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A recumbent bicycle is a type of exercise machine that allows you to sit in a reclined position while pedaling a stationary bicycle. The pedals are placed in front of you unlike in regular exercise bikes where the pedals are right below you as you either stand or sit upright.
Yes, it’s fair to say that a recumbent bike is as good as walking and burns as many calories, if not more. Recumbent bikes mimic the motion of walking and help you burn calories without standing or straining your back. Whether it’s as good as walking depends on how intense you do your workout and other factors.
Let me illustrate how the intensity of your workout affects the amount of calories you burn.
A 150-lb person exerting light to moderate effort on a stationary bicycle for 30 minutes can burn 172 calories. If that same person walks for 30 minutes, he can burn 125 calories (moderate pace, firm surface), 154 calories (brisk pace, firm surface), or 172 calories (grass track).
Of course, he can walk uphill at 5MPH and burn 350 calories, but you get the idea. The more intense you do your workout, the more calories you burn whether you’re walking or riding a stationary bicycle.
While there’s no doubt that recumbent bikes can help you burn calories, you cannot judge an exercise solely by the number of calories burned. Surely, you’re looking at recumbent bicycles for many other reasons, such as the benefits they offer to people with joint issues or mobility limitations.
If you’re planning to use a recumbent bike to replace long walks or just want to compare the two, then you have come to the right place.
Table of Contents
Is a Recumbent Bike a Good Workout?
Yes, a recumbent bike is a good cardiovascular workout that also improves range of motion, flexibility, and lower body strength. People who have problems with their knees, spine, joints, or have mobility issues will greatly benefit from the full back support that a recumbent bike provides. Also learn is a recumbent bike bad for your knees in our detailed article here.
These stationary bikes come in various sizes, capacities, and build, but they generally don’t take up too much space and are mostly foldable.
Is It Better to Walk or Use a Recumbent Bike?
It depends on what kind of walking you intend to do. If you can walk on an uphill terrain at 5MPH regularly, then why not? The person in the example can burn at least 350 calories doing that. He can only surpass that calorie burn with a vigorous effort on a recumbent bike.
Perhaps the difference is most significant if we consider WHO is going to do these exercises.
Walking at 5MPH is fine for people who can do it. However, for some people, imagine how they can burn so much calories in half an hour without the high impact associated with walking.
In short, if you can walk, good for you. You don’t need to invest in a fitness machine, and you’ll get to enjoy the outdoors like no gym can offer.
However, if you need back support and less impact on your joints, you should seriously consider a recumbent bike.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Recumbent Bicycle?
We’ve talked about this in the first couple of sections, but to summarize, here are the benefits of using a recumbent bicycle.
- Low impact exercise – the recumbent bike has low impact on your knees and hips. This makes it easier on your joints than running or jogging.
- Good cardio workout – it pumps the heart, improves circulation, and helps you lose weight
- Mimics walking – it’s a movement that your body knows naturally, so no special training needed, no strokes or techniques to learn– just ride and pedal
- Efficient – for roughly the same effort exerted, you burn more calories on a recumbent bike than walking
- Comfortable way to exercise – easy on the knees, low impact on the joints, spine/back is fully supported
- Best for home use – with its compact size, recumbent bikes are perfect for home workouts.
- Easy maintenance – because there are fewer moving parts in a recumbent bike, maintenance is much simpler.
- Versatile – most models include adjustable pedals and seats so you can adjust them according to your needs.
How Long Can I Exercise on a Recumbent Bike?
You can ride as long as you want. However, you should avoid doing intense workouts every day. Doing these kinds of workouts too often could lead to injury.
Instead, you should focus on building endurance. Start slowly and increase your intensity levels over time.
When you first start using a recumbent, you may find it difficult to balance. This is normal. Just keep practicing until you feel comfortable.
When you’re ready to stop, gently ease off the pedals and coast for a few minutes before stopping completely.
What Are the Benefits of Walking?
Walking is a great way to get fit and stay healthy without spending on a fitness equipment and worrying about maintenance costs. Unless you’re thinking about walking on a treadmill, that is.
Walking outdoors or on a treadmill helps build strength and stamina. Walking briskly will improve your cardiovascular health and help you lose weight. It also reduces stress and improves mental health. It’s even better when combined with other forms of exercise such as swimming or yoga.
Walking and using a recumbent bicycle have endless benefits. Anything that helps you become more active and gets your heart going is good for your overall health.
Both forms of exercise can help you lose weight, improve your mobility, and build strength and flexibility.
However, the recumbent bike has the advantage of offering an exercise that does not put undue stress on your joints (read more on which is better treadmill or recumbent bike ). For many people, this spells the difference between staying sedentary and getting the exercise that they need.
Each of us is different, but we all can strive to be healthier and happier!
Written by Kathleen Langdon – TheHealthPot.com Founder
Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES)
Kathleen, a mother of two, struggled with ongoing weight and health issues. She created this website after she turned her life around. She built Thehealthpot.com to help inspire and motivate others with their fitness goals. Read more about Kathleen here.