We all know that exercise is an essential part of every diabetic’s daily life as part of the 3-pronged approach for treating diabetes (diet, medication, and exercise). Whether the exercise is accomplished by walking, jogging, land or water aerobics, weight training, etc., is a matter of preference, climate, availability, and personal liability (see Word of Caution at the end of this article).
This month we’re going to explore a popular piece of at-home and spa exercise equipment that gives an excellent workout at affordable prices: the stationary bicycle.
Some suggestions before purchasing a stationary bicycle:
- Check with your physicians first to determine if this equipment fits into your overall health.
- Develop a plan based on how many minutes per day (or every other day), your physician recommends.
- Try out the machine. You can shop first on the Net (there are several brands with websites), then look under fitness equipment in your local yellow pages for a dealer. Don’t buy without actually getting on the machine and using it for several minutes. Note the measurements and make sure it fits and will look right in your space.
- Look in the “Consumer’s Guide,” other consumer journals, fitness magazines, or ask around to check out the company’s reputation. Ask about maintenance and the availability of service and/or replacement parts.
Stationary bicycles with arm action add an upper-body workout. As with all exercise regimes, start out slowly, building up to a higher, sustained cadence in the lower gears(about 70-80 revolutions per minute), making sure you can easily pedal the bike (if you’re too breathless to talk, ease up). Follow your maximum spinning time with a slow-down, cool-off period. At moderate intensity, 220 calories will be expended in 30 minutes.
On the downside, riding a stationary bike can be a dreadfully boring experience. At cycling classes, the workout instructors use speed drills and visualization — You’re almost to the top!” “Look at the sun shining on that meadow” to keep participants motivated. We found that cycling to music or while watching a favorite video helps.
Since you have diabetes, it’s important that you test your blood before and after exercising; make provisions for a carbo snack should you experience low blood sugars during or after exercising.
WORD OF CAUTION: If the stationary exercise bicycle is accessible to children, The U.S. Consumer Product safety Commission warns parents always to always keep children away from the bike. Never use a bike without a chain guard, and when not using the bike, store it where children can’t get to it.