Best Exercise Machine for the Elderly

Updated on September 12, 2017
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I like to share information that makes life more joyful and meaningful. My main interests are health and general wellness in body and mind.

The recumbent exercise bike

The recumbent exercise bike

Which is the best exercise machine for the elderly? Many years ago my wife was searching for the most appropriate exercise machine to make sure she did ample exercise to keep herself fit and healthy. After a lengthy and fruitful search for the most appropriate exercise machine for her age and temperament, she finally decided on the recumbent exercise bike.

Advantages of the recumbent exercise bike

Initially, the first machine that came to her mind was the treadmill. As you know the treadmill is a “walking/jogging” exercise machine. If you enjoy walking and have strong legs, then treadmill is a good option. With the treadmill, you need to be always on your feet, and this is not very conducive for my wife as she is weak on the legs joints.

After looking at a few other options, she finally decided on the recumbent exercise bike. In simple language, a recumbent exercise bike is a cycling machine with a comfortable back rest. This backrest is specially useful for the elderly, as it provides the much needed back support for the body while the person is exercising. It is just like driving a car, except that this time the legs do the cycling movements. For the elderly, it is important to feel comfortable while exercising, with the least stress of the body. My wife is able to cycle for a longer period as she is comfortable in the seated position with good back support. She is able to shed calories while her body still remains comfortable. The greatest advantage in this recumbent exercise bike is that the person can stay relax while doing the cycling exercise.

My wife on the recumbent exercise bike


The recumbent exercise bike

What to look for in the recumbent exercise bike.

There are so many types of recumbent exercise bikes that making a good choice is quite a headache. What should you look for when considering a good choice. Perhaps three considerations : quality, design and features.


We don’t want to be “penny wise and pound foolish”. It’s no point buying a “cheap” machine which will only last you only six months. You need to put in an investment to make sure you buy a good quality machine which must last you many many years. The exercise bike is a simple machine with just some basic mechanical parts. This machine should not give you any operating problems. Perhaps you can gauge the quality by the materials used and the finishes. Of course the final assurance is to buy one with a reputable brand.


To me the most important is on its design. Different people will have different preferences. We are all made different. Not one model can satisfy everyone. Make sure you sit on it and operate it for at least a few minutes. If you find that your body is not completely comfortable after the few minutes of cycling, you should look for other models. Once you are comfortable with a particular model, make sure that the design can fit into your living room or whichever place you going to put the machine.


With all things commercial, each manufacturer will try to give you “maximum” features that will make you impressed and hopefully happy. So nowadays the “standard” features will most probably include the electronic LCD display screen in front of the machine with all the functions and programs, including of course, those you will never use and never need in the first place! Ask yourself, do you really need 10 pre-programmed workouts and 20 levels of resistance? The more useful features will be the heart rate or pulse monitor, number of calories burnt, speed, distance traveled, and of course the timer.

Proof of effectiveness is in the exercising

My wife bought her machine in September 2008, and is till in optimum condition. As I said, the exercise bike is a simple machine with simple mechanism. There is no reason that it will not last for years. The only likely problem will be the electronic LCD display board and its electronic parts and programs. So far its been over three years, and our recumbent exercise bike is still in very good working condition, including its electronic parts!

Where should you place your machine?

Having decided on the ideal machine is only half the battle won. The other half is of course to ensure that you really use the machine. From our experience, the best place to station your machine is in front of the television. Obvious isn’t it? Two main reasons. One, you use “watching tv” time to exercise at the same time, which means you don‘t actually have to spend extra time to do your exercise. The other, it makes exercising less boring as you can at the same watch the television.

Don’t ever think of putting your machine in your bedroom for any good reason. This will never get you to use the machine. Don’t believe me? You can always try. It will be like keeping your machine in the storeroom!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      7 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Interesting article, From my experience in gym environment it very much appears that recumbent bikes are a misunderstood/ under-used piece of equipment.

      I do feel that a recumbent's benefits are in those with upper body mobility issues. Although for many a regular exercise bike will offer very similar effects.

    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      8 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Sally,

      Funny, up till now I didn't even know the name, as the logo looks fuzzy, and the guidebook doesn't print the brand name.

      After taking a good look at it, it is called wnq, and as I suspected, it's from China. The model is 7318WB which is not shown in the website.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What brand is your wife's recumbent exercise bike? Am keen to get one in Malaysia..Can u pls recommend one..

    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      8 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi KimberlyLake,

      Thanks for reading my hub and for your encouraging comment.

    • Good Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      Justin Choo 

      8 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi L.L. Woodard,

      With your experienced endorsement, I hope those who haven't invested in the machine, will do so, and get active.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 

      8 years ago from California

      Lots of nice details. This is good information for any of us looking for an exercise machine. Socially shared.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      8 years ago from Oklahoma City

      I agree wholeheartedly about not placing exercise equipment in the bedroom, unless you have a TV and/or DVD player there to while away the time. A recumbent exercise bike would probably be a good starting point for younger persons who are out of shape and desiring to be physically active.


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