Review of the cyclete

I have owned various stand up outdoor machines. These have varied from those that resemble stepping machines ( streetstepper, me mover and a stride core) to those that attempt to mimic a running motion ( bionic runner, elliptigo and cyclete). The latest machine I have been using is the cyclete, which I have been using for the last month. I therefore thought it might be beneficial to some people to do a comparison of the 3 outdoor machines that resemble a running motion. I will compare the overall build, the gearing, stride and intensity of each machine.

BUILD. Starting with the overall quality of the frame and components I believe the cyclete stands alone in its quality. The frame just oozes quality it is so sturdy you feel safe on any form of terrain and surface including off the road. The thought that has gone into designing the machine is obvious with lips on the inner and front of the pedal to ensure your foot stays in the correct position throughout the pedal action. Additionally the wheels are 28 inches compared to the 20 inch wheels on the bionic runner and elliptigo. This means steering the cyclete is safer and the tyres absorb the impact better. I suffered a number of falls on both the runner and elliptigo when riding on wet surfaces where the large distance between the handlebars the wheels meant steering was not as “sensitive”. The last of these falls resulted in a fractured cheekbone and eye socket!

The problems I found with both the bionic runner and elliotigo related to their folding mechanisms. Over time I found both had a give where the handlebars folded down that meant they did not feel as secure when handling and turning.

Finally the rear fork end on the elliptigo was vertical as opposed to horizontal. Over time the chain would become loose and would regularly slip off when cycling.

GEARING. Both the elliptigo and bionic runner had internal gear hubs which worked perfectly well. I also found the range more than adequate to climb steep hills and gain some speed on the flat. The cyclete has the SRAM gears the range of which is enormous. Climbing any hill is no problem and you can maintain tension on the chain when cycling downhill. Changing gears on all machines was smooth irrespective if you were applying pressure to the pedals at the time.

STRIDE: The elliptigo stride resembles an elliptical motion which feels like an up and down pattern as opposed to actual running. The bionic runner utilises a 40/60 ratio between the power stroke and recovery stroke. The motion also resembled running in terms of a kick back of the “swinging” leg. The cyclete employs a tear drop motion which is extremely smooth and also means you experience a kick back of the swinging leg. Additionally you do not extend the foot excessively in front of the body when applying downward force on the pedal. This is relevant in terms of the transition to running where overstriding might be problematic.

INTENSITY. The fact you were only applying force through the pedal for 40% of the cycle meant the bionic runner could provide a very intense interval workout, probably more so than the elliptigo or cyclete. However for longer rides the cyclete would be my preferred choice purely because it is so comfortable to cycle on and you feel so safe on it.

CONCLUSIONS. The frame build and attention to detail of the cyclete means it stands alone in terms of quality. The gears on all 3 machines are fine in terms of the range they provide and ease of how they change. The stride of the cyclete is very smooth and close to a running stride, same as the bionic runner. The elliptigo probably isn’t as smooth and in my opinion feels more like an up and down motion. If doing interval intense training I would go for a bionic runner, however for endurance rides the cyclete would be my choice from a comfort and safety perspective.

Finally the service you get from the owner of cyclete is quite remarkable. He assembles the machine himself and is always available to offer advice regarding the optimal set up for your needs. This is irrespective of the time difference between USA and GB. He is keen to receive feedback and be made aware of any problems you might experience so they can be sorted. This level of service is very rare when the bikes become mass produced as with the elliptigo and bionic runner.

NB the bionic runner company no longer trade and therefore you will need to purchase a used one from the net.

My cyclete was fitted with a 42T chain ring which is larger than standard and I had schwarble almotion tyres fitted.

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Me mover review

I have recently purchased a me mover which is a stand up step machine.

Having owned numerous other stand up machines including a street stepper, bionic runner, elliptigo and stride core I will be comparing it to these machines in terms of construction, ease of assembly and intensity of workout.

First of all construction: There is nothing to fault here, the machine is solid. The main criteria for me are the handlebars and wheels. The handlebars do not move despite the higher forces they are put through when using the mover.

The wheels are also extremely robust I have been down numerous kerbs and wheels have not been any problem. When comparing to the other machines it appears to be as good.

Ease of assembly: This was a definite bonus for me. The machine was so easy to assemble only the wheels and handlebar stem needed to be fitted. This took me 10 minutes and I am no handyman. The assembly was much easier than all the other outdoor machines I have had to assemble.

