As we age, we are attracted to a sedentary life. Consequently, we sit more, and our levels of physical activity decrease. However, such a lifestyle comes with a variety of health problems, especially lifestyle diseases.
To avert the lifestyle diseases that come with physical inactivity as we age, we should exercise more. For seniors and their caregivers, it is important to identify and use exercising tools that will help you stay fit without over-exerting your body.
With the above in mind, exercise bikes are one of the best tools seniors can use to stay fit. It will give you a full cardio workout with less impact and are generally safer for seniors to use according to spine-health.com.
So, check with your doctor to make sure indoor cycling is safe for you then keep reading to learn more about adding an exercise bike to your fitness routine.
What Are The Best Exercise Bikes for Aging Adults?
First, I’m going to jump right in and show you my top recommendations and why I recommend them. Then, I’ll walk you through how to choose an exercise bike yourself if none of these quite hit the spot.
- Designed to give you a fully body workout with zero impact on your joints
- Uses "Stride Technology" to mimic the motion of walking and reducing knee strain
- Burns 17.4% more calories than a recumbent bike according to the manufacturer
The Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer is one of the best stationary bikes for seniors. In fact, it is one of the few exercises bikes that have been specifically designed to cater to the needs of seniors, especially those who have Arthritis, MS, and Parkinson’s.
Its design focuses on producing high-quality full-body cardio without impacting the body. To this end, every element of this bike has been optimized to take the load off your back and joints while giving you a cardio workout and strengthening your body.
Here’s a quick video that shows it in action:
Here’s why I recommend it:
Naturally-Reclined Seated Position
The naturally-reclined seat helps reduce body fatigue, helping seniors to exercise for longer. Additionally, this unique seating position helps to eliminate stress on the back and joints without compromising the quality of workout it delivers.
Patented Stride Technology
To protect seniors’ health and well-being, this exercise bike is equipped with Teeter’s patented Stride Technology. This technology produces a unique stepping motion that helps burn calories while protecting and stabilizing the back and hips and preventing the toes from traveling over the knees.
The dual power motion allows seniors to work their upper and lower bodies in one session. You can target all the major muscle groups in your body simultaneously. Alternatively, you can target muscle groups in your arm or legs by increasing the upper-body or lower-body intensity as needed.
Consequently, Teeter says that you can burn up to 17.4% more calories per workout than other elliptical bikes – in a safer and more efficient way.
I love the Teeter FreeStep LT-1 because it was designed from the start to be easier on joints and completely reduces the impact. This is extremely important for seniors with arthritis and other joint ailments that want to continue exercise as recommended by the Mayo Clinic.
Exercise should involve the full range of muscles in our bodies. While every stationary bike will target muscles in the lower body, few will work the hips, back, and upper body muscles. The Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike is designed to engage your entire body without compromising comfort and safety.
Here’s why I recommend it:
A Comfortable Seat
It comes with a wide comfortable seat designed to reduce the load your back is placed under. The seat is angled to help your back stay aligned as you ride. Plus, the seat is stuffed with lots of cushioning foam. As such, seniors can stay on the stationary bike for longer with less fatigue over time.
Upper Hand Handles
This stationery bike comes with an upper hand handle that exercises the upper body. So, seniors get a full-body workout whenever they use the exercise bike.
Sturdy Steel Frame
To ensure users stay safe as they exercise, the bike is made of a durable steel frame. It can withstand a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds.
Eight Exercise Levels
The exercise bike comes with 8 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance. Adjusting the dials is also easy and precise with the large tension dial.
While the screen size is small, it is easy to read. Importantly, the built-in scan feature allows seniors to monitor their heart rate, speed, calories burned, workout time, and distance covered.
The Stamina Elite is a great exercise bike for older adults who might be beginning to work out or are moving from outdoor walking to an indoor exercise and want to exercise in complete comfort.
