What You Need To Know About Exercise Bikes for Seniors
Regardless of age, exercise is always important, as it gets the heart rate up and the blood circulating – in fact it keeps us young in mind, body and spirit. As you age it’s more important to have a daily exercise routine compared to a sedentary one even if you are more prone to aches and pains.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), those who are more active live longer and are physically stronger. They are also less likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure and at a lower risk of dementia.
WHO recommends all healthy adults over 65 to have an accumulated workout of 150 minutes per week; breaking it down to short periods of at least 10- to 30-minute sessions throughout the week. If you should suffer from an illness or disability, its best to speak with your physician to gauge what is best for you.
There are a myriad of ways to get your exercise in. A great way to get your workout in as often as you need, regardless of weather is on a stationary indoor bike. It’s a low impact workout that isn’t hard on your joints or bones. There are two main kinds of stationary bikes: upright and recumbent. Both are good options, however, your individual physical fitness will determine which is best for you. The upright bike is good if you are still physically strong, with little or no back problems. However the best exercise bike for seniors is the recumbent bike, especially if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Suffering from back problems: The design of recumbent has a seat with back/lumbar support. The larger the seat (cushioned) and support the more comfortable your ride.
- Frail bones: On the recumbent you are seated leaning back on the support, like that of a chair and not required to lean forward and support yourself. This takes away any pressure that would come from leaning on wrists, or any strain on your neck or back.
- Limited range of motion: The recumbent is designed low to the floor unlike that of an upright that is higher in the air and requires more balance and stability. It is easier to get on and off.
- Side handles: Usually side handles are in vicinity of the seat, which allow you to easily get on and off and hold while riding if you should need to.
- Screens: You will want to make sure the screen is big enough for you to view the stats of your workout.
Both the upright and recumbent come with additional features that you may want to consider but are not usually a necessity for seniors:
- Workout programs: the amount of programs varies from brand to brand.
- Resistance Levels: the more degrees of resistance offered the harder the workout can be.
- Flywheel: The heavier the flywheel the sturdier the machine, the harder one can ride.
- Assembly: Some bikes are relatively easy to assemble and some aren’t. You may want to check the Internet on reviews regarding assembly to determine if you will need assistance to put your bike together.
Here are our top picks for exercise bikes for the elderly:
The steel-framed Commercial VR25 Elite is NordicTrack’s premier recumbent bike. This solid trainer mixes modern electronics with comfortable lumbar support and a smooth ride. The NordicTrack Commercial VR25 Elite Recumbent Bike boasts a comfortable chair-like seat, a 25-pound drive, many built-in workout programs, iFit technology, a 7″ touch screen with Android browser and other great specs.
- Programs: It has 35 preset programs to choose from – whether you are working on your endurance, distance or burning calories.
- Handlebar: Adjustable for comfort and stability. Multi position allows you to adjust to various positions while riding.
- Seat: The seat is adjustable with a mesh back that keeps you cool.
- iFit technology: Plays interactive videos that can take you riding on various landscapes around the world.
- Step Thru™ design: by eliminating the traditional bike base, NordicTrack’s engineers have made the VR25 Elite easy to mount and dismount.
- Console: The 7” LCD screen make it easy to read your workout stats: distance, calories, time, speed and more.
Sole is a well-known brand for making some of the best exercise bikes. This Sole R92 is good for the elderly or rehab. It also offers all the basics required for a senior with a few motivating bells and whistles.
- Built with steel frame – will last many years.
- Programs – Comes with six preselected standard programs and allows for two user created programs.
- Console: A 9” LCD screen to read your stats.
- Adjustable handlebars that are moveable: up, down, forward or backward.
- Pedals – ergonomically built to provide comfort
Riding is certainly one of the better options to getting regular exercise for seniors, but walking is also good if your joints are strong and in good shape. We’ve included a few things to consider when choosing a treadmill.
The Diamondback 910SR is a low-impact, recumbent exercise bike which accommodates not only traditional users but also those dealing with chronic pain.
- Huge selection of workout programs (35)
- Resistance levels (32) one of the highest available
- Music ready with docking station for Apple products
- Adjustable handlebars and seatback
- Multiple speed cooling fan for comfort
- Wireless heart rate monitor challengers you further
The Best Treadmills for Seniors
Walking is also a good option to get your joints moving – treadmills are good for walking or a light jog. The best treadmills for seniors have the following specs, and are usually the most affordable because the demand on the machines are less than what is normally required of a serious, runner.
Space: Standard length is 55” (good for walking and jogging, not running).
Horsepower: 2.0, 2.5 CHP are good enough for the amount of speed and durability required of a senior.
Cushioning: Although walking is low impact it’s still best to get one with advanced cushioning to protect your joints. It’s sometimes referred to as variable cushioning.
Incline: The incline levels on most treadmills are generally good enough for walking. Walking on an incline, takes the pressure of the joints and lowers the impact.
Heart Monitor: Treadmills come with either a touch sensor built into the handlebar or the wireless monitoring. It is really your preference.
As far as health, prevention is always the best medicine – and exercise is one of the key elements to keeping your body and mind healthy and strong. It doesn’t have to be vigorous; it can be light – just get moving. Stationary bikes are one of the best options for seniors – they are convenient, can be used regardless of the weather outdoors and with some of the new technology you’ll be motivated by programs or videos that take you all around the world.
Photo credit: Ruslan Guzov/Shutterstock; StockLite/Shutterstock; Mladen Zivkovic/Shutterstock