Intensity of workout: The beauty of this machine is that it is very easy to learn the technique and once mastered it can provide what ever type of workout you want. I have been out for 60km rides at a lower intensity and done hill intervals taking my heart rate up to over 90%. The range of workouts is much more varied than I could get from an elliptigo ( where I could not get my heart rate up for intense intervals) and the stridecore and streetstepper. It compares well with the bionic runner which I found you could get a high intensity workout.

So conclusions are this machine is well built, easy to assemble and provides a great range of workouts from gentle commutes to work to high intensity intervals. The added bonus is that it comes in at a price that is the lower end of other stand up machines.

For information on the me mover their website is

8AB4CD7C-095A-406C-A3AD-F309C8B2BD8Bhttp://www.me-mover.com

For other reviews and health related topics see our website http://www.functionalphysio.net or follow me on Twitter @adamlovegrove.

Diabetes

Diabetes

The aim of this article is to briefly define the 2 types of diabetes, their potential ask factors and how you can help manage the disease through diet and exercise.

The 2 main types of diabetes are simply classed as type 1 & type 11.

Type 1 is due to destruction of cells in the islets of Langerhans which results in absolute insulin deficiency. People with this version usually have to inject themselves with insulin.

Type 11 diabetics have an insulin deficiency, either caused by diminished insulin secretion due to a detect in the islets of Langerhans, or insulin resistance in the peripheral body resulting in decreased glucose uptake or increased glucose output by the liver.

The risk factors For developing type 11 diabetes are

Asian or Afrocaribean ethnicity

Overweight

Family history of diabetes

History of large baby (birth weight over 4 kg).

As you can see from these risk factors, being overweight is the only one you can modify, and this can be achieved through diet & exercise. Studies have shown development of diabetes can be halved if weight loss, exercise and other healthy lifestyle changes are maintained for a period of 4 years.

The remainder of this article will focus on type 11 diabetes because this can be modified with exercise and diet.

The complications associated with both types of diabetes are loss of vision, resulting in blindness. Damage to blood vessels resulting in increased risk of heart disease, stroke or limb amputation. Damage to nerves and the kidneys.

Exercise is important for maintaining weight and therefore can reduce the risk of developing diabetes and additionally minimise the development of associated complications. Exercise stimulates glucose uptake into the muscles without relying on insulin. In addition the effects of insulin and exercise are synergistic which means in combination they stimulate glucose uptake more than each one does independtly.

Both aerobic exercise and resistance training are beneficial for diabetes. This is because muscle Contraction is activated by Calcium which also activates the enzymes CaMK and AmPk whose role is to regulate glucose uptake into the muscle.

Weight loss also reduces the risk of developing diabetes.

It is hypothesised that one reason for insulin resistance is that fatty acids and fat related metabolites compete with glucose for uptake and oxidation. Therefore if muscle and liver fat concentnations are high then glucose oxidation is low.

Another theory is some free fatty acids are broken down into diacylglycerol, fatty acyl-CoA and ceramides. These products inhibit insulin and therefore reduce insulin stimulated glucose uptake.

A further theory in the development of diabetes is fat tissue communicates with other tissues in the body by releasing hormones called adipokines. Some of these can affect insulin sensitivity.

As you can see from the above theories fat tissue plays an pivotal role in the aetiology of diabetes and therefore  if you can loose fat through weight loss you can reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

To summerise type II diabetes is a disease associated with increased risk of blindness, heart disease, Stroke, nerve damage and limb amputation.

The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically in recent years and it is believed this is mainly due to increasing obseity levels. This riskfactor is modifiable and can be reduced through exercise and weight loss.

Don’t for you can follow us on twitter @adamlovegrove and keep up to date by visiting our website http://www.fisnctionalphysio.net.

Varitrike Review

I have a passion for outdoor exercise machines that are slightly different. In the past I have owned a Rowbike, stridecore and currently use a bionic runner and street stepper.

Three years ago i purchased a Varibkie which is a standard bike with cranks enabling the arms to be used for a full body workout. This machine required a bit of learning technique but once mastered provided a great workout. Recently I viewed the Varibkie website and noticed they had introduced a trike version with both pedals for the arms and legs, thus it provided the same workout as the Varibkie but with the bonus of additional stability when using both the arms and legs to pedal.

Martin the owner of Varibkie offered me a part exchange deal to upgrade my Varibkie to the varitrike and so I went ahead and purchased one.

