The resistance on the exercise bike can be adjusted to vary the intensity of the workout. Some patients may be more comfortable pedaling slower but at a higher resistance while others may prefer to pedal faster at a lower resistance (commonly referred to as 'Spinning', a type of aerobic class offered at many health clubs and gyms).

Adding variety to the workout through interval training (alternating periods of higher and lower intensity) can help riders stay comfortable while still achieving a good aerobic workout.


Proper Exercise Bike Setup is Important to Avoid Injury

The versatility of an exercise bike's positioning makes it a good option for patients with different back problems and different levels of comfort.

The seats and handlebars of many exercise bicycles are adjustable in location and height to ensure that the patient maintains correct posture while riding (i.e. not tilting the seat too far back, which can hyperextend the back and strain the back muscles). The user can adjust the bike to his or her stature and choose the desired position of leaning forward or sitting upright.

Individuals who are more comfortable in a forward-leaning position (such as those with lumbar spinal stenosis) can adjust the bike accordingly. Those people who are more comfortable in an upright sitting position or leaning backwards may prefer a recumbent bike as opposed to an upright bike.

A recumbent exercise bike (versus an upright bike) also provides greater support for the low back, and this added support can help people with low back problems get started with a very gentle aerobic exercise program.

Dr. J. Talbot Sellers is a physiatrist specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of spine pain at NeuroSpine Center of Wisconsin. He has decades of experience using physical therapy, rehabilitation, and injections to treat painful musculoskeletal conditions.

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