- 29 programs allow you to vary your workout and work at your own level
- Backlit LCD screens are easy for older eyes to see
- Step-through design makes getting on and off easier for older adults
- Heart monitor and padded seat included
The SCHWINN 270 Recumbent Bike is renowned for its versatility. It has been designed to help make every workout session as exciting as possible. This stationary bike is designed to meet all your ever-changing exercise requirements by taking advantage of its numerous exercise programs to ample resistance adjustability.
Here’s why I recommend it:
25 Levels Of Resistance
The SCHWINN 270 Recumbent Bike comes with 25 flywheel resistance levels. The ample adjustability ensures users can exercise at their most comfortable level possible. Additionally, users can vary the workout intensity with a touch of a button.
To guide users to fitness, the exercise bike comes with 29 programs. These include 1 quick start, 2 fitness test programs, 4 custom programs, 9 heart rate control programs, and 12 exercise profiles. Users do not have to search for exercising programs to follow as the SCHWINN 270 Recumbent Bike comes with ample programs.
High-Speed Drive System
This is a high-performance, high-inertia drive system that consists of a weighted flywheel. The main advantage of this drive system is the consistent and smooth workout users experience.
The built-in Bluetooth connectivity gives users the capability to sync with various exercise tracking apps, including Schwinn Trainer App.
You can sync with the RideSocial app and cycle your favorite destination virtually. You can also ride along with your friends and enjoy exercising together.
The exercise bike’s other notable features include a DualTrack LCD, USB media charging, media shelf, in-speakers, and an adjustable fan.
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike is a great choice for older adults who are more in tune with technology and perhaps want a more rigorous workout because of a more active lifestyle.
JEEKEE Recumbent Exercise Bike ticks all the boxes you would need for a stationary bike for seniors. After all, the designers of the bike set out to make bikes designed for the elderly. It is easy and safe to use. Most importantly, it’s designed to help the elderly improve their cardiovascular fitness in the comfort of the home.
Here’s why I recommend it:
Neodymium Magnet-Based Drive System
The JEEKEE Recumbent Exercise Bike for Seniors has a drive syste made using high-quality neodymium magnets. The high-quality magnets give the recumbent bike a smooth resistance, which in turn protects the users.
Additionally, the magnetic system is attached to an efficient and highly calibrated dual-belt drive belt system that further smooths the ride while keeping noise production minimum. The drive system has 8 levels of adjustability, giving seniors the ability to choose the difficulty level of their exercise.
This bike comes with a large seat designed to take pressure off your spine and tailbone. Users benefit from the extra comfortable seats by allowing users to exercise for as long as they want without developing back sores.
The seat also has large tubular armrests that double as a heart rate monitor. This is really helpful for older adults who may be experiencing problems with their balance. The handles give a nice place to hold onto while getting on and off the bike and while using it too.
Like other quality stationary bikes, the JEEKEE Recumbent Exercise Bike comes with an LCD monitor that tracks all the essential fitness statistics. From the distance covered, time, to calories burned, the LCD screen allows you to monitor your performance.
Users can adjust the seat across nine positions to suit their height. As such, seniors with heights ranging from 4’9″ and 6’5″ can alter the bike to suit their heights and comfort needs.
I really like the Jeekee Recumbent Exercise Bike for seniors who may have balance problems or beginning to have mobility issues. It is stable with lots of support surfaces making it easier to get on and off of safely than some of the other bikes.
- Weighs just 45 pounds with a space-saving design that folds for easy storage or to move out of the way when needed
- 10 levels of resistance to meet your individual exercise level needs
- Large LCD screen with phone and tablet holder
Lanos Folding Exercise Bike is a compact, space-saving foldable bike. When not in use, you can collapse the bike to half the assembled size, making it storage friendly. And, you don’t need tools to fold it either! Nor do you need to perform an intricate origami process to collapse and fold the bike. Just pull the folding knob and fold the bike – that’s it.
Here’s why I recommend this one for older adults:
10 Speed Magnetic Drive System
The Lanos Folding Exercise Bike has a magnetic drive system with a smooth, quiet flywheel. Additionally, the drive system has 10 adjustable resistance levels, allowing seniors to control the difficulty of the exercise. The tension knob is easy to reach and precise enough for seniors to use.
