The mountain bike became part of the furniture after a V8 rear ended my little, and not-yet-paid-off, Datsun. All I had left from the insurance payout, after the bank took its bit, was enough to buy a push bike. By this time, I no longer had a permanent job and the banks were not giving personal loans to temps who had no collateral.
I diligently rode to work for a while but eventually got tired of always pushing it up hills. I’d bought a mountain because I’d heard the oval cog would help with hills and inclines. It didn’t.
In my mid 40s, while studying at uni, the part-time temp jobs would periodically dry up. During these down times, I relied on student living allowances from the government. Unfortunately, the allowance was only enough to either bus to me to uni every day OR eat that week. Distance meant that riding the bike, rather than taking the bus, was not an option. So I split the difference. I rode to uni and caught the bus home. Then, took the bus in the next day and rode home. The bike was locked up in a stairwell in one of the uni buildings and no-one complained. I got to eat half the time.
But the hills still didn’t get any easier. And, truly, I’m not talking about steep hills either. I’ve read that there are about 20% of people who just cannot increase their aerobic fitness. It’s a genetic thing.
The bike is jacked up on an indoor trainer because high-intensity interval training (aka HIIT) is the go. I’ve found two articles that claim a positive impact on blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. One study seemed to be simply asking, “Does this work?”. It involved 10 x 60 second intense bursts of cycling interspersed with 60 seconds rest. The other researchers seemed to be trying to find the minimum required and suggested 3 x 20 second bursts interspersed with a couple of minutes of gentle cycling.
At this point, I’m somewhere in the middle; 3 x 60 second intense bursts interspersed with a few minutes wandering around the house doing stuff. The aim now is to do more than 3 per session. The bike is right near the kitchen. It seems entirely practical and achievable to work in the kitchen AND burst a HIIT on the bicycle every couple of days.
If I get to 10, I wonder if that means I’m not really one of the 20% and instead just incline lazy?
BBC Health, 2012, “Can three minutes of exercise a week help make you fit?” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17177251
Little et al, 2011, “Low-volume high-intensity interval training reduces hyperglycemia and increases muscle mitochondrial capacity in patients with type 2 diabetes”, Journal of Applied Physiology, vol 111, no 6, pp1554-1560. http://jap.physiology.org/content/111/6/1554.full
How does this fit in with my Sweat Cards?
The bicycle trainer belongs in the Diamond suit of cards. This suit represents the circuit-type exercises that one finds in a gym. The choice of Diamond to represent this activity has nothing to do with the financial or social value we place on diamonds. Instead, it has a nice simple shape that evokes a circuit. I can’t tell if circuit work is designed for health benefits or if it just helps manage the flow of people through the gym by limiting how much time is spent in any one spot.