recumbent cross trainer benefits

Recumbent Cross Trainer Benefits for Seniors & Elderly

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Hi friends! It’s your favorite blogger Kathleen, and today’s subject is recumbent cross-trainers.

In case you don’t know what those are, these exercise machines are exactly like elliptical cross-trainers, but you can sit down and many of them even have a backrest.

If you’ve ever been injured and went to a physical therapist, you may have used one of these machines. Imagine sitting comfortably, but still getting in a terrific cardio workout. That’s a recumbent elliptical trainer!

For anyone who has been injured or has health issues that make standing, walking, or even low-impact exercises impossible, buying a recumbent elliptical trainer would be a smart investment.

I used one of these after injuring my back. I was truly surprised at the comfortable position and the nearly full-body workout that I got from this machine.

In this article, I want to speak to those of you with mobility issues, bad knees, low back problems, or those of you with injuries preventing you from using other types of exercise equipment.

There are so many good reasons to invest in recumbent elliptical trainers! Hop on board and let’s get started!

Top Benefits of a Recumbent Cross Trainer

If you’ve ever used an elliptical at the gym, then you are already familiar with what an elliptical cross trainer can do for you.

Recumbent cross trainers are no different, except that you work out while sitting down in a comfortable seat! Forget all those scoffers who roll their eyes at recumbent bikes or recumbent trainers at the gym! This is a serious piece of workout equipment!

A seriously good workout comes with multiple benefits, including:

  1. No-impact. You’ve heard of low-impact exercise? Working out from a seated position means zero impact on your joints. That makes this perfect for senior citizens, those just out of surgery, even those who use a wheelchair!
  2. You can lose weight! You really can! To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit, which means you burn more calories than you are consuming. Simply cut back on a few food items, such as soda and chips, and add some exercise to not only burn calories but add new muscle and increase your metabolism. A person weighing 155 pounds can burn 324 calories in just 30 minutes!
  3. Prevent injuries. You can prevent further injuries to yourself and stop new ones from happening with this exercise machine. Zero impact means the worse injury you can get from a recumbent cross trainer is some heavy breathing!
  4. Change up the intensity. Cross trainers are terrific because you can work just your upper body, work just the lower body, or work both at the same time. Change the resistance and/or change your intensity, and you have an entirely new workout!

  5. Get stronger. No one wants to be a weakling, right? Improve your overall strength and exercise safely with a recumbent trainer! You don’t have to worry about dropping weights on your foot or learning a new machine. You can build new muscle, make your muscle groups stronger, and improve your cardiovascular health all at the same time!
  6. Exercise at home. I was a gym rat for years, but after I injured my back, I found that I could have a recumbent cross trainer right in my own living room! I could exercise when I wanted, for as long as I wanted (no more 30-minute limits!), even if I just wanted to exercise for 5 minutes, I could do that without a trip to the gym. Having one of these in your own home gym is better than salted nuts on caramel sauce. (Oops, sorry!)
  7. Easy to use. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, if you haven’t exercised in years, or if you are seriously injured or in a wheelchair, you can learn how to use a recumbent cross trainer in literally 5 minutes!

Discover the Teeter FreeStep LT3 in Action – Watch Our Video:


I used the Teeter FreeStep LT3. (That’s Stacey pictured above using it – I love that it’s super quiet which makes it great for watching TV when working out!) It was almost identical to the one in my physical therapist’s office, and it helped me more than I can say!

What Muscles Does a Recumbent Elliptical Trainer Work?

You can work out nearly all of the major muscle groups, to be honest.

First, you will definitely be giving your upper body a terrific workout. Your forearms, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and chest muscles will gain strength with this effective workout.

Some of you might even be able to work your core muscles! As you are using your recumbent bike or elliptical cross trainer, simply lift your back off the backrest and tighten those abs! If this causes pain in your back, then stop, but give it a try!

You will definitely work your leg muscles and the glutes (your booty). If your elliptical cross trainer has a reverse function, give it a try! This works your muscles differently and helps to relieve boredom.

Which Is Better for the Elderly, Walking or a Recumbent Cross Trainer?

Hands down, I would recommend a recumbent elliptical trainer or a recumbent bike.

There are lots of reasons behind this, such as:

  • You can’t fall off of a recumbent elliptical. You can’t say that about walking.
  • You will get a full-body workout, something you can’t get from walking unless you carry weights.
  • Seniors can protect their joints and exercise safely.
  • There is no need to drive or go to the gym. You can exercise privately at home.
  • The foot pedals on most recumbent ellipticals have an anti-slip surface. The movement of these machines closely mimics the walking gait, so it’s as close to walking as you can get.
  • You still get all the cardio benefits and weight loss that you can get from walking, without all the dangers and stress on the joints.

Of course, you need a weight-bearing exercise to gain new bone, but if you are trying to reach a new fitness level using an elliptical machine, you simply can’t go wrong with a recumbent elliptical cross-trainer.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Recumbent Cross Trainer?

Other than the one factor I mentioned above, it’s hard to think of any real drawbacks to a recumbent bike or recumbent elliptical trainer.

Let’s start with the one above:

  1. A non-weight-bearing exercise means that you won’t build new bone.
  2. It can get boring, but you can always park your recumbent stepper in front of the TV and catch all those old Baretta reruns!
  3. It probably won’t burn as many calories as say running or rowing does, but let me tell you, ANY workout program is better than doing nothing.
  4. This piece of gym equipment can be bulky and might not fit in very small apartments or rooms.

Personally, I’ve used these recumbent cross trainers, and I know that they are quite effective. They may not offer everything to everyone, but that’s why there are so many types of exercise equipment! A little something for everyone, right?

For anyone who has joint problems, back pain, or really bad knees, you will find that simply being in a seated position on a recumbent cross trainer or recumbent elliptical will give you more of a workout than you ever thought possible.

The Final Takeaway

There are hundreds of different types of exercise equipment to consider. When choosing something for your home gym, consider your needs and your limitations.

If you can sit comfortably, you might like to try exercise bikes. Or a rowing machine. Or a regular elliptical machine.

However, if you are elderly, handicapped, if you have back problems, arthritis, if you have joint problems, or if you have been injured, you will find recumbent ellipticals to be your new best friend.

You can lose weight, get in a great cardio workout, work the lower body and upper body at the same time, and lose fat all while you are sitting down in a comfortable seat.

My home recumbent cross trainer – Teeter LT3

I used the Teeter FreeStep LT3 after my back injury, and, like me, you might find that this recumbent cross trainer is the bomb when it comes to a comfortable seat and an effective workout.

By the way, I also loved the inversion table from Teeter. I still use it today, and if you’ve got back problems, you will most likely love it, too.

Stay healthy and happy, friends. Life is too short for anything else!