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Benefits of FES-Cycling
Feb 24

Benefits of FES-Cycling

Posted by Myolyn

Everybody needs to exercise to stay healthy. Most people know this. However, more than 60% of adults in the United States don’t get enough exercise, and about 25% aren’t active at all [1]. This lack of physical activity contributes significantly to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even anxiety and depression [2].

How much exercise is enough exercise? In their 2007 report [3], the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) had this to say on the subject:

"To promote and maintain health, all healthy adults aged 18 to 65 yr need moderate-intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 min on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 min on three days each week…In addition, every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance a minimum of two days each week…persons who wish to further improve their personal fitness, reduce their risk for chronic diseases and disabilities or prevent unhealthy weight gain may benefit by exceeding the minimum recommended amounts of physical activity."

While able-bodied people have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to meeting the ACSM/AHA recommendations, people with paralysis have a much harder time exercising, especially the parts of the body affected by the paralysis. Lots of able-bodied people get their exercise from cycling, because it’s a simple, safe, and fun way to work the muscles and get the heart rate up. Unfortunately, millions of people with disorders like spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and others can’t even pedal a stationary exercise bike because of paralysis.

Stationary (or mobile) bikes that use functional electrical stimulation (FES) enable just about anyone with paralysis to cycle again, because FES bikes activate the rider’s paralyzed muscles for them. Research has shown that FES-cycling gives people with paralysis all the same benefits of regular, able-bodied cycling, like improved cardiovascular health, more muscle mass and strength, better bone density, and even improved self-image and social abilities [4]. FES-cycling also has some unique benefits for people with paralysis like less muscle spasms and much fewer pressure sores.

FES-cycling is one of the only ways for people with paralysis to exercise their paralyzed arms and legs, but, as with regular exercise, its effectiveness depends on frequency, intensity, and duration. The MyoCycle is designed to be the easiest-to-use and most affordable FES bike ever made, making it easy for anyone to do FES-cycling regularly, and MYOLYN’s patent-pending algorithms automatically customize and adapt the stimulation to each individual rider, ensuring that every ride is a great workout.

Contact MYOLYN today to learn more, or join the waiting list to be one of the first people to ride the MyoCycle and reap the benefits of FES-cycling.


[1] http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/adults.htm. Accessed February 22, 2016.

[2] Booth FW, Roberts CK, Laye MJ. Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases. Compr Physiol. 2012 Apr; 2(2): 1143-1211.

[3] Haskell WL, Lee I-M, Pate RP, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, Macera CA, Heath GW, Thompson PD, Bauman A. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2007; 116: 1081-1093.

[4] Peng C-W, Chen S-C, Lai C-H, Chen C-J, Chen C-C, Mizrahi J, Handa Y. Review: clinical benefits of functional electrical stimulation cycling exercise for subjects with central neurological impairments. J. Med. Biol. Eng. 2011; 31(1): 1-11.

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