Digital LCD Display
It comes with a digital LCD monitor that allows seniors to monitor their bike’s performance. The monitor displays distance, watches your heart rate, time, speed, and calories burned in the current riding session. Notably, the built-in pulse rate sensor ensures seniors can monitor the strain they put their hearts under.
High Weight Capacity
While being an upright bike, the Lanos Folding Exercise Bike can support heavier users. It has a weight capacity of 330 pounds, which is more than some recumbent bikes.
The Lanos Folding Exercise Bike is a good option for active seniors with no balance or mobility problems. The seat is up higher than some of the others and you need to be able to step over the folding cross brace to get on and off safely.
- Step-through design with large armrests for easier entering and exiting the ride
- Super nice LCD screen with big bold numbers that also doubles as tablet and phone holder
- Comfortable padded seat with high back for improved back support
Despite the unfortunate name of this exercise bike, I’d recommend this product for seniors with back pain looking for a comfortable recumbent bike that is easy to mount and dismount. With its step-through design, getting on the bike is not a hazardous affair that requires assistance. Seniors can move around the bike without tripping or knocking their knees. The high back offers the most support of any of the bikes I have reviewed here.
Here’s why I like this exercise bike for older adults:
Comfortable Adjustable Seat
This exercise bike comes with a seat and a super high back rest, which are padded with high-density memory foam. The combination of the seat and backrest supports your back and hips, which, in turn, protects your posture as you workout. Additionally, users can adjust the seat to meet the needs.
8 Level Magnetic System
The drive system is a magnetic system with 8 levels of adjustable resistance. Users can easily adjust the resistance using the rotary knob. Additionally, the combination of the magnetic drive system and the belt system produces an incredibly smooth ride.
Easy-To-Read Digital Screen
This is where this recumbent bike really shines. The display is vivid and easy to read. As such, seniors can monitor how their exercise is going, including distance, speed, time, and calories burned.
Despite its bulky size and weight, you can move the stationary bike around using the wheels attached at the base. You do not have to strain your back to lift the bike. Just roll the bike as you please.
The pooboo Recumbent Exercise Bikes Stationary Bike has a step-through design that makes it easy for seniors to mount and dismount from the bike, making it easy for seniors to use the bike. Importantly, this recumbent bike has a design that protects the users’ knees and back.
Other features you get with this bike include a pulse sensor, bottle holder, and adjustable pedals.
The Pooboo Exercise Bike is a great option for elderly people with back pain or who may need a little support sitting up nice and straight. This padded, high back offers great support and improves posture while using the bike.
- Lightweight, space-saving, folding design that weighs less than 40 pounds for seniors who need a portable exercise option
- Low profile design has no screens or front tubing to negotiate around when getting on and off
- Simple LCD screen with one-button operation
The Viva X-bike is an upright stationary bike designed with space-saving in mind. Its design ensures disassembly and reassembly are easy enough for seniors to perform unassisted. Plus, there isn’t any “stuff” on the front of the bike to get in your way while getting on and off.
Additionally, the exercise bike has a robust steel frame with a weight capacity of 220 pounds. As you can appreciate from its weight-bearing capacity, the X-bike is not a flimsy exercise bike despite being foldable.
Here’s why I recommend it:
Seniors can fold the Viva X-bike and store the stationary bike when not in use. The folding design allows users with limited space to own a stationary bike without worrying about space availability. Once you’ve completed exercising, just store the bike.
Adjustable Seat Height
Users can adjust the ergonomically designed seat to the perfect riding height. The seat height is adjustable to accommodate individuals with a height ranging between 5’2″ and 6″ 2″. Additionally, the seat comes with ample cushioning made of resistant foam.
There is a handlebar on either side of the seat. The handlebar help seniors to align their backs, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
Smooth Pedal Motion
The pedal and drive systems are designed to produce smooth motion and adjust for comfort. For instance, the magnetic drive system has a three-piece crank system that designers optimized for smooth operation. Additionally, the drive is system is exceptional quiet, negating fatigue induced by noise.
