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Cycling to Recovery: ICU Patients and Specialized Exercise

By February 28, 2017News, Uncategorized

Indoor cycling, a workout routine popularized by companies like Cyc Fitness, is a fitness activity full of energy and fun. High intensity and high-level results are what has caused this sport to grow rapidly in popularity…and why people are lining up for classes everywhere. Overall, the workout benefits your body in several surprising ways, including:

Therefore, cycling is far more than a unique way to burn calories and push your cardio-endurance. These health benefits carry over and have grand application in the realm of intense recovery. According to a study conducted by McMaster University, patients of intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide can apply this workout routine to their recovery.

ICU PATIENTS AND CYCLING

The study looked at 33 patients in the ICU at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. All of the patients were at least 18 years old, utilizing ventilators, and able to walk before their ICU admission. The cycling treatment in the ICU was, according to head researcher Michelle Kho, “30 minutes of supine pedaling using a motorized stationary bicycle affixed to the bed, six days a week.”

This method can be used for both conscious and unconscious patients — conscious patients engage their full leg muscle capacity, while unconscious or sedated patients can pedal “passively.” In other words, the motorized pedals mechanically move the ICU patient’s feet. This way, their joints/limbs stay up and moving even in their most sedentary state.

Kho explained that, “People may think that ICU patients are too sick for physical activity, but we know that if patients start in-bed cycling two weeks into their ICU stay, they will walk farther at hospital discharge.” Kho’s findings support this notion and her study concluded that the cycling patients exhibited greater happiness, mobility, and strength than previous patients.

ICU PATIENTS

Kho’s discoveries may help pave a path for quicker, more efficient recovery in the future.

“We really need to be starting to think proactively about how we get these people to survive and thrive after their stay in the ICU or hospital.”

Therefore, Kho believes that the future of ICU recovery can be found in this low-impact physical activity.

As for the present, it’s evident that exercise is linked to improved health, happiness, and wellness. Essentially, fitness has the power to change lives, improve lives, and save lives. So let’s get fit and stay fit, so we can stay active for the long haul.

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Author Casey Douglas

Casey Douglas is a junior year at Boston University, where she studies public relations and anthropology. In her free time, she enjoys lifting weights, getting lost on runs in the city, and eating grapes. Casey hopes to one day work in the communications industry and represent a company in the field of health and fitness.

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