If you’ve opened this article, you are probably looking for the best way to improve your workout routine. For example, you might be bored with repeatedly doing the same set of exercises. Or you’re ready to try something new and set new fitness challenges for yourself.
Either way, cycling on a recumbent bike and walking has numerous health benefits and great ways to move your body. Deciding whether to incorporate a bike or walking into your routine will depend on the goals you want to achieve and your typical workout preferences.
In this article, we’ll lay out the pros and cons of a recumbent bike vs. walking so that you can get all the necessary details to help you make an informed decision.
What You'll Learn
A recumbent bike is a stationary piece of equipment that can help you boost your lower body strength, vascular function, and weight loss. Unlike the typical upright bike, it keeps you in a reclined position to meet less resistance when you move the pedals. It’s an excellent option for anyone looking for comfortable, low-impact exercise.
Many people fail to recognize how good of a workout walking is. Walking builds endurance, strengthens bones and helps you burn calories. It also puts you in a good mood and is a stress-free way of getting your heart rate up.
The larger and more comfortable seat makes cycling a more enjoyable experience. The backrest also adds extra support so that you won’t apply any excess pressure on your back area. What’s more, the simple low-intensity movements also suit people suffering from joint or knee problems, so you can exercise without worrying about sustaining any injuries.
Whether you’re recovering from a previous injury or are simply looking to get into fitness for the first time, the recumbent bike will help you kickstart your workout journey. Its easy-to-use and beginner-friendly nature ensure that people of all ages and fitness levels look forward to their next cycling session.
An upright bike requires you to hold on to the handles when cycling, which can get tiresome after a while. However, the reclined position of a recumbent bike allows you to find new ways to pass the time when exercising, which is perfect for people who get easily bored when they work out.
Listen to some music or play your favorite show as you push down the pedals of your bike, and you’ll see how quickly your session will be over. Research also shows that cyclists who multitask while on their bikes upped their speed by 25%, getting a more efficient workout.
Since they’re more comfortable than upright bikes, recumbent bikes are also more expensive. Additionally, sometimes people cannot set money aside for a gym membership. So before deciding to add cycling into your routine, you should make sure you have a realistic fitness plan and know how much money you’re able to invest into fulfilling it.
After some time, you might start to get bored of cycling. After all, there’s only so much reading or streaming you can do until you start to crave a more challenging workout. Once you’ve built up your strength, you’ll want a more high-intensity workout to stimulate your muscles, and the simple motions of cycling just won’t be enough for you. You’ll either have to switch up your routine or add more strength training to push your body further.
While your glutes, quads, and hamstrings will benefit from a solid cycling session, the other muscle groups won’t get nearly as much engagement. In addition, since the seat allows you to assume only one specific position, you won’t get a chance to strengthen your core, which is instrumental for your stability, balance, and overall health. Combining cycling with additional exercises which target other muscle areas is the way to go for a total body workout.
When you’re on a time crunch, hitting the gym or slipping into your workout clothes and using your home equipment isn’t always possible. So instead, you can try walking to work or school or even invite a few friends to keep you company as you stroll down the neighborhood. This way, your body will get the movement it needs, and you won’t feel guilty for missing a workout day.
All you need is a pair of shoes, and you’re set to start walking. When you’re uncertain whether joining a gym or getting home workout gear is the right for you, walking will help you stay active.
While walking helps maintain your general well-being, it’s an incredibly beneficial cardio and weight-bearing activity to strengthen your bones. Preemptively strengthening your bones can help prevent fall-related injuries in later life. Additionally, it also engages your joints without putting too much strain on them, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Cons of Walking
High-intensity activities, and workouts including equipment, yield faster results because your body needs to exert more energy and meets with resistance. To see noticeable results from walking, you’ll have to dedicate a considerable amount of time to it, which is not possible for some people. The low intensity of walking also means that other forms of exercise are more effective at burning calories. For example, cycling for one-hour triples the number of calories you burn while walking for the same period.
Walking comes naturally to the human body, and there’s no resistance our legs need to overcome to take a step forward. Since there’s no strain put on your body, your muscle mass may even start to decrease because of the lack of engagement. Lower body workouts that include resistance push our muscles to work harder to complete their movements, which helps strengthen and tone muscle mass.
When you don’t have a gym membership or a home treadmill, walking outside may be your only way of staying active. However, that’s not always possible for people living in urban areas. Constant traffic and few open spaces can make walking a dreadful thing, and in such cases, public transport or your vehicle is an easier way to get around. Additionally, bad weather can spoil your plans to go for a walk, so you’ll have to wait for sunnier days to stretch your legs outside.
To sum up what we’ve gone over in the previous sections, we’ve made this infographic to help you remember the pros and cons of a recumbent bike vs. walking.
While both a recumbent bike and walking will act as an excellent addition to your fitness program, choosing one or the other ultimately depends on your goals, routine, and lifestyle preferences. We’ll give you a few pointers to help you make up your mind and pick the best option for your circumstances.
Go for a recumbent bike if:
Walking is the way to go if:
Taking care of your body by making sure you’re getting enough exercise is essential, and the types of activities that will give you the best results largely depend on yourself. Think about your current strength level and how you want to improve in the future.
What kinds of workouts do you most enjoy? What results are you hoping to achieve, and how will you do it?
Once you’ve carefully considered your situation, you’ll be able to make the right decision. Remember, a good workout matches both your abilities and your ambition.
Hopefully, this list of pros and cons has helped you get the necessary information on whether a recumbent bike or walking will serve you best. If you’re leaning towards walking, you’ll want to check out our guide on how to build an efficient walking program.