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2/11/2020 2:32 pm  #1

Strength and Flexibility

I'm tired of seeing my old topic there under my old name.  No fitness posts for a few years now!  So, as Moosewhizzer Dave I'll share some fitness news and we'll see what others are doing.  I realized in my (current) 54th year, that I was losing muscle mass.  Elbows and knees were hurting because I was relying on tendons more and more and that's no good.  So, I bought this recumbent stationary bike.  There's a backrest which is very nice, and the model I got was the only one I found that had movable arm things.  Since I set it up in early January(?), I've only missed three nights, generally going about 20-24 minutes on it.  (It wasn't a New Year Resolution, I actually bought it in early December, but the first one was lost in transit - not sure how you lose a 90-pound item in a box the size of your kitchen table but that's what happened). 

The difference is incredible.  I don't set it to any significant level of resistance, this is more about toning up than bulking up, getting some daily cardio in, and ensuring flexibility as I gracelessly age.  My legs are now officially impressive - super-important for portaging as you know.  My arms are toning up reasonably, and the shoulders are getting the low-load-high-repetition that the rotator cuff likes.  Now my fat has only one place to go now - tummy.  I can live with that.  Paddling will take care of that - I will need to keep eating cookies and drinking root beer to maintain my comely shape though.
The downside is that it is a repeated motion in finite directions, but for my purposes, I'm really happy with this.  I generally don't have the self-discipline to stick with this kind of thing, but I have been, I'm feeling the results, and I'm feeling readier for canoeing than I have for several years.  I go zipping up and down stairs now, my knees barely tweak.  I get stuck carrying something uncomfortable or bulky in and out of cars, in out out of buildings and I'm not getting gassed or rubbing sore muscle for days.  The results encourage me to keep it up.  

It is a "Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike Exercise Bike, 350lb High Weight Capacity, Cross Training, Arm Exercisers, Monitor, Pulse Rate Monitoring" exercise bike: SF-RB4708.  Not doing a commercial, but just so you can see what it is.  It was about $300.  Definitely not the highest end model you could get, but it is doing the trick for me.

Sooooo - what are you doing?  Anybody else got any exciting fitness news?


2/11/2020 5:08 pm  #2

Re: Strength and Flexibility

I'm guessing the "recumbent" aspect is easier on the hips? How's your middle, lower back and tailbone doing in the recumbent position? I'm curious if long legged people like me might have difficulty reaching the handle-bars with the seat pushed back because of the long legs. Any insight is appreciated. I'm closing-in on 72 years and need some serious exercise!


2/11/2020 11:28 pm  #3

Re: Strength and Flexibility

Hi Barry -

The seat can be moved back and forth, so that's helpful....I'm struggling for the right words here...I generally set it so that my leg extends most, but not all of the way.  If I moved the seat closer, then my leg would not extend as far and my knees would bend more.  Moving the seat also impacts how much you extend to work the arm things.  So, for a long legged person, I think you'd adjust the seat a little closer, to the "legs never fully extend, knees bend more" kind of position to keep the arm things close enough to keep hands on them when they reach that furthest point away from you. 

Soooo hard to explain, I hope this is making some sense. 

The one repeated complaint I saw about the bike was that the arms are not adjustable, which is true, and for shorter people it was a bit of a reach up to use those.  I am 5'9, and I feel like they are maybe just a touch on the high side.  As it is, I'm happy with the range of motion I'm getting with the legs, and my arms stretch out almost all the way each stroke, and most importantly, my back remains pressed to the back rest.   

Where I do get some paint/discomfort is in my forearms.  I'll set the distance to maybe 7 miles.  After two miles, I'll rest my arms for one mile, etc.  So that keeps me from smoking my forearms.  

Specific to your question - hips are fine.  For the first week maybe, I felt it a little bit where femur meets hip, but that was it.  All aspects of my back are fine with it - and I was worried about that.  Every time I stand up when I'm done, I expect my lower back to hurt, but it never does.  I think some of that has to do with sticking with low resistance.  If I used more resistance, I'd probably be twisting my body a bit trying to make it happen and maintain a speed.  

So there you go, Barry - I kept it to under 10 million words, and based on my usual writings that's pretty brief.  Actually, I still have a few words to spare, so if something wasn't clear please let me know!

     Thread Starter

2/12/2020 2:59 pm  #4

Re: Strength and Flexibility

Since my heart attack in Feb 2019 I've been using a stationary bike, lifting some weights, sit-ups and planking and learning Tai Chi. I returned to the park in September for a series of day hikes along the corridor including Mizzy and Centennial Ridges with a light day pack and I was actually pleasantly surprised!! I did pretty well!!!
Hoping to hit the backcountry this year either portaging or maybe an overnight backpack trip; nothing too strenuous as of yet. I have to say that the Tai Chi has helped immensely with my joints and mobility!!
Doing High Intensity Intervals on the bike has brought my wind back and I'm hoping the weights will toughen me up for portaging. The last few years I could only manage shorter portages.
But. . . . . . .  Things are looking up as I approach 59!! 


2/13/2020 3:36 pm  #5

Re: Strength and Flexibility

After I tore my hamstring last June I realized that even though I had been getting to the gym pretty frequently, I  had no idea if anything that I was doing was actually helping. Turns out, it probably wasn't. So, last summer I started up with a personal trainer and it's made a huge difference. He showed me a bunch of things I was doing wrong, along with a bunch of things I should be doing but wasn't (the biggest difference maker has been adding deadlifts to my routine). Long story short, it's made a huge difference. My back, which has been threatening to move to another continent for the past few years, feels great, my flexibility has improved significantly and my legs are much stronger. Hopefully all this translates to a better year on the water.  


2/13/2020 4:57 pm  #6

Re: Strength and Flexibility

I like to cycle as much as possible in the summer and try to hit the gym a few times a week in the winter.  If my schedule allows it I can usually get out for pickup shinny once a week.  I'm in my mid 30's and yoga + stretching have become my backs saviour.  That being said, I broke my elbow last Friday.  Hopefully I get good news when I go in for a check up next week, I'm dreading being in a cast for another 4 plus physio afterwards.  Right now I'm trying to get out for long walks with the dog just to stay moving.  I'd like to be doing some hiking but it's probably not too smart with a plaster wing.


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