Cycling is stepping stone to fitness

Cycling is an excellent stepping stone to fitness for people who are recuperating after surgery or are recovering from illness or injury. As a physiotherapist based at Champneys Tring, I use an exercise bike as one of my core pieces of equipment to help people build their fitness with very little risk of causing further injury. At Tring, we look after some guests on residential convalescent stays who may have recently left hospital. They may be afraid to start exercising in case they hurt themselves further, but a few minutes on a bike is something they are prepared to try in those very early days.
Cycling works out muscles without load bearing joints like hips, knees and ankles. Even someone who has undergone full knee replacement surgery can very quickly get back onto an exercise bike and start the process of rehabilitation.

Cycling works out muscles without load bearing joints like hips, knees and ankles. Even someone who has undergone full knee replacement surgery can very quickly get back onto an exercise bike and start the process of rehabilitation. 

Running and fast walking is load bearing and not always suitable for some people. On a static bike, we can grade the level carefully to match the requirements of the individual. In some cases, people may start with just half an arc, using gravity to help them push down the pedal. They can then progress to cycling a full arc backwards and finally a full arc forwards, before actually cycling full revolutions on the flat.
The non-load bearing side of cycling makes it similar to exercise in water, but it is much more convenient for most people to use a static bike.

The non-load bearing side of cycling makes it similar to exercise in water, but it is much more convenient for most people to use a static bike.

Those people are very overweight can also get the benefit of cycling, even if they have to start with arm cycling. This helps build up aerobic fitness without putting them under undue strain. Guests with lung conditions, or those recovering from a heart attack, are also ideally placed to start their exercise regime in the saddle.
After a period of days and weeks, many people can cycle for half an hour or more and reap the benefits of the exercise regime which can be fun as well as helping to develop fitness. Outdoor bike riding is available at all Champneys resorts and this can take the exercise to a different level for those who have built their strength up on static bikes in the gym.

Emma James

Emma James is Champneys Residential Physiotherapist at Tring.

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