There are few forms of exercise that allow you to lean back and read a book while you work up a sweat. Pedaling away on a recumbent bike might appear to be a leisurely activity at first glance, but don’t be fooled: with high resistance settings and a hard effort, it’s not as laid-back as it looks.

More forgiving on the joints than hitting the treadmill or opting for an upright stationary version, the benefits of a recumbent bike include getting a solid indoor cardio workout. And, from an injury-recovery perspective, it’s a safe way to ease into joint movement and exercise during the healing process. Vint Schoenfeldt, physical therapist, C.S.C.S., and co-owner of Rocky Mountain Spine and Sport in Denver, appreciates the recumbent bike for how it helps his patients stay active as they heal or begin to exercise.

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