Things and people change. About a year ago my mate Max said that he had used an exercise bike at another unit he visited on holidays and thought it was great. He also said that studies showed riding for the first hour of a BigD session resulted in significantly improved phosphate removal due to increased muscle blood flow. Now that I am fitter and handle the BigD well, I wondered how I could give it a try. I found it difficult to imagine what it would look like, much less use.
Actually, it’s pretty good. Max talked to Chris (our Unit Manager) who found a supplier. And Chris arranged for new chair complete with exercise bike attachment, to be made available to the unit for trial all this week.
Here it is.
The actual exercise unit is quite small and relatively light (8kg). It snaps on and off (to be replaced by a footrest). Pedalling pressure is adjustable, and there is a small on-board computer to calculate speed, distance, timer, calories, etc.
I set the pressure to low-medium resistance and began pedalling.
It’s not quite comfortable in socks, best to have some gym shoes or slippers, but otherwise it’s actually quite enjoyable.
You get into a constant rhythm and just keep going. I got warm, but not hot or sweaty. Normally, just sitting there you can get quite cold and need a blanket, but not while you’re ‘on the road’.
Here’s Max, showing how it’s done.
You can watch TV or a computer video while you pedal, but it’s not practical to try and read (just a little too much movement). I pedalled for around 30 minutes, which gives you a good benefit and still time for other things: reading, a little computing, sandwiches, cup of tea… three hours can go pretty fast.
Because you have to buy the chair to get the exerciser, this unit is pretty pricey (around $7,000-$8000). The chair is made by Bionic in Germany and distributed in Australia by TekMed. While it’s not feasible to expect the unit to buy one for every station, maybe buy one chair that people use on rotation?
There is also a standalone unit around which costs about $200. I am told that you need to sit upright to ride it, which may not be practical for some BigD club members. However, being so much more affordable, we could buy our own (more about that unit soon).
So, in summary, using an exercise bike as part of the Bigd treatment looks like it has legs!