Physical Activity Needs
A physical activity program should include both aerobic exercises and strength training exercises. Adults need at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, or one hour 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise include brisk walking, slow bike riding, gardening and water aerobics. Some vigorous-intensity aerobic activities are jogging, race walking, biking fast or on hills and jumping rope.
In addition to aerobic activity, adults should spend time doing muscle-strengthening exercises (like lifting weights, performing push-ups or using resistance bands) at least two days a week. Strengthening exercises should work all the major muscle groups.
Regular exercises help control weight and reduce the risk for many different types of chronic health problems, like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and certain types of cancer. Exercise also strengthens the bones, reduces the risk of arthritis-related joint problems and improves mental health.
Despite the benefits of exercise, many Americans live a sedentary life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 25 percent of American adults don’t get any leisure-time physical activity.
Krank it Up!
Biking is a popular form of exercise. In fitness studios, one popular form of stationary bike riding is Spinning®. Instructors guide a group of stationary bike riders through an “imaginary” road course, providing a workout that’s similar to a brisk bike ride. A motivational class leader, lights and music aid in varying the intensity of the experience.
Biking and Spinning provide a good aerobic workout and build lower body strength. But not everyone likes riding bikes, and some people don’t have the physical ability to pedal with their feet.
Enter one of the newest fitness cycles, the KRANKcycle®. It looks almost like an upside-down bicycle. Instead of foot power, the KRANKcycle is powered by hand. “KRANKING®,” as the method has been dubbed, provides the same calorie-burning and core strength-building benefits as Spinning. However, since the KRANKcycle is powered by the arms and hands, it builds the muscles in the upper body rather than those in the lower body.
The idea for the KRANKcycle comes from a piece of equipment used in physical therapy, called the Upper Body Ergometer, or UBE. The UBE was designed for rehabilitation to increase range of motion in patients with shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries. With some design modifications, the KRANKcycle is more like a bicycle, with independent crank arms, forward and reversing movement and adjustable ranges of resistance. The seat of the KRANKcycle can be removed to exercise while standing or to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.
In a recent study, the American Council on Fitness (ACE) found KRANKING burns an average of nine calories a minute (269 calories in a half-hour class). In addition to building upper arm strength, KRANKING builds cardiovascular fitness, core strength and stability. Spencer Tatum, a Personal Trainer with DC Ranch Village Health Club in Scottsdale, AZ, says most people don’t think of using the upper arms to build cardiovascular fitness and core strength. The KRANKcycle provides a great way to cross train and is especially ideal for people who are unable to use a stationary bike.
For general information on physical activity:
American Council on Exercise, http://www.acefitness.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity
Boyer, Blake, et al., “KRANK It,” ACE Fitness Matters, March/April 2010, pp. 6-9.
Tew, G., et al., “Limb-Specific and Cross-Transfer Effects of Arm-Crank Exercise Training in Patients with Symptomatic Peripheral Arterial Disease,” Clinical Science, September 21, 2009, Vol. 117, No. 12, pp. 405-413.
Valent, L., et al., “Effects of Hand Cycle Training on Physical Capacity in Individuals with Tetraplegia,” Physical Therapy, October 2009, Vol. 89, No. 10, pp. 1051-1060.
Valent, L., et al., “Influence of Hand Cycling on Physical Capacity in the Rehabilitation of Persons with a Spinal Cord Injury,” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, June 2008, Vol. 89, No. 6, pp. 1016-1022.