This is just a quick post to update my own experience with the bike and the AirDesk. As usual, I’m typing this post on the laptop while pedaling at about 520 calories per hour.
Over the past four weeks I have burned just over 28,000 calories performing low to medium intensity aerobics. Some of it has been raking leaves and walking in the woods; however, the vast majority of the time (2.5 to 5 hours per day) has been on the bike when I would have otherwise been sitting in a chair. In that time I have lost about five pounds of goo.
I hadn’t really intended the bike/laptop time to be aerobic; I was just looking for low intensity calorie burning with “stolen” time. As it turns out, though, except at the beginning of a session when I might be warming up, I’ve been pedaling with my heart rate between 98 and 100 per minute. If you apply the rule of thumb of 220 minus my age of 57 = an estimated max heart rate of 163, then I spend an average of at least two to four hours per day at about 60% of my estimated maximum. That is in the low-end of the generally recommended aerobic range.
One of my daughters is an AROTC Nursing Student at Marquette University. She has a very nice blood pressure cuff and stethoscope that she won for being particularly good at something that I can’t remember. She knows how to take blood pressure. Yesterday, she took mine and it was 108/58. Since this was the lowest at which I had ever been tested as an adult, I had her do it again: same results. The last time she took my BP was about two months prior, before the large increase in time on the bike. It had been running a very good-for-my age, but more expected 118/68.
I’ll update this blood pressure thing in subsequent posts, but it seems that all of this barely aerobic recumbent bike riding may be having a positive effect. For now, though, I am obviously a long way from those 140/90 readings that the FAA Medical Examiner revealed 29 years ago. Note: those high readings went on for a while. This was not just “white coat hypertension.” The whole experience spooked me enough to monitor my BP at home. It took about a year before it was regularly more like 130/80. It has averaged 120/70 for the last few years.
For a number of reasons, starting last summer I decided to lose a bit of the excess weight that I was carrying. When it comes to maximum strength, bigger is better. However, that does not hold for maximum strength per pound. For example, my wife and I recently bought nice Trek road bikes. At somewhat less than 5′ 10″, I did not really need to be pushing 205 pounds around. (It was great for going downhill; but going uphill? Not so much.)
When you lose weight you have to be very careful to do it in a way where you don’t sacrifice muscle. Crash diets and starving yourself is definitely not a prescription for long-term success. I just cranked out 19 repetitions with the 110 pound dumbbells with the incline bench set at about 35 degrees. I currently weigh 190. This is within five or ten percent of my best at a much heavier bodyweight. It appears that the large volume of low-intensity cardio work is not negatively impacting my strength.