, but significantly more affordable than Nordic Track.
Exerpeutic: Most Affordable
This brand sells its products through Amazon, Walmart, and other large retailers. If the $1,000 price tag of a Sole Fitness recumbent bike is too much for you, you will feel much more comfortable purchasing a $250 Exerpeutic recumbent bicycle.
Exerpeutic has 5 different models available, each with its own advantages. One model even features a desk-like surface that you can use to hold a book or laptop while you ride! The bikes from this brand won’t feel quite as fancy as premium brands, but they function just as well.
Mobo: Best Recumbent Road Bikes
Recumbent road bikes are a bit harder to find, and when you do find them they typically cost more than $2,500. Mobo has two recumbent road bikes (technically trikes since they have three wheels) that cost less than $600. They’re fun to ride, easy to learn, and won’t cost as much as an 8-day cruise to own. If you’re looking to get outdoors on a recumbent bike, Mobo is the best place to start
Top Recumbent Bikes for Seniors in 2021
1. Best Recumbent Bike for Seniors (Overall): Nordic Track Commercial R35
The best model from the best brand, the R35 is a fully-featured recumbent bike designed for people who want to make exercise a large part of their lifestyle. With ergonomic back support, easy seat adjustments, and a powerful cooling fan, using the R35 will be about as breezy as it gets.
Nordic Track’s R35 has a 14-inch screen that you can use to recreate real-world cycling routes powered by Google Maps. The included iFit subscription (good for one year) is full of cycling routines and other workouts that you can do at home. If you’re looking for a complete fitness solution, not just a creaky recumbent bicycle, the Nordic Track R35 is for you.
2. Best Recumbent Road Bike for Seniors: Mobo Triton Pro
Why spend thousands on a recumbent road bike that has features you’ll never need or use? The Mobo Triton Pro is a simple yet comfortable recumbent road bike that you’ll have a blast riding on sunny days. The pedals and steering are easy to get the hang of; all it takes is a couple of minutes of getting situated and the intuitive controls become clear.
If you’re looking for a recumbent road bike but don’t have the budget for a top-end model, there is no doubt the Mobo Triton Pro is the right choice for you. It has three solid, knobby tires that will provide excellent traction no matter where you choose to ride. For a great outdoor recumbent bike experience, look no further than this affordable, comfortable bike from Mobo!
3. Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Seniors: Sole Fitness LCR Recumbent Bike
Though it may not have as many bells and whistles as the Nordic Track 35, this recumbent exercise bike from Sole Fitness still has everything that seniors need. It’s got 40 different levels of resistance, a simple LCD interface, and can hold any user up to 350 pounds.
This recumbent exercise bike uses magnetic resistance to replicate the feeling of riding a bike on real paved roads. You can make it as difficult or easy as you like- just picture yourself riding up and down a hill. The Sole Fitness LCR will give you everything you need to get a great cycling workout, every time you hop on.
4. Recumbent Stationary Bike for Seniors: ProForm 440 ES
If you liked the features of the Nordic Track recumbent bike but didn’t like the price tag, this is the exercise bike for you. At less than half the price, the ProForm 440 ES delivers everything a senior needs for a good workout.
The backrest has an ergonomic design that provides support for the lower back, and the bike itself has a low-entry frame that is very easy to get in and out of. The ProForm 440 ES also has a 5-inch video screen that you can use for pre-programmed workouts, a feature that’s nearly impossible to find on an exercise bike that costs less than $750!
5. Safest Recumbent Bike for Seniors: Exerpeutic Easy Step-Through Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
In terms of safety, there isn’t much competition between manufacturers because recumbent exercise bikes are naturally safe machines. This one in particular, though, is designed with a frame that you can step through and sit in like a chair, without raising your leg to do so. This makes it an ideal bike for anyone who has hip, back, or balance issues!
It’s not just a safe recumbent bike; it also provides a great workout for seniors. The pedals are wide and stable, it has 24 different preset workout programs, and it can accommodate any person regardless of their height- from 4’11” to 6’6”!
Finally, this is one of the most affordable recumbent exercise bikes on the market. That’s one of the benefits of choosing an Exerpeutic: you get incredible value for your money.