I have been using the machine for 6 weeks now and so feel I have enough experience to write a review. The trike has an adjustable back rest so you can alter the angle. I find it exceptionally comfortable when using it even for 3-4 hours at a time. Martin also ensures the pedal to seat length is correct for your individual leg length. I ordered the version with Shimano Alfine gears so changing gears is smooth and consistent.

The machine itself takes no getting used to and you have all the options available on the Varibkie ie legs only, arms only, one arm at a time. It is an engineering masterpiece with steering no problems.

I regularly use the bike in London but have attached a flag pole to increase my visibility, with this I am confident on the trike even in rush hour traffic.

The bike provides a great workout and there are no “off limits” in terms of hills. In the lowest gear I have mastered the steepest hill in my area ( approx 18 degrees at some points).

Although the wheels are only 20 inches there is no real loss of speed when compared to the bike version I regularly average 26-28kmh which I don’t think is too bad when you consider the traffic.

To conclude I am so glad I exchanged the Varibkie for the trike version. It is comfortable, easy to master, enables you to climb hills utilising both arms and legs and provides a great workout. If you have the budget for it I would highly recommend it.

Adam

Benefits of Walking 

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Most people will be aware that walking is good for your health, but most of the emphasis appears to focus on how it improves your aerobic fitness. The aim of this article is to highlight some of the other benefits associated with regular walking.
1) Upper body mobility. When you walk you swing your arms. This is great for maintaining your shoulder mobility and is especially beneficial if you are rehabilitating from a shoulder injury.
2) Trunk Stability. When you walk you are moving your arms and legs simultaneously and this stimulates your trunk muscles to work to maintain your stability.
3) Balance. Each step you take requires you to stand for a brief period on one leg. This can assist your balance especially if you are walking on uneven unpredictable surfaces.
4) joints. This applies mainly to the hips, knees and ankles. Walking is a great way of lubricating and maintaining joint health because it is low impact mobiliser for these joints. In addition it also maintains the strength in these joints.
So you can see a daily walk of 30 minutes is well worth the time because it does a lot more than improve your aerobic fitness.

Benefits of walking

Most people will be aware that walking is good for your health, but most of the emphasis appears to focus on how it improves your aerobic fitness. The aim of this article is to highlight some of the other benefits associated with regular walking.

1) Upper body mobility. When you walk you swing your arms. This is great for maintaining your shoulder mobility and is especially beneficial if you are rehabilitating from a shoulder injury.

2) Trunk Stability. When you walk you are moving your arms and legs simultaneously and this stimulates your trunk muscles to work to maintain your stability.

3) Balance. Each step you take requires you to stand for a brief period on one leg. This can assist your balance especially if you are walking on uneven unpredictable surfaces.

4) joints. This applies mainly to the hips, knees and ankles. Walking is a great way of lubricating and maintaining joint health because it is low impact mobiliser for these joints. In addition it also maintains the strength in these joints.

So you can see a daily walk of 30 minutes is well worth the time because it does a lot more than improve your aerobic fitness.

Activities for skiing 

Activities for skiing
With many people off on skiing holidays shortly we thought it would be beneficial to give you some ideas of activities you can do in your daily lives to assist you in getting the most out of your holiday.
Skiing requires aerobic fitness and lower limb and trunk strength. Whilst there are specific exercises you can do at the gym there are also things you can incorporate into your daily activities that will be beneficial. Below are some ideas
Climb stairs: This can develop aerobic fitness and strength. When going up stairs at home try ascending 2 steps at a time. Do this fairly quickly to give a quick aerobic burst of training or go at a slower pace counting 3 seconds for each step to develop your strength. You can also come up onto toes on each step to strengthen your calf muscles.
When standing from a chair try doing it on one leg only ( use a hand on the chair to assist if required) then sit down and stand up on the other leg.
Go for a walk with a loaded backpack to increase the intensity and improve your leg strength.

Initially start with 1-2 kg and progress this. Find some hills to ascend and descend to make it even more effective.
When cleaning your teeth hold the sink with one hand and do some small single leg squats or try squatting to 45 degrees and holding it whilst you clean your teeth. Alternatively to assist your aerobic fitness run on the spot. I have tried this and the difficulty you have in breathing whilst cleaning makes it quite effective.
Take your shopping out of the trolley and carry it to the car as fast as you can. 
If you add up ever time you go upstairs, get up from a chair, clean your teeth, go for a walk and go shopping it can add up to a considerable amount of additional activity you would be doing if you incorporated these ideas. 
Don’t forget to visit our webpage http://www.functionalphysio@aol.com and follow twitter @adamlovegrove.
Adam and Jacqui