You can adjust the resistance produced by the magnetic drive system to suit your needs. The adjustment knob makes it easy for seniors to set the level of resistance accurately.
It also comes with a One-Touch-Multifunctional display that gives users all the necessary information. At a touch of a button, users can view the RPM, calories burned, distance traveled, and time elapsed. More importantly, the display is easy to use; just toggle the switch!
I like the Vive Folding Exercise X-bike for seniors or elderly people who want a simple to operate exercise device that is also easy to get on and off. The minimalist design and one button operation will appeal to more tech-adverse seniors.
The Three Types Of Exercise Bikes
Before buying an exercise bike for yourself or a senior you love, make sure you know the three main types of bikes. The design of each type has a direct impact on how easy – and safe – they are for older people to use.
Here are the three categories of exercise bikes:
1. Recumbent Bikes
Recumbent bikes are designed and optimized for use while in a recumbent position. These types of exercise bikes prioritize comfort and safety first. That being said, they do not compromise on the workout they yield. Seniors will enjoy great cardio from this type of stationary bike. However, a recumbent bike will take longer to produce the same results as upright and indoor cycle bikes.
2. Indoor Cycle Bikes
Indoor cycle bikes are model more similar to normal bicycles. The typical spin bike falls under this category of exercise bikes. The general form-factor of indoor cycle bikes includes a handlebar set far forward from the seat. This arrangement forces users to lean forward, as is common when riding a bike. Since they are stable, seniors can exercise while upright.
On the workout front, indoor cycle bikes are the most effective bikes when you want to burn calories fast. However, seniors should use these types of exercise bikes with great caution. Leaning forward as you cycle can aggravate your back if you have any back issues, especially the lower back. These bikes are higher too which isn’t a great position to be in if you have bad balance.
3. Upright Stationary Bikes
Upright stationary bikes are more comfortable as the setup is designed to keep users upright. The handlebar and pedals are positioned to support upright cycling. Importantly, the design ensures the seat supports the weight of the users and, therefore, they are more comfortable.
As such, upright stationary bikes offer a middle ground with regard to comfort and workout levels.
Generally, I recommend older adults consider a recumbent bike first for their exercise needs. They are lower to the ground, easy to get on and off, usually have larger more comfortable seats and offer back rests for additional support.
Considerations To Make When Buying An Exercise Bike for Older Adults
The needs of an older adult are much different from the needs of younger fitness buffs when shopping for exercise equipment like this. Be sure to take those needs into account. It’s even more important to be honest with yourself about your overall capabilities.
1. Ease Of Use
Above everything else, you should always consider the fact that the stationary bike user is aging. Consequently, everything relating to the user experience should be intuitive and easy to use.
For instance, the exercise bike bought for a senior should be easy to assemble, especially if stored away. Look for a bike that requires as few parts to assemble and tools to put together. However, if the plan is to leave it in one spot over a prolonged period, the ease of assembly and portability is not a critical factor.
What is important, however, is the user experience. Aging adults and the elderly will appreciate easy to read screens that have big, bold print and easy to see displays. They should intuitively use the menu and settings without getting their thesaurus to understand how to use the bike. In a nutshell, you want a bike they can use without jumping hurdles first.
2. Difficulty Of The Exercise
All exercise bikes come with variable levels of intensity. However, the implementation of the resistance varies from one manufacturer to another or even from one model to another. With this in mind, it is best to choose an exercise bike with a wide spectrum of resistance.
A wide resistance spectrum will ensure the intended user can start exercising with lower resistance for safety reasons and later progress to higher resistance as fitness improves.
In the same light, an exercise bike with smaller resistance increases is better for seniors as it reduces the chances of shocking the muscles while increasing resistance.
For more information, the CDC has established guidelines for the amount of exercise elderly and seniors should get each week.
