Recumbent stationary bikes provide an excellent way to condition, improve cardiovascular function, and burn fat. Even for people who have bulging or herniated discs, they are usually a safe form of exercise.
- When pedaling the legs should not have to be wider than the position they would normally be.
- The pedal at its highest point should come no higher than ½ inch below the front of the seat (use a level to determine the height). You can add a firm foam pad to lift your buttocks if necessary. It may put less strain on the hips, knees, and back to lift higher than ½ inch.
- When the foot is fully extended there should still be ideally 7 degree bend in the knees. (5 degrees is absolute minimum), or else undue strain will be placed on the knees.
All American Fitness (in San Jose) has a smaller bike for shorter people (5′ 4” and shorter): Body Guard. Their products and service are excellent, so I highly recommend going there for your sports equipment needs.
It’s crankcase is 2” less than Precor and Lifecycle (3.5”) which helps put less stress on a short person’s body.