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Stationary Bike

Strengthen your heart, hips and knees on a stationary bike. Riding indoors has several benefits over riding a traditional bicycle outside: you can use it year-round, from snowy days to 100° days; you can listen to the radio or watch TV during rides; you don’t have to deal with traffic or driving your bike to a path; and you can ride a stationary bike even if you have balance troubles.

There are four types of stationary bikes and one may be better than the others for your arthritis, current fitness level and goals.

  1. Upright: It sits up straight, similar to a regular bike.
  2. Dual-Action Bike: An upright bike with handlebars that move back and forth as the pedals move, giving you an upper- and lower-body workout
  3. Recumbent bike: The pedals are in front, rather than below the seat. It is low to the ground and has a comfortable seat with back support.
  4. Indoor cycles: These are similar to racing bikes and are used in “spin” classes, which you may like if you enjoy a high-energy, group-fitness atmosphere.

Modifications

Specific modifications will depend on your joints affected, but you may consider the following.

  • A recumbent bike uses no hands or wrists, whereas spin cycles put the most pressure on hands and wrists, especially when standing on the pedals. Choose which is best for your arthritis.
  • The upright and recumbent bikes offer a good cardio workout with very little impact to the weight-bearing joints.

Tips

  • Adjust the bike to fit you. When the pedal is at the lowest position, your knee should be slightly bent. The seat should be parallel to the floor. Your elbows should be slightly bent.

Progression

  • Slowly increase the time, speed, and resistance level of your workout.
  • Try pre-programmed workouts.

This is general stationary bike information. Get personalized results, with specific modifications and tips customized to your problem joints and level of fitness.