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Your UCP: National August 25, 2003
Sports & Leisure

Exercise & Fitness

Exercise Cycles and Ergometers

An ergometer is a device used to measure the amount of work or exercise a person does. It is also the general term used to describe a variety of hand, foot, or combination exercise devices that allow people to exercise their upper and lower extremities while in a stationary position. The common stationary exercise bike is one kind of ergometer. Most exercise ergometers use some form of hand or foot pedal for the basic motion. Many models allow for wheelchair access. Ergometers are very popular devices for performing exercise that has cardiovascular benefit.

Benefits of Exercise Using an Ergometer

  • Increases and maintains heart and lung efficiency.
  • Increases and maintains strength, flexibility, mobility and coordination.
  • Improves and maintains bone structure and strength.
  • Reduces risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Increases energy, endurance, and stamina.

Types of Ergometers Useful for People with Disabilities

There are several types of ergometers available for exercise and fitness.

Top: Composite photo of the Saratoga cycle and closeup views of the regular and two modified grips. Bottom: Man who uses a wheelchair working with the motomed VivaUpper Extremity Ergometers – The Saratoga Cycle can be used on a table or on the floor for foot use. Hand grips are available for full, partial, or nonexistent hand grasp.

Lower Extremity Ergometers – The MotoMed Viva allows individuals to work their lower extremities. It is a motorized movement trainer that allows passive, active and active-assist exercise.

Dual Extremity Ergometers – The SCIFIT Power Trainer provides an upper and lower extremity workout. While the upper extremities are at work, the lower extremities are stabilized by support boots and are moving passively at the same ratio.

Photo of a young man in a wheelchair working both upper and lower extremities on a Power Trainer.

The SCIFIT Pro II allows users to get a cardiovascular workout from a seated position or a wheelchair. The Pro II is also a 3-in-1 ergometer, allowing for exercise of the upper, lower, or both extremities.

Photo of two SCIFIT pro machines, one being used by a person in a wheelchair for upper body

The number of different types of ergometers, and the list of manufacturers and suppliers are too numerous to include with this document. Prices range from $50 to $3,500 depending on the model and features. Individuals interested in purchasing an ergometer should thoroughly investigate the various options.

This Clinical Restorator ergometer distributed by Flaghouse may be used for lower extremities with a regular chair, wheelchair, or against a wall for upper extremity use.

Left to right: Clinical restorator ergometer, photo of a man using the clinical restorator with his upper body and photo of a woman in a wheelchair using the clinical restorator with her lower body.

The Pedlar (below left) and Thera Fit (below right) models are similar in function. They can both be used with upper and lower extremities. The Thera-Fit model can be purchased with active and passive training options.

Photo of the Pedlar inexpensive ergometer, left, and the Thera Fit inexpensive ergometer with foot pedals attached, right

Sources for Exercise Ergometers
(Additional information on ergometers and additional vendors may be available in the NCPAD database. Try searching using keyword: ergometers)

Access to Recreation, Inc., (800) 634-4351

Endorphin, (800) 940-9844

Flaghouse (Pedlar & Clinical Restorator), (800) 793-7900

G.E. Miller, Inc. (800) 431-2924

Great Lakes Medical (MotoMed Viva), (888) 843-8480

Innovative Products Unlimited, (800) 424-3369

Invacare Corporation, (800) INVACARE

No Boundaries (Power Trainer & Thera Fit), (800) 926-8637

Saratoga Access & Fitness (Saratoga Cycle), (800) 474-4010

SCI-FIT & Sinties, Inc. (Pro II), (800) 852-6869

Therapeutic Alliances Inc.. (937) 879-0734

Theracycle (800) 367-6712

The information provided here is offered as a service only. The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, University of Illinois at Chicago, the National Center on Accessibility, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago do not formally recommend or endorse the equipment listed. As with any products or services, consumers should investigate and determine on their own which equipment best fits their needs and budget.

Source: NCPAD

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