Obesity and weight issues infringe on one’s health and well being to a great extent and in the case of morbid obesity there is no better time to develop a plan of action to get things under control. There are two constants among the sea of fads and trends of the weight loss world that have stood and will continue to stand the test of time; a healthy diet combined with exercise.
Skip below to our top exercise bike picks for the overweight and obese.
Which type of bike is best for overweight/obese people? What should I look for in specific models? It’s questions like these that make the search for a suitable exercise bike a bigger issue than it needs to be.
We want to make the process simple as well as tailored to your needs and in this article we will discuss the best exercise bikes for overweight, obese, and morbidly obese people as well as how to approach a workout program using this type of equipment.
Best Exercise Bikes for the Overweight and Obese
There are three main components that are going to make any particular exercise bike a winner for someone who is obese or overweight; quality, a high weight limit, and the type of exercise bike.
Quality and a high weight limit are self explanatory as everybody wants a top notch product that has lived up to thousands of other consumers’ expectations and as a morbidly obese person you simply can’t sit on something that won’t support at least a few hundred pounds of pressure.
It’s no surprise that being overweight or obese is extremely common these days. Just how common? According to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey of 2013-2014, more than 1 in 3 adults are overweight.
But you may not be familiar with what we mean by the type of exercise bike. Simply put, there are two main types of home exercise bikes; upright and recumbent.
For a person that has weight issues a recumbent bike is going to be the better fit in most cases. It is much more comfortable and allows for an easier transition of getting on and off the bike because you will be sitting down instead of sitting upright during use.
Exercise bikes with backrests are simply the more relaxed variant of this type of cardio machine but at the same time allow for an individual to work out as hard as they please.
Continue to the sections below to take a look at our picks for the top 3 exercise bikes for obese and overweight people. Each section covers an individual model and gives a brief overview of what it brings to the table (weight capacity, features, real world performance, etc.).
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
Note: There is an updated and improved model of the Schwinn 270 which can be viewed here. The new 2017 model has been pegged the Schwinn 270 MY17.
Our first choice is one of Schwinn’s most popular models. The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike is packed with features, lauded by users of all shapes and sizes, and most importantly, has a weight capacity of 300 pounds.
Need to know:
- One of the best bikes on the market
- Lots of bells and whistles
- High weight limit
- Extra features come at extra cost (look to the Exerpeutic for a budget friendly bike)
Some users have attested to this model withstanding even more than its advertised weight limit. One user in particular, a 6 foot tall 350 pound man, reported that the bike showed no signs of instability during use.
The Schwinn 270 has all of the features you would expect from a modern exercise bike and then some. The seat is adjustable, it offers USB charging, there is a slot to hold books and devices for reading and browsing, and so on.
But what matters most is the meat and potatoes or how efficient this bike is at offering you a hardy workout. And in this respect the Schwinn 270 does not fail to deliver.
Who doesn’t want a bike that allows them to reach fitness and weight loss goals on a regular basis?
Achieving this is a matter of consistently upping workout duration and intensity. All 3 bikes mentioned in this article allow for this by letting you adjust the resistance level to your liking.
While this Schwinn model offers almost everything you could want from a recumbent bike, in addition to supporting the weight of obese individuals, there is one downside. It is one of the best bikes you can get but it is also pricier than some of the other models we’ll cover here.
If you’re more budget conscious then you’ll want to look at our other top picks covered below, especially the Exerpeutic 900XL. The Schwinn 270 is great for those that appreciate a wide array of features from their workout experience and believe them to benefit the end goal of becoming healthier and losing weight.
It is certainly the best stationary bike of the bunch due to the fact that it offers features such as preset programs to streamline your experience from one workout to the next. So it’s a matter of whether or not you want the top bike of the 3 or would would rather save money with a cheaper, more budget friendly model.
Exerpeutic 900XL – Budget Friendly Workout
If money were no object then we would all have $10,000 80 inch TV’s and $100,000 sports cars but this is the real world with people who have real budgets.
The Exerpeutic 900XL recumbent bike is the perfect choice for those who value a balance of price and performance. It’s still an excellent bike for overweight and obese people who need to get more exercise, it just doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that the Schwinn 270 does.
Need to know:
- Great price:performance ratio
- On the cheaper side in terms of price
- High weight limit for obese, morbidly obese, and overweight people
- Basic/limited display
The most important thing to note with this model is that just as with more premium priced recumbent bikes it will absolutely support the weight of overweight and obese individuals up to 300 lbs.
You most likely won’t be able to get as an intense or individualized workout with this model as you would with the high end and mid range Scwhinn models but this bike still delivers if you’re willing to put in the work.