6. Best Value Recumbent Exercise Bike for Elderly: Exerpeutic 1500XL
It’s hard to find a decent recumbent exercise bike for less than $400, but the Exerpeutic 1500XL is a great model that costs just under $250! Exerpeutic is the best manufacturer in terms of value for the money, and the 1500XL is no different.
It’s simple, but it will give any senior the workout they need without taking up too much space. It has a 300-pound weight capacity, 8 different resistance levels, and is powered by AA batteries. If you’re looking for a simple, portable exercise bike for your home, this is a great choice. You won’t be able to train for your next triathlon on it, but that’s not what it was made for. It’s designed to give people a convenient form of exercise that won’t leave them feeling sore and stiff afterward, and it does a great job of that!
7. Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike for Seniors: Exerpeutic 400XL
If you’re noticing that Exerpeutic is the choice for many different spots on this list, you’re onto something: Exerpeutic’s combination of value and convenience is hard to beat. This exercise bike, in particular, costs less than $175 and folds up into a portable position that makes it easy to put away after use.
Because it’s small and portable, don’t expect to be getting the most intense workout of your life on this exercise bike; it’s designed to provide light-moderate exercise and to stay out of the way otherwise. If you need something lightweight, portable, and easy to use to stay in shape, this should be one model you consider heavily.
8. Most Comfortable Recumbent Bike for Seniors: Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
If you’ve owned a Schwinn bicycle in the past, you know how comfortable they are; this recumbent exercise bike delivers on the comfort and the benefit. It’s very easy to get the hang of, and has enough features for even the most serious workout routines. The seat is ventilated, so you won’t get too sweaty or feel like you’re stuck to it, and it has a design that is very supportive to the lumbar area.
25 levels of resistance and 29 programmed exercise routines are more than enough for any senior to get in shape without getting bored doing the “same old, same old” exercise. Price-wise, it’s middle of the road: you’re paying for a premium exercise machine, but you aren’t overpaying. This is the exercise bike of choice for seniors who need something as comfortable as it is useful!
9. Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Overweight Seniors: LifeSpan Fitness R5i Recumbent Bike
The average weight capacity on a recumbent exercise bike is between 250 and 300 pounds. The LifeSpan R5i can hold users up to 400 pounds safely and securely. If you weigh more than 300 pounds, this is the best exercise bike for you, without a doubt. It’s strong, it has intuitive controls, and has a step-through entry design that makes it easy to get in/out of.
This bike has 40 different exercise programs you can use to switch things up and make every workout count- there are weight loss routines, sports training, and cardiovascular routines, among others. For any overweight senior who needs an exercise bike, the R5i is almost impossible to beat.
10. Best Outdoor Recumbent Bike for Seniors: Mobo Shift Adult Recumbent
Mobo’s more premium model, the Shift, offers excellent performance and a surprisingly comfortable seat to any senior who wants to hit the road for some exercise. It also comes with tires that can handle grass, dirt, and even sand from time to time! If you don’t want to be stuck in the house when using a recumbent bike, this is the way to go.
The Mobo Shift is also very easy to control; the steering (after you get the hang of it) is more natural than using bicycle handlebars, and the pedals are smooth. The seat of the Shift, particularly the backrest, doesn’t look like a normal recumbent bike seat. It’s made up of thick, supportive foam pads that spread out across your back and support your body weight evenly and comfortably. It’s also got adjustable reclining, a nice feature in an affordable recumbent road bike!
11. Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Short Seniors: ProForm 235 CSX
These exercise machines are usually adjustable, but that doesn’t mean they’re always a perfect fit for shorter seniors. If you’re shorter than 5’5”, the ProForm 325 CSX is the best recumbent bike for you. It can accommodate users who are as short as 4’8”, it has a large LCD screen, and you can choose from several different workouts with 18 different resistance levels.
This is a slightly older recumbent bike- introduced in 2016- so it won’t have all of the latest tech available, but that shouldn’t concern you too much. If you’re looking for a recumbent bike that truly fits your body, look no further than the ProForm 235 CSX!
12. Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with Arm Movement for Seniors: Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike
Exercise bikes are great, but they don’t usually do much for the upper body. They can also be difficult for seniors with very weak legs to use, even though that’s exactly what those seniors need to be doing to get stronger. This bike, though, has pedals for both the arms and the legs, letting you get a total body workout or simply give your legs a boost when they need it.
