What's better than riding a bicycle in the park, the wind in your hair and bugs biting your legs? Riding a recumbent bike in the comfort of your own home or air conditioned gym! Recumbent bikes are a laid-back version of the regular exercise bike. You recline on a comfortable seat while you pedal away calories and build muscles. But don't let the seated position fool you -- you will get a powerful cardio workout on a recumbent bicycle.
Advantages of Recumbent Bikes
Using a recumbent bicycle gives you an effective cardio workout for fat burning and improved heart health. The big, comfortable seat is particularly supportive for those of us with a little extra below the belt or who have back injuries. You may adjust the seat to accommodate your height and recline level. Treadmills and upright bikes impact your joints, but the reclined position of your body on a recumbent bicycle reduces joint impact. You don't have to be an athlete to use a recumbent bike either. People of all fitness levels may enjoy a good workout on a recumbent bicycle.
Fat Burning Workout
You have to sweat if you want to burn calories and fat. Regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, running and bicycling, are effective ways to increase your cardiovascular fitness while burning calories and fat. Most of us who need to lose a few pounds want to lose fat in the belly, hips and thighs. However, you can't spot reduce by working only those parts of the body you want to slim. Pumping the pedals on a recumbent bicycle increases your heart rate for a fat-burning aerobic workout that will over the long term help you lose weight all over your body.
One of the significant benefits of working out on a recumbent bicycle is that your butt, thighs and hamstrings get an intense workout while you pedal. The reclined seat shifts the power of your movement to your butt and thighs for toning and stronger muscles. You can alternate increasing and decreasing the pedal resistance on your bike for an interval workout you will feel in your butt and thighs. Pump those pedals for five minutes at low to medium resistance and then crank it up to stronger resistance for two to three minutes. Alternate between low-medium and high resistance for about 20 minutes or until you feel the burn.
Upper Body Workouts
Recumbent bikes provide an effective cardio workout and work the lower body, but what about your arms, chest and abs? Grab a couple of 3-to 5-pound dumbbells and work your arms and chest while pedaling your recumbent bike. Simply holding the dumbbells close to your chest while you exercise on a recumbent bike works your upper body by adding resistance to your workout. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands and alternate extending your arms out in front of you in a boxing motion while you pedal. Try to do some curls or triceps drops while at the same time pedaling on the recumbent bike.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.