New research from the University of Manitoba shows that you can build an exercise bike that can compete with the top-of-the-line bikes you’ll find in stores and online for a fraction of the price.
The study, published in the journal Functional Fitness and Sports Medicine, found that for people who have had at least one hip replacement surgery, an exercise bicycle with a range of weights ranging from 20 to 70 kilograms can provide an equivalent exercise benefit to the $2,500-$3,500 range of exercise bikes that typically come with the equipment.
“The main reason why we recommend this is because it provides the same amount of exercise that you get in the gym,” said Dr. Mark MacEwen, a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University’s Osgoode Hall Medical Centre and co-author of the study.
“You’re getting the same workout, you’re getting a little bit more intensity, and you’re having a little more variety in the workouts.”
“You can actually see the same number of reps, so you can actually have more variety,” he added.
The researchers found that a range between 20 and 70 kilograms of the standard exercise bike weighed between 1.4 and 2.2 kilograms and had a handlebar width of 4.5 to 6.4 millimetres.
The standard exercise bicycle had a diameter of 6.8 millimetre, and the exercise bike with a handlebars width of 6 millimeters weighed 1.5 kilograms more.
For the study, participants were divided into four groups: the exercise bicycle group, the standard bike group, a non-exercise bike group and a non-$2,000 bike group.
The bike group included a total of 11 participants who were asked to use an elliptical or a treadmill for 20 minutes, and four who were given the standard bicycle.
Participants completed a battery of tests including a modified version of the Wingate test, which measures muscular endurance, as well as a treadmill test and a power test.
The results showed that participants who had had at at least two hip replacements performed significantly better on the Wingates test, and those who had only had one hip replaced performed significantly worse.
The tests also indicated that the participants who used an exercise biking bike performed significantly less strain on their hips, and that their strength increased after their hip replacements.
The study authors noted that this is a promising finding for people with a compromised hip or knee or for those with chronic knee or hip pain.
“We’re seeing some good results,” said MacEwan.
“We’re finding a lot of improvements in the test after just about anything you can do to your hips.”
The researchers suggest that the bikes with lower handlebars and a wider seat could be more effective for people on a budget.
“If you can get a bike that’s at least $1,000 cheaper, then you can afford to do it,” MacEwin said.
“There’s no reason why you can’t do it for under $2 million,” he said.
The research team also found that people who had undergone surgery in the past year had higher blood pressure and blood sugar than the control group.
“People who had hip replacements in the last five years, were much more likely to have blood pressure that was high, and they had a lot higher blood sugar levels,” said University of Winnipeg assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation Dr. Robert Leduc.
“So that suggests a potential for a lot more of a chronic problem,” said Leduc, adding that some people with the same hip replacement can have the same problem with low blood sugar.
“But for people that had hip replacement in the previous five years they did well,” said Professor MacEwing.
The findings also suggest that people with hip replacement issues may have a different exercise program and may need to work on their flexibility to get their fitness back.
“It seems to be the case that people that were doing a lot and a lot over time, they probably have a more traditional, more traditional training program and they’re more flexible and that could help with a lot.
It’s something that’s going to require some time to figure out,” said study co-leader Dr. Kevin Macdonald.
In addition to Dr. MacEwens research, the researchers also recruited 10 non-profit fitness groups in Manitoba to provide feedback on the study and to provide exercise bikes to study participants.