When riding a bicycle outdoors in the elements just isn't your thing, stick to a climate-controlled ride on a recumbent bike. Using a recumbent bike doesn't give you a pass on warming up; you should always warm up before exercise. The bike offers a strong cardio workout and can help tone your legs with the right resistance, but help prevent injury by getting your muscles warm and your heart rate up first.
Warming up means getting your blood flowing to the muscles you're about to work. On a recumbent bike, that's mostly your legs. Walking or jogging, even in place, helps raise your heart rate and get your leg muscles ready for a powerful cycling workout. Don't run flat-out on a treadmill, however. Stick to five to 10 minutes of brisk walking or easy jogging.
Pedal, But Slow
Follow the range of motion you'll use when cycling as you're warming up, recommends the Bike Radar website. That means getting on the recumbent bike for some easy pedaling. Don't use resistance, and start off at a leisurely pace. After about five minutes, spend 10 seconds or so per minute pedaling fast, then slow it back down for the rest of the minute. Do this for about another five minutes. These high-intensity bursts help raise your heart rate quickly.
Make Your Legs Dynamic
After warming up, it's time to get your stretch on. Save static stretches for after your workout and use dynamic stretching beforehand. Concentrate on your legs and hips, as they'll be doing most of the work. Stand beside a wall for balance and swing one leg forward and backward, starting with small swings and gradually increasing the height as much as is comfortable. Swing each leg for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch it up to swing them side to side in front of you, warming up your inner and outer thighs.
Ankles in the Groove
Ankles aren't just made to show off flashy high heels; they also provide much of your control and power on the recumbent bike, rotating with the pedals' range of motion. Keep the dynamic stretching going by standing on a step and pushing up onto your toes, then lowering so your heel falls below the top of the step. Continue for about 60 seconds.