5 Best Exercise Bikes for Seniors and the Elderly

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

The best exercise bikes for seniors have wide, comfortable seats, are easy to put together, have bright easy to read screen, and variable activity levels. Usually, a recumbent exercise bike is best for most seniors and elderly folks.

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It’s just a fact of life. As we age, we tend to move less and sit more. These decreased activity levels can lead to multiple health problems.

Because of this, seniors and the elderly should always keep an appropriate level of exercise in their lives. Of course, this exercise should be safe and within their ability.

Stationary exercise bikes can be a fun and low impact exercise regardless of age. Learn more about the benefits of exercise bikes for seniors along with a guide to which ones are best for different activity levels.

Disclaimer:  Don’t forget to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Exercise Bike Reviews

senior woman on an exercise bike

There really are only two types of stationary exercise bikes: upright bikes and recumbent bikes. The main difference between the two is how the user is seated on the bike. Spoiler alert: it is clear which is the best exercise bike for elderly and seniors.

Upright Exercise Bikes

Upright bikes are the smaller of the two types. These are the bikes with the small bicycle seats with high positioned arms. The wheels are located below the seat. To use the bike, the rider is in a position similar to riding a bike as a child. This hunched over position will cause back pain for many seniors. The small seat size will also lead to sore bottoms.

Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Riders of recumbent bikes, however, are in a slightly laid back position. The seat also usually has a back on it to rest against. Legs are positioned out and forward. The seats are contoured and padded. This offers a much more comfortable experience than a saddle seat. Each of these features is important for seniors because they make the bike safer to use and more comfortable.

The exercise bike reviews that follow are based on the exercise needs of the elderly and seniors. I am using the criteria above to judge these products to determine which is the best exercise bike for elderly and seniors.

This is the best programmable exercise bike for seniors.

This exercise bike is an awesome choice for seniors who have a concern about skin problems. Many elderly people develop pressure sores when sitting on firm surfaces too long. This bike has a seat with airs cells that help disperse pressure across the entire cushion. It is also more comfortable too!

I also love that the armrests for this bike are so long. These long arms will help seniors with balance issues stay safely in the seat. The backrest is also slightly curved for comfort and positioning.

What I Like
  • Comfort – “Air Soft” seat is 3 1/2″ thick and reduces seating pressure.
  • Assembly – takes about 2 hours with easy to follow directions.
  • Size – 22″ W X 54″ L and 34″ high. Weighs 63 lb.
  • Screen – Large, easy-to-read LCD display indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, and heart rate information
  • Variable Levels?  8 levels of resistance that are controlled through the computer interface
  • Programs – 6 pre-set workout programs are included for a varied workout.
What I Don’t Like
  • Heart Rate Monitor? Hand pulse sensors are built into the handles to monitor heart rate. These may not give accurate results for seniors with weak grips.

This bike can be moved in the home with the built-in transport wheels. Keep in mind though that it weighs 63 lb. Most elderly and seniors will need help moving it.

One small warning about this one: The senior should be able to understand the computer interface to be able to use this machine. It works by simple push-button commands. If the user can follow simple directions, they will be fine. If you have concerns about this, check out the video for a demonstration of the controls.

This is the best exercise bike for active seniors.

This exercise bike is the best choice for seniors who are very active with good mobility. This bike will offer a varied and challenging workout with tons of options that can be controlled by the users. This is the best option for those who want a gym quality workout.

What I Like
  • Comfort – large, padded, contoured seat with a mesh vented backrest for improved airflow. Adjustable.
  • Assembly – easy to assemble in an hour or less
  • Size – 27″ W X 64″ L X 50″ H. Weighs 97 pounds
  • Screen – two blue backlit LCD screens allow you to cover one with reading material and still track your workout
  • Variable Levels – 25 levels of resistance for just the right workout
  • Programs – 29 built-in programs offering very basic to highly advanced workouts. Has 9 programs that work with heart rate monitor to keep you in the target zone.
  • Heart Rate Monitor? YES! includes built-in heart rate monitors on the handles AND connects with Polar chest strap heart monitors for more accurate monitoring.
What I Don’t Like
  • The controls for the bike require a fair bit of technical know-how so this may not be the best choice for a senior who is easily confused.