3. Comfort Level
Discomfort while using the bike one of the main reasons seniors quit exercising. Generally speaking, recumbent exercise bikes are the most comfortable for seniors to use. They offer great back support, which is important for seniors. However, it is still important to consider other factors that influence comfort as well.
A comfortable bike will ensure your loved one continues to exercise religiously and make using the bike part of their routine. Look at the following factors when choosing an exercise bike for your loved one.
- Seat Design And Size – The design of the seat will influence the comfort levels seniors users experience. For instance, the seat should have ample cushioning to support the weight of the users. Additionally, the seat should have an overall ergonomic seat design. The same due diligence should apply to the sizing of the seat. It should be proportional to the body size of its user; it should not be too small or too big.
- Seat Adjustability – The seat should be adjustable to be able to suit different positions. Given that users might change their riding stance over time, the seat must adjust to the different seating positions.
- Pedal Adjustments – Equally important is for the bike pedals to adjust to the user’s riding stance and user height. The feet, too, should be comfortable while riding the bike.
Other factors that influence comfort include quietness when the machine is running, fluidity of the pedal, and back support.
4. Other Senior-Friendly Options and Features
Exercise bikes come with a wide range of features. While all features have a use for some people, you should aim to choose a bike with a combination of features that meet the needs of the older user.
Some of the must-have features include:
- Heart Rate Monitor – The goal of exercising is to improve our fitness. However, seniors should be careful not to exert their hearts. A good exercise for seniors bike should come with a heart rate monitor. This feature ensures the senior is exercising at the right pace and not over-exerting themselves. And while you can buy a heart rate monitor as a standalone device, it is more beneficial to seniors when the device is part of the bike. A built-in heart rate monitor is much easier to use. Separate heart rate monitor watches are available if your bike does not have this feature.
- Exercise Programs – Using an exercise bike aimlessly is not the best experience. For seniors to use and benefit from an exercise bike, it is best they follow a guide. To this end, ensure you purchase a bike with built-in exercise programs. Preset routines that are easy to follow seniors to enjoy their time on the bike. Crucially, the programs ensure seniors have a productive time while exercising.
- Screens – To make it easy for seniors to use their exercise bikes, buy a bike that has a large and vivid screen. A large vivid screen is easy to read and understand the feedback they get from the bike.
Other features that you might look for are Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports for connecting and charging other devices. This is important for seniors that want to play music through a MP3 player or watch a movie or show on a senior-friendly tablet.
Size becomes a factor of great importance when you have to store the exercise bike away. A large exercise bike will be hard to store in the house as it takes up more space. However, do not buy a bike that is too small that it does not offer adequate stability. Larger bikes tend to offer greater stability and comfort, which seniors need a lot while they exercise.
If a full size exercise bike isn’t for you, check out my recommended pedal exercisers in this guide.
Seniors looking into buying an exercise bike to improve their fitness should never consider the cost of the equipment as the sole consideration to think. Other factors should take priority over cost. For instance, safety and comfort should always come first when buying fitness equipment for seniors.
However, there is no denying cost is an important factor. You cannot ignore the acquisition cost of fitness equipment. Whether you are a senior or a caregiver looking for ways to improve the quality of life of your loved one, you need to stick to a budget.
Determine whether your budget is sufficient for a premium, mid-range, or budget exercise bike, and then buy the bike with the best combination of features without compromising its safety.
As we age (myself included), our needs (and wants) often change whether it be due to physical wear and tear or wisdom gained by experience. It is extremely important to understand your needs when shopping for items like exercise equipment where poor decisions can lead to injuries.
When buying exercise equipment for older adults, the number one consideration is safety – not only while using the bike but also while getting on and off of it. Additionally, ease of use and comfort are also important factors as we age up.
Recumbent exercise bikes with large comfortable, supportive seats with simple to operate and easy to see controls are often the best choice. The great news is with the senior-friendly exercise bikes I’ve reviewed here, you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your workout either.
Thinking about getting outside for some exercise? Check out my list of the best three wheeled bikes for seniors and the elderly or my guide to safe bikes for older adults.
Be safe out there – but stay healthy and have a little fun too!