Modified bicycle provides new exercise option

August 31, 2010 7:45:52 PM PDT
There is a new exercise option for people who cannot put a lot of stress on their joints. It is being used in the Bay Area by everyone from surgery patients to people struggling to lose large amounts of weight.

Lynn Foy-Couche remembers her high-flying days as a flight instructor for NASA. But she says her weight has now doubled from the 150 pounds she used to slip into that flight suit.

"I need to get back to that, and need to drop 100, and need to drop another me," she said.

To drop the weight, Foy-Couche has turned to a unique kind of excercycle. Since a series of knee surgeries have left her unable to run, she glides instead.

The device blends a bicycle with a harness-like saddle that takes weight off the rider's knees. Instead of peddling, users strut along in a running motion.

"It feels like you're gliding in water, like an upside down swim stroke, but you get more resistance than water," Foy-Couche said.

In about five minutes Foy-Couche has worked up the kind of sweat she says she could never get from walking.

"You're heart rate goes up almost immediately," she said.

An indoor version of the same technology is also being used to treat amputees and surgery patients.

At the Omega Sports Rehabilitation Center in Los Gatos, therapists are putting one patient through the paces just three weeks after a major knee surgery.

Dr. Gordon Levin performed the surgery and believes the glide technology is helping to speed recovery times without endangering the surgically repaired joints.

"He'll get a lot of exercise that he wouldn't get, and doesn't put the stress on the anti-cruciate ligament," Levin said.

Back at her workout course in Castro Valley, Foy-Couche is setting a goal for herself as she glides across the pavement.

"I'd like to see 50 pounds come off right away, because then I'm going to be able to exercise more effectively," she said.

The Glide cycles are made by a company in Oregon. They run from about $1,500-$3,000.

Written and produced by Tim Didion


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