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Jul 15, 2021 Homethletic

Pedaling is a great way to maintain or increase your level of fitness, range of movement, and circulation – all from the comfort (and safety) of a comfortable chair. If you are looking for the best pedal exerciser for seniors you'll be pleased to know there are also some promising studies on the benefits of pedaling. It’s a win-win situation!

They’re suitable for (nearly) all abilities – so if you are otherwise active and would like to increase your strength or stamina, or, you have limited mobility, (in which case you’ll want to consider a motorized pedal exerciser) there’s one for you.

Here's what I'll cover:

  • A small section on why pedal exercisers are a particularly good idea for seniors. (And that being said, why they might not be for everyone).
  • What you should look for when choosing a pedal exerciser for yourself or a friend/family member.
  • An in-depth look at our top picks for “the best pedal exerciser for seniors” and the reasons why I chosen them.
  • Other stuff you may be wondering about such as, can you use them for your arms too?

There are also some promising studies on the positive effect of peddling.

Click to jump straight to the reviews.

Regardless of age, most of us spend far too much time sitting down and not enough time moving.

Most of us have tried (and given up) using an exercise bike at some point in our lives, but if you like to read, watch tv, or do other seated recreational activities, stationary bikes are neither practical nor comfortable – especially as you get older.

If you’re fit, able, and you still work long hours at a computer, you could get yourself an under desk treadmill, but they’re less than ideal when you have back, joint, or mobility issues.

Pedal exercisers, on the other hand, are low-impact mini exercise bikes that you can use from a comfortable chair or sofa while you read, watch tv, craft, or do whatever fun recreational activity you enjoy.

You use them specifically while you are sitting down, meanwhile, they counter any problems exasperated by sitting for too long. This makes them the ideal way to keep you moving, improve your flexibility and increase your strength and circulation – and they are low impact so they are gentle on your back, hips, and knees.

For older people, especially those whose balance is not 100%, they are also a safe way to keep the body moving without risking a fall.

And as a quick side note for anyone interested, here’s a link to a study on the positive effects of forced-rate lower-extremity exercise (which basically means pedaling fast) on Parkinson’s patients.

Who Is a Pedal Exerciser For?

Although you can take pedal exercisers at your own pace – they are still exercising machines, and as such, they will give you a mini-workout – so you should, of course, consult your Dr. first before deciding if one is right for you.

Now, although pedal exercisers are suitable for any age, anyone with reduced mobility may find that even the motor-assisted pedal exercisers are unsuitable, especially, if, for example, you have difficulty keeping your knees in an upright position or keeping your feet comfortably on the pedals.

If this is the case, the Modini-Z-40 Sago Foot Splints + Stroke Training Gloves + Motorized Exercise Cycle pictured below may be your best solution.

Will now go through some things to consider when choosing one.

What to Look for in a Pedal Exerciser for Seniors

If you would really like to track and log your progress, you should go for one that has Bluetooth or can at least sync to your Fitbit account via your computer.

Our first two options can do one or the other, and I’ll go into more details in each section below.

Another consideration is that most pedal exercisers have a display that is integral to the machine itself. That means unless you are using the machine to strengthen your arms, it will be on the floor between your feet. If you think you will struggle to see the readout, at that distance, our top pick, has a detachable display – so you can place it where you can see it better.

If you have limited movement, you should consider a motorized option like the Exerpeutic 2000M Motorized Pedal Exerciser I have featured below.

Most pedal exercisers require some minimal assembly. The Drive Medical Deluxe one featured below, however, comes fully assembled and it’s foldable too.

Let’s now take a look at our recommendations for the best pedal exerciser for seniors.

The Best Pedal Exerciser for Seniors Reviewed

Best Overall Pedal Exerciser: DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser

There are several good reasons the DeskCycle 2 made our top pick – and the ability to log and track your progress on the DeskCycle website, (and sync your data to a Fitbit account if you have one) is just one of them.

First, I just want to mention, you may have noticed that this is called the DeskCycle 2. There is an alternative model by DeskCycle that costs approximately $10 less (called the DeskCycle).

The difference, in case you were wondering, is that the DeskCycle2 allows you to adjust the height of the (velcro secured) pedals to between 9 and 10 inches (by adjusting the front leg) whereas the DeskCycle is set at 10″.

So if you often sit at a computer or want to sit at a table, this low profile version means it’s ideal for use under a desk or table and you only need a clearance height of 27 inches. Being able to set the pedal to a lower height may also be more comfortable for some people.

One thing that really stands out for us about the design of this machine, is the ability to detach the display. That means you can set it on a tabletop or on the sofa beside you, so you can see it much more easily. Displays on these machines are more usually built into the actual machine itself – which means your readout would be displayed between your feet – and this, for some people, may be a little too far away to read easily.

Now I mentioned you can log your progress on the website, it really is very straightforward, and you can sync the results to your Fitbit account – saving it either as footsteps or cycling activity. There’s also an online calorie calculator. Below are my results when using the Deskcycle2 for 30 minutes

You do have to bear in mind that the readout of distance and calories burned (as is the case in all of these machines) is really only an estimate. But if you are using the machine every day you will be able to gauge your own progress/consistency as you use the pedal exerciser from day to day.

The DeskCycle2 pedal exerciser has 8 levels of resistance, but it runs just as quietly and smoothly on the lowest level. The level is set by an adjustment knob on the machine itself, but given the nature of the type of exercise you will be doing, once you have set it to your comfort level, you will most likely want to leave it at that setting.

Best Mid Price Range: ANCHEER Pedal Exerciser

A little cheaper than the DeskCycle 2 choice, the ANCHEER Pedal Exerciser is our well-deserved, alternative top pick.

