The recumbent bike can be a great rehab tool for anyone recovering from a knee injury. The low impact exercise is good for increasing blood flow and range of movement whilst also adding a cardiovascular aspect to your recovery.
If you are recovering from knee surgery, have an operation coming up or generally struggle with knee pain, an exercise bike might be a good investment for your home gym. You can even sit on it while watching the TV at night; lazy rehab - my favourite!
So what options are there when it comes to exercise bikes and which one is best recumbent bike for you? Firstly, it is helpful to know the difference in terms of types of stationary bikes.
Upright stationary bikes vs recumbent bikes
When it comes to stationary bikes, there are two main types: recumbent and upright. The main difference between these two styles of exercise bikes is the riding position. Recumbent bikes offer riders a comfortable and supported seated position, similar to sitting in an office chair, while upright bikes are more similar to a traditional outdoor bike, where you mount the bike and your upper body is not supported by a backrest. Here are some other differences between the two types of bikes:
- Offers a comfortable and supported seated position
- Has a larger seat that can be more comfortable, especially for beginners
- Provides lower back support
- Pedals are positioned in front of the body, allowing for improved weight distribution and balance
- Requires less skill to balance, making it a safer option
- Can be a good option for older adults
- An upright exercise bike offers a more traditional riding position
- Engages the core/abdominal muscles more than a recumbent bike
- Works the hamstrings more as a secondary rather than primary mover
- Provides a better cardio workout if used appropriately
- Allows for standing up on the pedals, which can be a good option for athletes or those looking to improve their athletic performance
When deciding which type of bike is best for you, consider your fitness goals, experience level, and comfort preferences.
Benefits of cycling for knee recovery
Cycling, especially on a stationary bike, can be beneficial for knee recovery in terms of fitness level as well as lower body strength and mobility. Here are some benefits of biking for knee recovery:
- Low-impact exercise: Cycling is a form of exercise that puts less stress on your joints, making it a great low-impact workout option for people with knee pain or injuries.
- Strengthens muscles: Cycling can help build leg and core strength, which can better support the joints and relieve some of the pressure.
- Increases mobility: Cycling gets your legs moving through their range of motion, which encourages the production of synovial fluid that lubricates the joints.
- Controlled range of motion: Cycling offers a controlled range of motion that can help with knee recovery.
- Improves function: Exercising on stationary bikes lessened pain and improved function in people with knee osteoarthritis.
- Safe exercise: Cycling is a safe exercise for people with knee pain or injuries, as long as it is done correctly and with proper form.
It is important to start with a stationary bike and build strength first on the recumbent bike, which is the bike with back support and pedals in front of you, before progressing to the upright bike. The resistance level should be set so that you feel some traction, yet you are able to complete a 30-minute cycling session, and it should be increased by small amounts each week or every workout. When transitioning to biking outdoors, it is recommended to ride on a flat route and choose a low gear that will not be too much for your knee.
General benefits of the stationary bike
Stationary exercise bikes offer a variety of benefits for overall health and fitness. Here are some general benefits of stationary exercise bikes:
- Cardiovascular health: Riding a stationary bike can improve cardiovascular health by increasing aerobic fitness and improving the health of the heart and lungs.
- Weight loss: Stationary biking can help burn calories and body fat, making it a great option for weight loss.
- Muscle strengthening: Stationary biking can help strengthen leg and lower body muscles, including the calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps, as well as the core, back, and glutes.
- Low-impact exercise: Stationary biking is a low-impact exercise option that puts less stress on the joints, making it a good option for people with joint pain or injuries.
- Convenient and safe: Stationary bikes are convenient and safe, as they can be used at home or in a gym, and can be used regardless of the weather or time of day.
- Improves mobility: Stationary biking can help improve mobility by encouraging the production of synovial fluid that lubricates the joints.
- Reduces pain: Stationary biking can help reduce pain and improve function in people with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Improves overall health: Regularly engaging in stationary bike workouts can improve markers of health, such as reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and blood lipids, and improving blood sugar regulation.
Overall, stationary exercise bikes offer a low-impact, convenient, and effective way to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and improve overall health and fitness.
The best recumbent bikes for knee rehabilitation
There are a number of options when it comes to choosing the best exercise bike to buy for your recovery, but here are my top 3:
The XS sports recumbent exercise bike is a great affordable option for anyone looking to get an exercise bike for their home, at a budget. At just under £150, it comes with a 12 month warranty and is simply to install. It has 8 variable resistance levels, pedal straps and an LED screen which measures distance, time worked, heart rate, speed and calories burnt. It has a padded, comfortable seat with heart rate monitoring arm rests.
The RE100 recumbent exercise bike from JLL is a high quality and affordable option of stationary bikes for your home rehabilitation. JLL product good quality exercise equipment that are designed to be long lasting and this is another example.
The adjustable seat has 6 settings which can be great specifically for knee-rehab because you can adjust it to be closer or further away as your range of movement improves throughout your recovery. Again, it has 8 resistance levels to enable you to progress and constantly overload your muscles. The 6-function LED display records speed, distance, calories, heart rate, odometer and time worked. It has a smooth flywheel which keeps the bike quiet while you are pedalling - great for having in the home.
The ProForm CSX recumbent bike is a slightly more expensive but arguably the best option, which comes with fantastic quality and one I would recommend for any home gym or long term rehab.
The 5-inch multi colour LCD screen displays all of your metrics, or you can link it to your iPad and follow workout programs along to your iFit account using the tablet stand. This interactive bike is powered by iFit and comes with a 30 day free trial to their services. You can stream like workouts or do your own thing.
Manually choose from 22 levels of resistance or let the iFit trainers automatically adjust it for you. The magnetic fitness levels also offer quieter and smooth pedalling.
You can even plug your music into the LCD display using an auxiliary input which will play through the built in, 2 inch built-in speakers.
There is an oversized cushion and large seat offering support and lumbar comfort, a water bottle holder along with an adjustment handle which enables you to move the seat closer or further away as your range of movement improves. It also comes with a 2 year warranty and 5 year frame guarantee.
You can order it form £599 with payment plans available.
Ultimately, your choice of recumbent bike will be down to personal preference. Having a bike at home can be an extremely convenient way to give your recovery process a kick-start and develop your cardiovascular fitness alongside performing your body weight and physical therapy exercise program.
Whether your goals are related to recovering from surgery, weight loss, cardiovascular fitness; or a combination of all three, stationary exercise bikes are a great addition to even small spaces in your home to help you reduce your knee joint pain.