Stamina Elite makes many excellent exercise machines, with steel frames and an emphasis on health benefits over flashy features. It has 8 different resistance levels, making it easy for you to decide what level of tension is best for you. If you are looking to get a complete workout on one machine, look no further than the Stamina Elite Total Body!
FAQs: Recumbent Bikes for Seniors
Which is Better for a Seniors:
A Recumbent Bike?
Recumbent machines take the most pressure off of the hips, lower back, and knees. If you have a history of pain in any of these areas, a recumbent bike is better for you. If, however, your joints are in good condition and you want to get a more intense workout, other types of exercise equipment might be right for you. Recumbent bikes are best for reducing pain, and they still produce great results, it’s just that running/other exercises are better for people who have serious fitness goals.
These machines are a great way to get exercise that is similar to jogging but without the damaging impact on their joints. Ellipticals don’t remove all the pressure from your knees, but they do reduce the jarring impact that running has. If you can comfortably stand for long periods without pain, an elliptical machine is a safe way to get your heart pumping and build muscular strength.
Elliptical machines aren’t going to burn as many calories as running, but they are the next best thing for people who can no longer run and don’t enjoy cycling. If you feel more comfortable doing your cardio workouts in a standing position, an elliptical should be your go-to!
If you have a bad back, you should stay away from the rowing machine, at least until you can build up some back strength. Rowing machines are great for your leg, back, and arm muscles, but they can put some serious strain on the lower back over time. Rowing is an excellent way to stay fit- you just have to make sure that your body isn’t at a disadvantage from injury or weakness, and be careful to avoid overdoing it!
Running on a treadmill is the first thing many people think of when it comes to cardio workouts. While treadmill running can be very beneficial (especially for your heart, equal to running) and engaging, they are not the safest machines. The impact on your knees and ankles can leave you quite sore and stiff. More than that, the continuously running belt that forms the surface of the treadmill can cause injuries and falls if you are unable to keep up with the pace.
Treadmills are best thought of as an alternative to running outside. If you enjoy running but it’s too cold or too wet outside, take your workout to the treadmill. Otherwise, it’s safer to run outdoors where you have total control over your pace.
Walking isn’t quite as safe as using a recumbent bike, but it is almost equally beneficial. Though it may not feel like it, walking hurts your knees and ankles over time, especially compared to exercising on a recumbent bike. If you have had a history of issues with your joints, it’s wise to plan your workouts around protecting and preserving your joints by using a recumbent bike.
Best Recumbent Bike Workouts for Seniors
20-Minute Basic Recumbent Bike Routine
Quick Ten Minute Workout for Recumbent Bike
(Note: Very few videos devoted to seniors/won’t require additional equipment)
How Can I Find Recumbent Senior Bike Groups Near Me?
The best way to keep yourself committed to a new workout routine is to find other people to work out with you. Joining a workout group with peers can introduce you to new friends, keep you consistent with your journey toward better health. But, where do you find them?
If you belong to a gym or fitness center, check bulletin boards to see if there are any classes or groups at your gym. If that doesn’t work, ask one of the center staff if they keep a directory of groups that you might want to join. You can also call local physical therapy centers to see if one of the therapists knows of a group they can connect you to.
Social media is always a good way to reach out. Facebook Groups exist for virtually every topic under the sun; searching for a senior’s recumbent biking group is certainly worth a shot! The website Meetup has a small directory of recumbent cycling groups that you can look through as well.
Buying Guide: Recumbent Bikes
Will Medicare Cover a Recumbent Bike?
Unfortunately, you cannot get your recumbent bike covered by Medicare. Medicare pays for items that they consider to be Durable Medical Equipment (DME), things that are medically necessary. Though exercise might be medically necessary for your recovery, Medicare won’t cover exercise equipment because they already cover your physical therapy and rehabilitation.
What to Look for in a Recumbent Bike for Seniors
How to Find the Best Price on a Recumbent Bike for Seniors
Getting a recumbent exercise bike is a great way to stay in shape, preserve the health of your joints, and improve your energy levels. Whether it’s a top-of-the-line Nordic Track or an Exerpeutic that does its job without excess, there is a recumbent bike that meets your needs, desires, and budget range. Which recumbent bike do you think you’ll choose? Let us know in the comments section below!