Both the ANCHEER and the DeskCycle 2 are well-built, reliable, and quiet. They both have 8 levels of resistance – easily adjusted by a knob on the front of the machine.

Where they do differ in their basic design is that this one has the display built into the machine itself. It’s not detachable – but don’t worry, there is a solution if you want your progress to be displayed on a table next to you, or at seated/lap height.

You see, this one has a bit of a bonus feature, in that it has Bluetooth, so it will wirelessly sync to your phone (using the free FitShow app). The app even features realistic scenery, but more importantly, you will be able to log and see your time, speed, distance, and calories burned at a glance.

Suitable either as an under-desk cycle or just to keep you comfortably pedaling away from your sofa or favorite armchair, the ANCHEER Pedal Exerciser also comes with an extra set of pedals that make it suitable and comfortable to use as an arm exerciser. I need to just mention that they aren’t the most ergonomically shaped ones I have seen on exercise equipment in general. You can probably tell from this image above whether they would be suitable or not for you.

Best Budget Option: Drive Medical Deluxe Folding Exercise Peddler with Electronic Display

Simple, and very affordable (at under $50) the Drive Medical Deluxe pedal exerciser, (unlike our first two options) actually comes fully assembled and it’s foldable too!

That makes this option a great little space saver when not in use. The display records time, distance, speed, and calories burned which is actually no less data than you get with other higher-priced machines out there.

If you want cheap and basic no frills option. This is it.

If this is just what you are looking for, just before your go ahead, I want to mention that there’s a very similar but more colorful option (that does also cost a few dollars more) that you may want to consider first. I have featured the Platinum Fitness Fit Sit Deluxe Folding Pedal Exerciser Leg Machine further down this page, if you want to take a look.

Best for Seniors with Limited Mobility: Exerpeutic 2000M Motorized Electric Legs and Arms Pedal Exerciser

For anyone with limited/reduced mobility, a motorized pedal exerciser is the perfect solution.

Able to assist your movement and increase your flexibility and circulation, the Exerpeutic 2000M can be operated either by you – or, can pedal independently in auto mode.

Before I go into more details about this fabulous machine, I just want to mention that you may have seen or heard of the Exerpeutic Motorized Leg and Arm Pedal Exerciser pictured below. It’s very popular on Amazon. It looks completely different from the one I have featured above, but the one I have featured is actually an upgrade of the one shown below.

The upgraded version now has a new design. It has wider pedals with secure straps, and the handheld speed controller has a much longer cord, (5 feet 9 inches).

Whichever version you go for, (and both are still available) the auto mode allows the machine to rotate your legs or arms for you – and this makes it ideal for anyone who has reduced strength in one or both arms or legs.

A notable safety feature is that if the speed is set too high or the user’s legs are unable to rotate freely, the safety overload protection will stop the pedal exerciser automatically for you.

Now if you have problems actually keeping your knees in the upright position, or your legs can’t move freely, or you think you may have trouble keeping your feet securely on the pedals, this may not be your best option.

There are some that are more specialized and have leg braces like the Modini-Z-40 Sago Foot Splints + Stroke Training Gloves + Motorized Exercise Cycle mentioned (and pictured) in our section above, Is a Pedal Exerciser Right for Me?

Another Worthy Mention: Hausse Portable Exercise Pedal Bike for Legs and Arms, Mini Exercise Peddler

For under $50 the Hausse Portable Exercise Pedal Bike well worth a mention.

It’s small and compact, so can easily be placed on a table if you want to increase your strength and movement of your arms.

The strap (included) prevents the machine from slipping when you attach it to a chair.

Other Pedal Exercisers to Consider

Platinum Fitness Fit Sit Deluxe Folding Pedal Exerciser Leg Machine

I am mentioning this one because, although (at the time of writing) it does cost a few dollars more than the Drive Deluxe, that I picked for our best budget option, it does have a couple of noteworthy details that you may prefer.

As you can see, you can pick a nice cheerful color, which makes it an attractive option, especially if you are buying one as a gift.

It’s also manufactured by the well-known, US company Platinum Health.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike with Digital Monitor

US-based company Sunny Health & Fitness has featured a few times here at City Fitness (they were my top water rowing machine pick) and for good reason.

They focus on high-quality fitness equipment that is generally very reasonably priced.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pedal exerciser vs stationary bike, which is best?

Although the principle of a pedal exerciser and a stationary bike is basically the same, in that you pedal them - they really have different functions.

Stationary bikes are great for training and fitness but you can't do much else while using them other than listen to music or watch tv etc. And you need to be able to, or, have enough stamina, to sit on one to use it. So for seniors or the elderly they may be less than suitable.

On the other hand, you can use a pedal exerciser straight from your sofa or comfortable chair. You can build on your strength and fitness or simply increase your circulation and your mobility and your flexibility.

How do you use a pedal exerciser?

Pedal Exercisers are really easy to use. Most have a tension knob that you turn to increase or decrease the level of resistance. Once set that, you can start pedaling.

Some pedal exercisers motor-assisted. These are great for anyone with reduced or limited mobility. Motor-assisted pedal exercisers are also a good option if you only have the use of one leg or one arm.

Are pedal exercisers worth it?

Pedal exercisers are very affordable. They take up very little room and you aren't as likely to get bored with them, simply because you can use them while you are doing another activity that you enjoy - and all from the comfort of your sofa or favorite chair.

So yes - they are worth it.

We hope this list of the best pedal exerciser for seniors has been helpful.

If there's anything good that you think I've missed, or if you have any questions about anything, then let us know down in the comments below.


PubMed."Exercise Therapy for Parkinson's Disease: Pedaling Rate Is Related to Changes in Motor Connectivity"

PubMed."Exercise Therapy for Parkinson's Disease: Pedaling Rate Is Related to Changes in Motor Connectivity"

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