Tag Archives: FES

Exercise program at the CPA gym

18 May

here’s a video from last year regarding the exercise program at the CPA Jim here in Calgary. I appear in the video along with several other people. The program is still ongoing, and I go there twice a week. Beats sitting around watching TV!



YouTube video on FES bikes

18 May

I recently worked with the Canadian paraplegic Association on a video that explains the principles behind FES bikes, in preparation for their upcoming program involving this technology. Any questions?


My warm-up

5 May

These days, each time I start riding my FES bike, I begin with a warm-up. I have found that slow RPM and low resistance is what my muscles need in order to begin responding effectively to electrical stimulation. Accordingly, I slowly increase both  RPM and electrical resistance over my 20 minute warm-up. Here are the details:


and here are the specific numerical values:


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.


Good bike ride

28 Apr



Thanks to my daughter and brother who set me up, I had a really good 2 hour ride yesterday on my FES bike. I have been getting slowly stronger over the past months, and the graph above shows my power output during my ride. Peak power was around 94W, while the highest and average power during a 3 minute interval was about 69W. Best of all, I burnt about 700 calories during my ride.

Spinal shocks revive paralysed legs

8 Apr

Spinal shocks revive paralysed legs says the BBC.

And here’s the CBC news story on the same topic.

CNN news has a short video on the same topic, as does Global TV News.

While these stories are all good news, of course, there is apparently nothing immediately new being reported at this time, according to a specialist website that deals with spinal cord injury research. Still, they post a good dozen or more links to mainstream media reports on this same story.

So, which media source do you think has the most informative and illuminating coverage?

My Exercise Log

14 Mar

I am logging all of my FES bike rides using the Strava application on my phone – well only the most recent ones so far (I am slowly getting around to the older ones). Here’s a summary of my progress:

For the latest week, click on the image below:

strava 1

my latest week’s activities (not just March)

For a summary of all my activities, see here.


Recovery of Function in Major Spinal Cord Injury Using Epidural Stimulation

6 Mar

More of this, please!

Kicking it

28 Sep


some of you may have seen previous video clips I have posted of me riding my FES bike. It’s hard to tell whether the machine is doing the work, or whether it is my legs that are pushing the pedals. In the attached video clip in this post, I demonstrate the power of functional electrical stimulation to move my legs. when I run a current of just over 40 milliamps through the electrode pads on my quadriceps, my leg raises and straightens fairly convincingly. When my legs are on the pedals during a work out, I am stimulating with 125 milliamps, so the kicking motion is much stronger and more powerful than what you see in the above video clip. Of course, while pedaling I also have electrodes on my hamstrings, so my legs are both pushing and pulling with each revolution. This is how I get good exercise!



Benefits of FES

18 Sep

Benefits of FES

A good article on functional electrical stimulation, and why people with limited mobility should be using it. I am very happy to have the opportunity to use this technology.