It’s time to stop thinking of exercise machines as a take ’em or leave ’em proposition. By using traditional cardio machines in non-traditional ways, you can get a lot more bang for your buck out of treadmills, stationary bicycles, ellipticals, and others. With a little knowledge and a bit of creativity, you can change a machine from something that aggravates your condition to something that improves your condition, or from one you’ve had to give up to one you can do again. It’s about making the equipment work for you by knowing which adjustments to make to suit your needs.
Take the stationary bike (or any bike for that matter):
- Raising the seat will lessen the bend in your knee and thus decrease the pressure on the knee cap when you push down. Good for those with Patello-femoral Pain Syndrome, or pain in the front of the knee with prolonged sitting or stairs. (just don’t raise it so much that your toes are pointing down at the bottom of the stroke)
- Angling your feet out slightly on the pedal will engage the inner quadricep muscle (the “VMO”) more. Also good for those with anterior knee pain, Patello-femoral Pain Syndrome. (just don’t turn out so much that you’re twisting your knee)
- Lowering the seat will cause you to push less with your ankles and help rest the calf muscles. Good for those with Achilles tendon problems.
- Sitting more upright, typically by raising the handle bars or bringing them closer, will relieve some of the pressure on the spinal discs. Good if you have symptoms from degenerative disc disease or herniated discs.
- Bending forward more, by lowering the handle bars or pushing the seat back, will help unload pressure from the back of the spine. Good for those with spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spine.
Let me know if you try any of the recommendations above, or share some of your own…
I’ll cover similar suggestions for other equipment in later posts.