If you wish to start using an exercise bike, but do not like the idea of sitting upright in the cycling position, it may be a good idea to think of buying a recumbent exercise bike.
What is a recumbent exercise bike?
It simply means that rather than sitting on a bicycle-style seat, in an upright cycling position, you're sitting back into a more reclined, normal seating position on a seat that's not like your typical padded office chair.
Both your back and your bottom are supported by the padded seat, and the result is a much more comfortable seating position.
So why would you use a recumbent bike, and not a traditional upright bike?
Well, for a start, there's no benefit to sitting in the upright position, other than it feels more like using a real bicycle. On a real bicycle, you're kept in that position because it's easier to balance, you have greater visibility of the road ahead because of the ride height, and you have more control of the bicycle. But since none of these factors are a concern when using an exercise bike, sitting upright is quite pointless.
There's also suspected medical problems that may occur with sitting in the upright position. Some of them very scary indeed. One of the scariest is the possible link to prostate cancer in men.
It's also uncomfortable. If you're using your exercise bike for long-periods of time you will feel sore ever.
On the other hand, using a recumbent exercise bike is no different from sitting in a comfortable chair. You can cycle for hours without any discomfort at all in the bottom and back. This is particularly useful for those who are overweight and have just started working out. Long durations of aerobic exercise (such as cycling) is the best way to burn off fat. It's much easier to do a 40 minute to 90 minute cardio workout if you're comfortable the next time. Of course, you'll never really be totally comfortable if you're working hard enough, but significantly more comfortable than you would be if you were sitting upright. When you're already pushing yourself hard, that extra bit of comfort can make a huge difference.
Also, because you're sitting in the reclined position, you're putting less stress on your knees and ankles. Cycling is fantastic for fitness but it can certainly stress your joints over time. When you're sitting in the reclined position, with your back and your bottom fully supported, your weight is distributed more evenly. This takes less weight off your knees and ankles, which means less soreness and training injuries.
There are some of you hard-core cycling fans out there that will balk at the idea of sitting comfortably while working out. That's okay, everyone's different. And if you need to be sat upright to feel like you're cycling, then obviously an upright bike is ideal for you.
But for everyone else, for those who just want to make their workout as pleasant as possible and do not care about it feeling realistic, then a recumbent bike is obviously the way to go. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but the health benefits are undeniable.