Remember, consistent progression requires you to increase the time spent riding your bike and/or increasing the resistance level. The Exerpeutic doesn’t offer as many resistance levels as more expensive models but the 9 that it does come with are plenty.
If you were to jump right to level 9 as someone lacks cardio conditioning you would definitely feel the burn and become winded much more easily. In other words, there’s room for growth in terms of your individual fitness capacity.
At the very least it’s going to be a great segue into cardiovascular exercise. Don’t be afraid to evolve your workouts down the line after losing some weight should you want something more classically intense such as jogging.
Schwinn 230 – Mid-range Schwinn Offering
If the Schwinn 230 recumbent bike looks eerily similar to the Schwinn 270 it’s because they share many similarities, aesthetics included. The 230 is essentially the budget version of its bigger brother.
Need to know:
- Budget sibling to the Schwinn 270
- Plenty of resistance
- Preset programs
- Tons of room for progression
Some key differences between the two include the number of programs (22 vs 29), number of users supported (2 vs 4), a lack of telemetry heart rate in the 230, and the number of levels of resistance (20 vs 25).
The thing that most owners of this bike appreciate most about this bike is its ability to deliver a substantial workout. It’s the amount of resistance offered that allows for this (and all of the different programs help as well).
A mutually agreed upon downside of this Schwinn 230 is its comfort level, or lack thereof. The seat and back rest are constructed of hard plastic which is a confusing choice of material considering that it is meant to be sat on for extended periods of time.
To remedy this you might want to consider using either towels or pillows to soften the impact and increase comfort when biking. This has worked well for others in overcoming this boneheaded design flaw.
This recumbent bike still remains to be an excellent option for overweight/obese people (and anyone for that matter) focused on easing into a workout program and then increasing intensity progressively. Granular resistance levels that reach a challenging level as well as programs to follow are all you really need to achieve this.
The Right Pick for You
The perfect pick for you is going to be something that tailors to your individual wants and needs. Each of these bikes have you covered with respectable weight limit but other than that it’s really down to how much you want to invest and how serious you are about working out.
If you’re looking for something to get you started that won’t break the bank then the Exerpeutic will probably fit the bill. If you can spend quite a bit more and know you want to fully embrace the workout lifestyle then the budget or mid range Schwinn may be the right call.
Once you’ve picked a model that suits your budget and goals all that is left is your approach. Your approach is something that’s going to determine what kind of effect your new exercise routine is going to have.
You don’t want to made the same mistakes that thousands of others have made when starting to workout, right?
How to Push Past the Exercise Threshold
Have you ever encountered that type of person who sings exercise and working out to the tune of something revolutionary and life changing? Sure, some people like this are a little bit crazy but there is some truth to what they’re preaching.
The problem, or the threshold to be broken, is that it takes some time for exercise to become an enjoyable endeavor that can literally brighten your day.
We really do mean that exercise can brighten your day. Exercise, especially the cardiovascular kind, has been scientifically shown to have mood elevating effects and even help fight depression. Those who workout regularly are generally more relaxed and content than those who do not.
Your first couple bouts of working out, whether it’s cardio or lifting weights, will most likely be a slog. You may feel uncomfortable, out of breath, and sweat buckets. But that’s normal!
Even if you’re a little overweight or morbidly obese your experience will align with those in the normal weight range who are also out of shape. And this is why it’s important to ease into your new exercise bike regimen.
Those who get overzealous the first few times are much more likely to feel a blow back and burn out. If you want to make this a life long habit then start out with a lower intensity and shorter workout durations for the first handful of sessions.
Maybe set your recumbent bike to one of the first few resistance levels and pedal at a leisurely pace for 5-10 minutes instead of kicking the bike into overdrive with a near high intensity interval training type workout.
Taking things slow won’t deprive you of any type of progress. You’re still going to be increasing your aerobic capacity and endurance which will in turn allow you to ramp up intensity and session lengths as time goes on.
It’s a marathon and not a sprint as the adage goes. But in this case you can eventually work your way to that level of intensity. You just don’t want to take it there immediately.
In other words, slow and steady will still allow you to lose as much weight as you desire and become healthier overall. Truthfully, this type of approach will make these goals easier to reach because you won’t be stopping before you even get started due to unpleasant experiences with exercise.
And your workout career doesn’t have to stop with a recumbent bike. We briefly mentioned evolving your approach over time earlier on in this article and it’s something to certainly think about.
Changing your approach and trying new things is half of the fun of exercise and certainly makes for a greater level of engagement. Perhaps you’ll enjoy riding your bike for the first few months or year. But sooner or later you find yourself wanting to mix things up.
And that’s awesome! There are countless ways to workout and by easing into the whole process you’re ensuring that you’ll get to that stage when it feels right for you.