At one point in my life I used to say I was an athlete. I started lifting when I began playing football and for 15 or 16 glorious years I spent a lot of time lifting heavy things and doing cardio. At my peak I was able to bench press 175% of my body weight and had serious trouble finding dress shirts our suit coats that fit. Eventually my asthma started becoming a real issue again, I had a bad case of pneumonia, and an even worse moldy apartment experience followed by a toxic work environment. Things never really got better for me and over the past eight years I’ve slowly been able to less and less physically. It’s really, really frustrating.
Last year my special lady friend bought me a bike for my birthday. It sits in my office and I watch TV episodes or movies while riding it. This tiny bit of exercise that would have seemed miniscule to my 25 year old self is probably one of several things keeping me out of the hospital these days. I can ride it whenever I want and as much as I want. It’s the perfect solution to my outdoor allergies and asthma flare-ups.
The bike isn’t fancy – there’s a seat, peddles and a heavy fly wheel. I never know how fast or far I’ve ridden, but I really don’t care. All I’m wanting to do is ride for X minutes. The heavy fly wheel ensures some momentum and the toe clips allow you to power the bike constantly. The seat may be adjusted both horizontally and vertically, and the handlebar height may be adjusted. It is important to properly adjust your bike for comfort and proper riding technique. At first the saddle, proper term for the seat, seemed quite uncomfortable and I was considering purchasing a more cushioned replacement. All I needed to do was break it in and occasionally use some chamois cream to prevent chafing.
This bike is better than anything I’ve ever ridden in a gym. I have averaged 30min or more, three times a week, for the past nine months and there are no signs of wear and tear. Spending more than $100 on an exercise bike might seem silly, but I can guarantee something cheap wouldn’t last long.
Exercise is important for everyone, but essential for those of us suffering from lung disease. I love Billy the Kid‘s dialog in Young Guns (1988) where he’s talking about have to challenge himself every day. You never really stay the same, you’re either getting better or worse. This can be directly applied to your lung function. Whether you walk, ride a bike, swim or find some other form of staying active – just do something. Your lung doctor and your health will thank you for it.