Killin’ It!

5 May

Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to increase the duration at which I work at a high level of intensity on my FES bike. Gradually I have gone from working three minutes  at a time at the highest possible resistance  [ torque ] of 20.75 Nm to eight minutes at a time, with multiple repeats over the course of an hour or even longer. As a result, the amount of work I am doing is increasing. And with it, the number of calories that I’m burning in each workout session.Apparently, I am now burning as much as 700 cal per hour. But the main point is to try to do enough work to actually increase my level of fitness. One way to measure this is to calculate the number of MET-minutes* of work per week. The chart below documents my progress over the 1 1/2 years since I started using my FES bike. Since some sources suggest we need to be doing at least 500 to 1000 MET-minutes per week of exercise in order to get a health benefit, it seems that I wasn’t meeting the minimum during the entire first year. However, since then my progress has been steadily uphill, and in the last month I have really taken off. In the last week of April, I did about 2200 MET-minutes of work, more than double what I need to do to maintain a level of fitness,  and the highest since I started riding my FES bike. It will be interesting to see where I get to in the next weeks or months.   MET--minutes

*MET-Minutes and Health Benefits

A key finding of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report is that the health benefits of physical activity depend mainly on total weekly energy expenditure due to physical activity. In scientific terms, this range is 500 to 1,000 MET-minutes per week. A range is necessary because the amount of physical activity necessary to produce health benefits cannot yet be identified with a high degree of precision; this amount varies somewhat by the health benefit. For example, activity of 500 MET-minutes a week results in a substantial reduction in the risk of premature death, but activity of more than 500 MET-minutes a week is necessary to achieve a substantial reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

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