Article published online in ‘Tonic Magazine’
When I was a competitive marathon runner in my thirties, my muscles and joints easily adapted to the rigorous training regimen that then defined my life, but fast-forward thirty years and thousands of miles later and I can see that my body is now noticing the stresses of my outrageous pounding of the pavement for all those years. Keener than ever to stay strong, mobile, and pain free, I have so far kept fit by modifying my activities through cross training, including weights, core work, hiking, snowshoeing, and short distance running.
You can imagine my delight when I discovered that former Ironman triathlete Bryan Pate had invented the world’s first outdoor bike that is part elliptical trainer and part bicycle, and that emulates a runner’s stride without the stresses of a high-impact workout. The ElliptiGO bike has no seat and instead you stand on foot platforms to pedal. You get a high intensity cardiovascular workout and the weight bearing, no-impact benefits of an elliptical trainer without the pitfalls of regular cycling (saddle back, achy butt, and neck soreness).
From a biomechanical viewpoint, the ElliptiGO bike helps to strengthen the key stabilizing muscles in the core and glutes and is a healthy complement to any runner’s training program. Best of all, you are outside observing the world in an upright posture.
After one ride, I was sold on the benefits of this freedom machine. I’ll admit to feeling a bit cautious before my first ride, especially since I do not cycle regularly, and I particularly wanted to know where the handbrakes were. I took a deep breath, pushed off, and after a few turns of the pedals I felt much more stable and got into the rhythm.
The experience was exhilarating and fun. While I did not attempt to climb any hills, the ElliptiGO’s eight gears would have allowed me to navigate the steepest incline by using a trigger shifter located on the handlebars.
The cruising speed is about 24 km/h, but a strong rider can reach upwards of 32 to 40 km/h. Other features of the bike include the adjustable handlebars and a foldable steering column to facilitate easy storage and transportation. But, like any good bike, this one does not come cheap at $2499. Check out their website (www.elliptigo.ca) for more information.
Dr. Elaine Dembe is a chiropractor based out of Toronto and the author of the best-selling books Passionate Longevity – The 10 Secrets to Growing Younger and Use The Good Dishes – Finding Joy In Everyday Life. Find out more at http://www.elainedembe.com
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