The Nautilus R616 has many other features that probably won’t be used by many seniors. It syncs your workouts via Bluetooth, plays music from MP3 players through built-in speakers, and a built-in USB charging port.

This is the best exercise bike for seniors with mobility and balance problems.

A full-size exercise bike may not be the safest choice for an elderly person with a significant mobility or balance problem. These types of problems make getting on and off exercise equipment unsafe. An alternative is the Vive Pedal Exerciser.

This pedal exerciser creates the motion of cycling without the need to get on the equipment. This is a simple pedal exerciser that can be used with either the feet or the hands. An elderly person can even use this equipment from the comfort of their recliner or a comfortable easy chair. Just place the pedal exerciser on the floor in front of the user and make sure their feet are secure in the strap. It can also be used with the arms and hands by placing it on a desk or table.

I have more recommended pedal exercisers in this guide if you want more options.

This is the best entry-level exercise bike for seniors.

This bike offers seniors a great combination of value and features. It has most of the features I recommend for the elderly and seniors. Also, it has a price that most can afford.

What I Like
  • Comfort – Seat is smaller than other & includes back and arms. Height adjustable.
  • Assembly – Some easy assembly required
  • Size – Assembled size is 25″ W X 55-1/2″ L x 37-1/2 H
  • Screen – computer display includes time, distance, calories burned, and speed
  • Variable Levels – 8 preset levels are included
What I Don’t Like
  • Programs – none but the 8 preset levels are probably sufficient for most users.
  • Heart Rate Monitor –  None. Not recommended if there are known heart conditions. A fitness tracker (see my recommended models here) or separate heart rate monitor can be used in place of a built-in monitor.

This is the best heavy duty exercise bike for seniors.

This exercise bike is a great choice for seniors who are a little heavier because of the over-sized seat and back. It has a weight capacity of 300 lbs with a more robust construction than some other recumbent bikes. It has most of the features that I recommend for seniors who want to exercise safely.

What I Like
  • Comfort – Oversized seat and backrest for maximum comfort and adjustable too for user up to 6’3″!
  • Assembly – takes about 2 hours with easy to follow directions.
  • Size – 22″ W X 54″ L and 34″ high. Weighs 63 lb.
  • Screen – Large, easy-to-read LCD display indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, and heart rate information
  • Variable Levels –  8 levels of resistance that are controlled by an easy to use knob
What I Don’t Like
  • Programs – none. Heart rate can be viewed on screen but no target heart rate can be set.
  • Heart Rate Monitor – Hand pulse sensors are built into the handles to monitor heart rate. These may not give accurate results for seniors with weak grips.

This bike also includes transport wheels that let the bike be moved when needed. The bike does weigh 63 lbs so elderly and seniors will probably need a little help to move it. But this is a nice option to get it out of the way for family gatherings and visits.

What to Look for in an Exercise Bike

Exercise bikes are often a great choice for the elderly and seniors because it is a low impact form of exercise. This can prevent injury to the knees and hips by eliminating jarring motions that can make joints sore. Here is a quick rundown of exercise bike options.

Comfortable Seat

Of course,  it is important to find an exercise bike that is comfortable. This includes both the seat and the seated position. It just makes sense that if you are comfortable, you will exercise longer. You won’t be tempted to quit.

Look for a seat that is large, padded, and contoured. Small bicycle seats are very uncomfortable. A contoured shape matches the natural body shape. Padding makes the seating surface softer. I really like the models that have the seats with air cells like the Exerpeutic model above.

Easy Assembly

This is especially important if the elderly person has no one to help with assembly. Some bikes are easier to put together than others. This is because they contain fewer parts or fewer tools to put together.

Look for a bike that is mostly assembled or requires just connecting a few basic parts. Most cities have companies too that will help assemble products at your home if you need further help.

close up of a stationary exercise bike
Overall Size

Consider where the exercise bike will be used and stored. Find a bike that fits well in that space. Also, make sure there is plenty of room for moving around it too. Some bikes have moving parts that you need to make room for. Some just simply have a larger footprint. If the bike doesn’t fit well or is hard to use in the space, it will get used less.

