Welcome friend! In this post, you will learn about the best recumbent bike for seniors with arthritis and how a recumbent bike can help fight arthritis.
Let’s face it. Arthritis is a real drag. It can cause pain and discomfort that makes most forms of exercise unenjoyable.
But the fact is that if you suffer from arthritis you should exercise because it helps to reduce the symptoms. So it’s a real catch-22. Your symptoms can make one of the most effective treatments uncomfortable or impossible.
Fortunately, there are a lot of solutions to try to make exercise easier with arthritis. Recumbent bikes are one of these.
They are easier on your back than regular bikes and can help reduce your arthritis symptoms.
It’s important to realize that arthritis comes in many forms and recumbent bikes are definitely not suitable for all people with arthritis,
So consult your treating physician and medical professionals before introducing recumbent bike workouts into your exercise routine.
What Are Recumbent Bikes
Recumbent bikes are bicycles and exercise bikes where you sit in a reclining position instead of a regular saddle. This has a few benefits over your regular bicycle or exercise bike.
The first is that the reclining position reduces the pressure on your sitting bones and muscles. The reclining position allows for a wider seat and a backrest which distribute your weight better.
The reclining position also takes a lot of strain off your lower back. You don’t need to lean forward and round your back. The backrest also offers significant support for the lower back and pelvis.
The reclining position can also reduce the angles of your knees and ankle compared to a regular bike. This can reduce the range of motion which can reduce your arthritis symptoms.
In a recumbent outdoor bicycle, the other major benefit is reduced air resistance and a lower center of gravity. This makes them very stable and easier to pedal.
But this comes at a price. It can be a lot harder to get on and off a low recumbent outdoor bicycle with arthritis as the seat is so low.
For indoor recumbent bikes, this is generally not a problem as they are seated higher. I talked more about recumbent bikes and indoor cycling in the article Indoor Cycling For Seniors.
Arthritis And Exercise
Before we talk more about recumbent bikes it’s important to understand how arthritis affects your ability to exercise. And why exercise is important for living with arthritis.
As you probably know, arthritis is not a single disease. It actually refers to over 100 inflammatory and autoimmune diseases that affect the joints and spine.
The most common arthritic diseases are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
No matter what type of arthritis you have, it can affect your ability to exercise significantly. Arthritic diseases often make your joints or spine stiff and painful to move.
But research shows that exercise is very beneficial for arthritis. It helps to keep your muscles strong, improving joint stability. Exercise has also been shown beneficial in reducing inflammation that’s often associated with arthritis.
The biggest problem with exercise and arthritis is that exercise can worsen your symptoms. This is especially true if you overdo it or push too much against the pain.
That’s why it’s important to listen to your body and to plan your exercise according to the advice from your treating medical professionals.
Why Recumbent Bikes Are Especially Good For Arthritis
Recumbent bikes, especially stationary ones, can be a really good form of exercise if you have arthritis. This is because they don’t put as much pressure on your spine as regular exercise bikes do.
On a regular bicycle or exercise bike, you will usually need to support your upper body with your arms and hands. So this is a big bonus for recumbent bikes.
The reclined seating position also allows your hips to remain more open. Some recumbent bikes will also have an adjustable backrest. This allows you to choose the best position for your individual needs.
All this is beneficial if you have arthritis that affects the major joints of your legs like hips, knees, and ankles. Arthritis usually affects the range of motion of the affected joints.
It’s of course important to try to improve and maintain the range of motion in your joints and muscles.
But during prolonged exercise with arthritis, it’s likely better to reduce the range of motion. This helps to avoid irritation, inflammation, and pain after exercise.
What To Look For In The Best Recumbent Bike For Seniors With Arthritis
When choosing a recumbent bike as a senior with arthritis, it’s beneficial to look for a model that offers the most comfort and adjustability.
When training with arthritis it’s more important to focus on comfort and sustainability over performance. This means that adjustability is more important than other features.
Depending on how your arthritis affects you this might mean different things. If arthritis mainly affects your back you should focus on the comfort of the seat.
If on the other hand arthritis affects the joints of your legs it’s more important to focus on the adjustability of the drive distance and range of motion with
The thing that affects the range of motion the most is the circumference of the pedal cranks. The higher it is, the higher the range of motion is in your joints.
Also, the adjustability of the seat angle affects comfortability. And the angle at which the seat is in relation to the drive train.
It’s also a good idea to look for a model that offers pedal straps. This makes the bike more versatile as this allows you to engage your hip flexors.
Best Recumbent Bike For Seniors With Arthritis For Indoor Use
The best indoor recumbent bike for you if you have arthritis is the one that suits your individual proportions and needs.
That’s why I’m not going to recommend a certain model. I’m not also going to recommend you buy a recumbent bike online if you have arthritis.
What I will recommend is that you invest in a reputable brand. You don’t have to pay a fortune to get a good recumbent exercise bike. But don’t choose the cheapest depot store brand either.
A cheap exercise bike will not likely last and the features are not usually what they promise. When you manufacture and sell cheap products, there really isn’t much room for product development.
That’s why I recommend you go to a local sports goods store and test which bike feels best for your body. This is the best way to choose a comfortable exercise bike.
This way you can test the different models to see how they feel and how the adjustments work. In a good store, you will also get a professional to help you choose the best options.
The other major benefit instead of buying online is that you can usually try the bike at home and then change them if not a good fit. The return policies these days tend to be better with physical stores than in online stores.
If you want a bike that’s going to last and has some serious thought put into the design, there are several high-quality brands out there.
Nordictrack is a good example of a modern and reputable brand. You can learn more about Nordictrack recumbent bikes in the article Nordictrack For Seniors.
Another good example is Peloton. I will write a short guide about their products in the near future as well, so stay tuned.
Best Recumbent Bike For Seniors With Arthritis For Outdoor Use
In case you are looking for a recumbent street bicycle, I have a few tips as well. Recumbent bicycles can be great for seniors because they are more stable and have less drag than regular bicycles.
But the biggest problem is that they can be hard to mount if you have problems with your knees or back. This is because the seat is very close to the ground, as I mentioned before.
That’s why in my opinion most regular recumbent bikes are not suitable for seniors with arthritis.
But once again, the only way to be sure is to try it out yourself. The best way is once again to try them out in a physical sports goods store.
But there is one specific type of recumbent bike that can be very good for older people with arthritis. A three-wheeled recumbent e-bike.
They are stable and easy on the joints. They also make getting around easy with the help of the electric motor.
I will soon write more about 3-wheel bikes for seniors but for now, you can learn more about this type of bike in the article Best Electric Bikes For Seniors.
I hope you found these tips about recumbent bikes for seniors with arthritis useful. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them below.
As a recap, recumbent indoor bikes are a great option for seniors with arthritis. They are easier on the joints and the back. Exercise is also very beneficial for arthritis so it can help to reduce your symptoms.
Regular recumbent bicycles aren’t usually the best option for seniors because they can be hard to get off from.
But recumbent e-bikes, especially three-wheeled ones, can be a great tool for transportation for seniors with arthritis. They can be a great option for an electric motorized scooter.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!