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The Artwork and Science of Health | Discovering the advantages of stationary bikes

Once I was a baby, I biked loads. However I by no means thought of biking a real sport. I discovered it too straightforward. And because the operating purist in me grew, my bias towards bikes — together with stationary ones — did as effectively.

Twenty years in the past, Dr Ananth Joshi, a pioneer sports activities medication physician within the nation, steered that, for the longevity of my knees, I ought to change from operating to biking. And whereas I agreed that I’d out of respect, I by no means bought round to it due to my unconscious bias. Biking was not for me, and stationary bikes, even much less so. For an old-timer train dinosaur like me, stationary bikes had been thought of blasphemy! Even when requested about which bikes my sufferers ought to get, I all the time winced. And when the sale of stationary bikes skyrocketed in the course of the pandemic, I caught to old style ground exercise and I ran up and down the steps.

After which the day arrived, dropped at us by Delhi’s extraordinarily poor air high quality and a scarcity of political will to wash it (on the day of writing, the Air High quality Index was 398). My father, an avid walker for over half a century wished to purchase a treadmill, cross-trainer or stationary bike. We had been compelled to search for indoor choices to maintain ourselves slot in a gas-chamber-like metropolis. My dad did not just like the treadmill and cross-trainer choices, and so he left it to me to search out him bike — of which I knew nothing about. And so I attempted the spinning bike, adopted by an upright bike, which I dominated out. After which, reluctantly, I attempted the recumbent bike. And it was love at first experience.

As a sports-exercise medication physician who additionally focuses on again and knee ache — and is all the time enthusiastic to get folks to run and do justice to their operating potential — the recumbent bike was god-sent. Earlier than I attempted it, I usually steered stationary bikes to sufferers with none conviction. All that modified. The advantages of an indoor cardiovascular train machine apart, I must take you on this journey to know the recumbent bike and why I appreciated it.

Most of us spend 8 to 12 hours sitting down — that is one-third to half of our lives. And sometimes, not in the very best posture. We would begin upright, however quickly sufficient we begin to slouch. This results in a constricted rib cage with not sufficient room for the lungs to broaden. Our spines turn into stiff, and are not as agile or sturdy as they was once. Now, the muscular tissues that we sit on are referred to as glutes, which turn into weak over time once we are sedentary as a result of their primary function is to assist us stand upright, stroll and run. They work in tandem with the hips, knees and ankles, in order that the motion of say, operating or strolling, is synchronized. Nonetheless, that is forgotten in in the present day’s age. After we notice that we have to get into higher form, we overlook that we have to reactivate these muscular tissues, work on our primary basis, to maintain accidents at bay and reside sustainably. As an alternative, forgetting the groundwork, we start our journey with stiff hips and ankles, forcing the knees to do all of the work after which we marvel how most of us have terrible knees by our mid-30s or 40s.

Sadly, many do not get the fundamentals proper. Of us are likely to convey their unhealthy habits from poor sitting posture to their exercising as effectively. Additional, as a result of we put on socks and footwear for lengthy hours, our toes have misplaced contact with the earth. Despite the fact that our toes have 56 bones — greater than 1 / 4 of the bones in our our bodies — we see and use them as one single unit. This makes our toes lose two essential features, that of being the inflexible weight-bearing construction and the versatile construction to evolve to uneven terrain. When folks try and run, their toes buckle due to gross muscle imbalances, adopted by knees caving in. This results in all types of accidents—from the heel and shin to the knees, hips, and again.

That is the place the recumbent bike steps in to play an important function. As soon as we shuffle again into the seat, resting our backs comfortably on the seat, the toes are positioned on the pedals. Now, the one level to give attention to is that the knees should not be rolling in or out whereas we pedal. As soon as we begin using, our hips, knees and ankles work in sync, with out placing any strain on the knees and again — the 2 commonest aches and pains folks endure from.

Very similar to a leg press machine, a recumbent bike engages the glutes (the muscular tissues in your buttocks), hamstrings, quadriceps and calves muscular tissues collectively as a staff. It additionally will get the hips, knees and ankles to maneuver collectively too. All this whereas not placing strain on the higher physique. As soon as we get the dangle of it, we are able to focus higher on our legs and calm down the higher physique. This isolation of the physique components helps to coach them higher, and collectively, they do a good higher job.

Regardless of which one is our dominant leg, not like operating, we apply equal strain on each toes. This teaches us to maneuver loads higher. By solely getting the decrease physique to work, we are able to give attention to correct, exact motion.

The wonder is {that a} recumbent bike has a task to play for each particular person, regardless of how unfit or match you’re. We simply want to remember to not do an excessive amount of immediately, spend time on the seat, after which regularly improve the pace. It’s strongly really useful even for folks with again and knee ache, and even for many who need to carry out higher at operating half or full marathons. You’ll be able to customise your exercise and select to do lengthy sluggish classes, tempo paced or at completely different pace intervals too.

Nonetheless, one suggestion to you, expensive readers: When on the bike, attempt to not hearken to obtrusive information channels — which these days appear extra like cleaning soap operas. The entire concept of ​​exercising and rediscovering the thrill of a match and wholesome life is to spend time connecting with your self, one pedal at a time.

Preserve miling and smiling.

Dr Rajat Chauhan is the writer of The Ache Handbook: A non-surgical method to handle again, neck and knee ache; MoveMint Medication: Your Journey to Peak Well being and La Extremely: cOuch to five, 11 & 22 kms in 100 days

He writes a weekly column, completely for HT Premium readers, that breaks down the science of motion and train.

The views expressed are private

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