Regular physical exercise can offer long-term health benefits and even improve some health conditions in senior citizens, according to the National Institute of Health. Stationary bikes offer a great form of exercise for seniors, but constant pedaling day after day gets monotonous and can lead to overuse injuries. Dual-action stationary bikes with a fan flywheel engage the legs and the arms, provide a better overall workout and can help seniors maintain independence as long as possible. Seniors can work their legs one day, arms the next and have a total body workout on days when they use both arms and legs.
Riding in Style
Look for a dual-action stationary bike with a large, comfortable seat. This makes the time spent on the bike a lot more enjoyable. Of course, any stationary bike will have an adjustable seat; make sure that the one you use has a seat that's easy to adjust. Avoid bikes with pedals that lock your feet to stay in one position. This can contribute to overuse injuries. Instead, look for pedals that allow you to move and readjust the position of your foot. Also, ensure that the bike has foot pegs where your feet can rest on days you are working your arms.
Tone Up the Top
You can adjust how you hold the handles to work a variety of muscles. For example, palms on top of the handles, palms under the handles, or palms on the outside of the handle bars all work different muscle groups. You can focus on pulling the bars towards you, or just pushing them away. You'll work a variety of muscles in your back, shoulders and arms including your triceps, biceps, deltoids, lats and pecs. Pulling and pushing the bars will also engage your core. You can use just one arm at a time to intensify the arm workout.
Pedal to Perfection
There are a variety of workouts you can do on days you use the pedals only. Simply getting on the bike for 30 minutes and maintaining a steady pace will improve your cardiovascular conditioning. You can mix it up by pedaling only one leg at a time and resting the other on the pegs. You can also bike in reverse, challenging a different set of muscles. You can move your foot around on the pedal; this alleviates overuse to your knees and challenges different areas of your legs.
Feel Good All Over
Once or twice a week, plan on working your upper and lower body at the same time, for at least a portion of the workout. You can bike and watch TV or movies while exercising your upper and lower body. Try interval training using your arms and your legs. A great way to do this is to bike hard for 20 seconds, then recover for 40 seconds pedaling slowly, and repeat this six to 10 times.
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