Fortunately, there are many aids that can help seniors work out in comfort and without the risk of injury. An example of this is the recumbent bike. Although biking has become more dangerous for older cyclists, using a recumbent bike at home can be very effective and is quite safe.
This article will dive into tips on how seniors can safely use recumbent while also looking at the most effective exercises they can use to stay healthy.
Recumbent Bike Safety: Tips for Seniors
Using a recumbent bike is generally very safe as long as the user doesn’t overdo it with their exercise regime. However, it’s always good to keep the following in mind:
No matter what kind of exercise you do, it is essential that you keep your body hydrated. Seniors are more prone to suffer from dehydration, so keeping water nearby is a good idea. Also, avoid exercising if the temperatures are too high, or at least cut exercises short if it’s too hot.
Protect Your Knees
Older people tend to experience some difficulty with their wrists and knees because of osteoporosis and arthritis. If that’s the case for you, it might be a good idea to first consult your doctor before doing any form of exercise. If you just jump in and exercise, you might get hurt or damage your body.
While you exercise, do your best to keep your knees straight—this is especially important for people with joint issues. Knee pads that support the knees might also be a good idea.
Understand Your Limits
Although it’s a good idea to stay active, the way you exercise may not be the same or as intense as someone else’s routine. Don’t overdo your body and don’t exercise beyond what you’re comfortable with.
If this is your first time exercising in a while, get your body used to working out and build up a healthy routine. Don’t expect to be able to do 30 minutes if you’ve been inactive for months. Ease into your exercises and gradually build up to longer sessions.
If you ever experience a strained feeling in your chest that is severe, don’t hesitate to call 911. And if you feel out of breath, stop exercising. There’s no point in putting yourself at risk even when using a recumbent bike.
There are recumbent bikes available for use on the road, but it’s important that you keep road safety in mind if that’s something you’re interested in. These bikes are much lower than cars and you’ll have to put a flag on the back to make sure you’re visible to drivers.
It can be difficult to turn around and look out for traffic too, and the mirrors are less functional than a normal vehicle’s mirrors. If you want to use a recumbent bike made for use on the road, stick to low-traffic areas for safety.
Best Recumbent Bike Workouts for Seniors
There are two basic and popular exercises that work really well for seniors because they’re not very difficult and they’re easy.
Begin by warming up for five minutes by using the recumbent bike at level one at a speed of 60 RPM.
Once the five minutes are up, increase the resistance level to two for about six minutes.
After that, increase the resistance level to three and exercise for five more minutes.
Push up the resistance level to four and keep it there for four minutes. Then, raise the resistance to level five and exercise for three minutes.
If you’re comfortable enough, increase the resistance level to six and keep it there for two minutes. Finally, raise the level to seven and exercise for one minute.
To cool down, lower the resistance back to one and exercise for four to five minutes. Throughout the exercises, keep the speed at 60 RPM.
Start this exercise routine by doing a four-minute warm-up. Keep the resistance of the recumbent bike low and maintain a slow and steady space.
Once the warm-up is done, increase the resistance level every three to four minutes, but be sure to maintain a consistent pace.
For the last 30 seconds of every resistance level, increase your pace to something a bit more intense but not too tiring for your body. Drop your pace back to normal as soon as it is time to increase the resistance level.
If the exercise feels too overwhelming for you, reduce the resistance a little bit so you are able to maintain your pace.
After you’ve reached the maximum resistance level you can handle, or after you’ve exercised for 26 minutes, lower the resistance to level one and maintain a steady, slow pace for three to four minutes.
You can adjust these exercises however you see fit to meet your expectations, but be sure to consult with a doctor before doing so.
Best YouTube Videos for Recumbent Bike Workouts
Sometimes, the best motivation comes from watching someone else exercise. If you need a beginners' guide to using the recumbent bike, this video by SilverSneakers can prove quite useful:
This 20-minute exercise video by Sunny Health & Fitness is a good start:
If you don’t like that one, this Vive Health video also covers 20 minutes of exercise:
Get Exercising Today!
Now that you know how to safely use recumbent bikes, you can get started living an active lifestyle without the discomfort that comes with traditional exercising or sports.
Recumbent bikes are meant to be easy to use and you can adjust the resistance levels, so you can start off taking it as easy as you need to and work your way to a more intense exercise that your body can handle. Remember to consult your doctor before you start any exercises and don’t push your body too hard!