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Peddle Yourself Fit: How to Get the Most Out of a Stationary Bike

exercise bikeI run into a lot of people nursing injuries, or limited by joint issues. Unfortunately, as soon as someone is injured they often quit exercising altogether – but there is hope! It’s called a stationary bike.

If you have ever been to a rehabilitation center, you know physical therapist rely heavily on Stationary Bikes. It gets the patient’s joints moving without extra weight on the joint, it’s safe (less chance of falling off a bike than a treadmill) and it exercises the heart and lunges.

If you are unable to do weight bearing exercise (like walking, running or doing the elliptical), using a stationary bike is a great alternative – IF you use it right.

Here are 4 ways to peddle your way to fitness success.

big boy on small bike1. Learn proper set-up. Have you ever seen a big person on a little bike. It looks ridiculous doesn’t it? Well, it’s not just silly looking, it’s dangerous. Before you begin your workout, adjust the seat where your legs comfortably stretch out to reach the peddles. When your leg is stretched out all the way, your leg should only have a slight bend without locking the knee out at full extension. If you are bike shopping, don’t cut corners just to save money. Cheap bikes often are tipsy and not as comfortable. Your health is worth the investment. Look for a wide base, comfortable seat, heart rate monitor, built-in workout programs and sturdy framing to make your workout more enjoyable.

sleeping on exercise bike

2. No coasting. Many people get on a bike like they are going out for some kind of joy ride instead of actually working out. They peddle slowly, as if that is going to do something miraculous. Maybe it’s because they are comfortable. With recumbent bikes these days, bikes have nice cushy backs on the seat and even arm rests, so no wonder you may start yawning! You can’t coast your way to success. Ride like you are going somewhere.

3. Peddle with purpose. I see some people hop on the bike and mentally leave the planet into some far off land. If you want your bike exercise to change your body, and your health, you need to have a gang plan. Many bikes, like the NordicTrac GX 3.4, have built in workout programs. The GX 3 actually has 23 programs to choose from, so you could practically have a fresh new workout every time you ride throughout each month! If your bike has programs, USE THEM! Don’t just peddle at your own pace, use the programs to train and challenge you.

4. Track your heart rate. Your heart rate is the most accurate way to determine how hard you are working. First, find out your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). Then, multiple that number by your desired target heart rate. 60-70% for beginners, 70-80% for intermediate training and 80-90% for advanced training. Interval workouts are even more effective for fat burning and conditioning. Interval workouts are when you exercise at a high peak of 80-90% of your maximum heart rate, followed by a recovery period at a lower heart rate. For example, 1 minute at 80-90%, followed by 2 minutes at 70-80% for a high intensity workout, or 2 minutes at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate followed by 3 minutes at 60-70% for a moderate intensity workout.

target-heart-rate-table1

Good Intentions, Poor Results: It’s Not Too Late

If you’ve been following my blog, you know this week is all about turning good intentions into good actions. Every day I am tackling one out of five common obstacles that causes our fitness to stop with good intentions. Today it’s all about the person who really wants to lose weight, but they just think they are a lost cause and there is no hope. Let’s dive in to scenario #3…

senior fitness#3: Hopelessness: They think it’s too late.

I see this all the time. A person is “too fat”, “too out of shape”, “too old” or “too broken” to start working out. Well, tell that to Gail Griesemer, one of our members who has spina bifida and is bound to a wheel chair. (click on her name to read her story). I probably have a member that has beat every excuse you could ever come up with – old age, medical issues, missing limbs, insane work schedule, cancer, brain damage (ha! – no I’m not talking about your mentally disturbed friend haha) – Seriously, Steve’s even training an 83yr old man right now that is in the middle of chemotherapy. So now, what was your excuse again? That’s what I thought.

Unfortunately, many people think they are a lost cause. They subscribe to this way of thinking, fully believe they just have to accept their situation, and they think they just have to live with the consequences. They feel like they’d get in shape IF they could, but they truly don’t think they can. Most of the time, they are wrong.

Solution: This person needs to realize it is NEVER too late. There is always something someone can do to make improvements and get healthy. People, who are in this type of situation, actually can’t afford NOT to workout – they just don’t know how to work around their obstacles. This person would greatly benefit from hiring an expert trainer to work with them, teach them and encourage them.

Get more tips: Read…
Problem #1: Can’t seem to start
Problem #2: Motivation Issues

This Week’s Mantra:

good intentions

3 Ways to Stop Knee Pain

Do your knees ache? Do they hurt when you run? Do your knees get in the way of a good leg routine? Before you go off running for the operating room, your knee pain could be something a lot more simple than you think.

One popular reasons people (especially runners and fitness newbies) struggle with knee pain is because our leg muscles are out of balance. As tight muscles play tug-a-war with your knee cap knee cap, and your apposing weak muscles are losing. This cause the knee cap to float out of place – resulting in poor knee tracking and a lot of discomfort.

Steve explains how to correct the problem with a couple of simple exercises:

More Exercises

1 Stretches: 
Quadricep Stretch
IT Band Stretch
IT Band Foam Roller

2. Exercises:
Leg Extension on a Machine

Leg Extension with Bands
Leg Extension with Leg Weights

3. Ice & Rest:
Rest is crucial to allow for healing
Ice is essential to reduce inflammation (15 minutes at a time, as often as you can)

More Injury Prevention Blogs

More on Knee Pain:
Simple Fix for Knee Pain
Fast Fix for a Pain in Your Butt
Kick Heel Pain
HEROES: Fitness After Pain & Injury
Train Hurt or Go Home! (or should you?)
5 Simple Pain Prevention Tips

Fast Fix for a Pain in Your Butt

OK, before you get too excited, I can’t help you with your husband or kid, if they are what you consider to be a pain your butt. I’m talking about a literal pain in your backside.

If you’ve ever suffered from a throbbing aching pain in your derriere, that possibly even radiates down your leg, you have experienced Sciatica. Sciatica, literally is a pain in the butt – and it can be fixed pretty easily.

Steve explains what Sciatica is often caused by and how to eliminate the pain. If you’ve been in pain due to Sciatica, you won’t BELIEVE how these simple exercises can change your life!

4 Tips to More Pain Prevention:
1. Maintain good posture
2. Take your wallet out when driving or sitting for long periods of time
3. Do the above stretches often through out the day, holding each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. (no bouncing)
4. Take anti-imflammatories when needed
5. Avoid heat – Icing an injury reduces inflammation, where heat induces an inflammatory response

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Kick Heel Pain

If you’ve ever stepped out of bed in the morning, only to find you barely could walk across the floor without this crazy sudden heel pain, then you may have Plantar Fasciitis. Typically, as you continue to walk, the pain will let up – but don’t be fooled. This problem will only get worse if unattended – and could potentially turn into a bone spur.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Steve explains what it is and how to prevent, or improve, it with 2 simple exercises.

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