Easy to Read Screens

Most exercise bikes today have some sort of computerized LCD screen for activity and control display. Make sure that the screen is easy to see. The screen should be located where it is easy to see. The screen should not have much glare on it. The angle of the screen can affect both of these. Finally, pick an exercise bike that the screen is brightly lit and clear.

All of these will make exercising more enjoyable. Plus, if you are motivated by setting a goal, being able to easily see your progress could keep you working a little harder!

Built-in Programs

Many seniors have little or no experience with tech devices. Many of these exercise bikes have programs that vary the exercise or have preset routines to follow. Of course, these programs are accessed through a computerized device.

If the user has little experience with “screens”, find one that makes the programs easy to find, understand, and setup. Another alternative is to have a friend or family member program it for them.

Variable Levels

It is also a good idea to find a machine that has varying levels of difficulty. This way, a lower setting can be used in the beginning to prevent injury and encourage use. As the senior gets better and stronger, increase the level to keep the exercise challenging but fun.

Heart Rate Monitor

I believe this is a necessary feature for exercising elderly and seniors. It is a must that the senior not overdo the exercise and be able to monitor their exertion level. Monitoring the heart rate can prevent injury or heart-related issues during exercise.

There are different types of monitors, so find a type of monitor the rider will use. Some monitors strap around the chest, some clip on the finger, and some are built into the handles.

RELATED: Heart Rate Monitor Watches for Seniors


Of course, cost is an important consideration. Pick the features that are important to you. Then, price shop the bikes that have those options. It is not uncommon to find a wide range of prices for similarly equipped bikes.

elderly couple using exercise bikes

How Do Seniors Benefit from Exercise?

I am willing to bet your doctor says to eat better and get more exercise at every appointment. Seniors can benefit from this advice too. Exercise can help seniors and the elderly keep their current level of health and can even improve on it. How much exercise do seniors need? The CDC has established guidelines for the amount of exercise elderly and seniors should get each week.

  • Cardiovascular Endurance – repetitive exercise is good for the heart and circulatory system.  As you get your heart pumping, fresh oxygenated blood is pushed out to your body. This brings nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and extremities. This type of exercise also makes the heart muscle itself stronger.
  • Weight Loss – adding exercise to a healthy diet can lead to weight loss. Because many older people stop moving because of aches and pains in the back or being they may gain weight. This is because less calories are burned. Exercise increases the calories that are burned in a day. This can lead to dropping pounds.
  • Improved Mobility – better mobility is a benefit of an improved cardiovascular system and lost weight. Mobility is improved because the muscles are stretched during exercise and are better nourished from the improved circulation. Weight loss reduces stress on hips and knees. This makes walking easier or at least less painful.

All of these benefits can be gained from using an exercise bike. The real benefit to seniors is that an exercise bike is used in a seated position. That is very important to the elderly and seniors who may have weak leg muscles, balance problems, or mobility issues.

Summary: The Best Exercise Bikes for Elderly and Seniors

Well, there you have it. It’s a lot of information I know but it is important that elderly and seniors who use exercise equipment are kept safe. These types of exercise machines can cause serious injury if not used properly. Just keep the abilities of the user in mind when choosing an exercise bike.

For seniors who are able to get outside and exercise, take a look at my recommended three-wheeled bikes for seniors in this post. Consider using a fitness tracker too for monitoring exercise and overall health.

Like to listen to music while you work out? Here are some senior friendly CD players to consider too.

If you didn’t identify a clear choice for you, the Exerpeutic 2000 is the overall best exercise bike for elderly and seniors. It has the best seat setup for elderly with the air cells and long arms.

Leave a comment below if you have any experience with exercise bikes to share with my readers. Do you have a different exercise bike that you recommend?

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1 thought on “5 Best Exercise Bikes for Seniors and the Elderly”

  1. Thanks for explaining the two types exercise bikes for seniors.

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