There are so many health benefits of using an exercise bike, which is why we found this recent article so inspiring about how ex-boxing champ Gary Balletto and the Cranston YMCA are rolling out an exercise bike for people with disabilities. The article highlights that Balletto goes to the YMCA six days a week for an intense, hour-long bike workout. But the former boxing champion was partly paralyzed in an accident in his Cranston backyard in 2013, and has no movement in his legs or core. At the Cranston YMCA, Balletto uses a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike, which is a well-established rehabilitation technique that uses pulses of electrical current to stimulate peripheral nerves evoking muscle contractions and patterned muscle activity. As Ashley Coulter, the health and wellness director for the YMCA of Greater Providence’s Cranston branch points out in the article, “the FES bike provides a cardio workout, increases muscle tone and keeps the blood circulating from the upper to the lower body. Electrode pads, similar to those used in an EKG, are attached to major muscles in the legs, including the quads and the hamstrings. The pads are then connected to a stimulator, which delivers small electrical pulses to the paralyzed muscles. It kind of shocks the muscle.” Thank you Mr. Balletto and the Cranston YMCA for going above and beyond to make an exercise bike for people with disabilities accessible at the Cranston Y. It would be awesome to see more YMCAs and gyms follow in your footsteps! We’ve seen other exercise bikes help those with special needs, which we captured in a recent post titled “Portable Exercise Bike for Children with Special Needs” and there’s a tremendous opportunity to help. We are inspired and look forward to doing our own part!
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