Written by Sierra Rein
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Most people think of a regular stationary bike when they hear the term "Exercycle." The name actually comes from a 1932 invention by a New York City mechanical engineer. His wife suffered from a neuromuscular disorder that caused a number of ailments, including difficulties moving her joints and muscles. He decided to design a motor-driven stationary bicycle to help her sustain constant motion of her entire body. This invention, later called the Exercycle, proved to be a great benefit to hundreds of thousands of people who wanted to exercise despite their lack of muscular strength or stamina.

The original Exercycle employs a number of combined movements to mimic a number of sports and workout programs. These include rowing, chin-ups, swimming, cycling and calisthenics. The first Exercycle resembled the shape and function of a stationary bike, yet was not built with a handle. Today, Exercycles are often designed with an optional handlebar attachment.

The Form and Use of Modern Exercycles

Because the Exercycle is the only type of machine to literally force a person into shape, it is a great motivator for individuals who feel too tired to work out every day. Like a treadmill, this machine sets a pace for passively inactive people so that blood is pumped through the body and into the muscles. This machine is particularly effective for people who are injured or are too weak to walk. It is also great as a rehabilitation machine and can be utilized in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, and homes for the elderly.

Exercycles can be placed either on the floor (for leg pedaling) or on a tabletop (for arm exercise movements). A remote control easily adjusts the pedaling speed, while a built in ergometer can display the distance, time, and calories burned. Once the user becomes strong enough, the motor can be shut down to allow the machine to be driven mechanically. Most Exercycles come with pre-set workout profiles to simulate hill cycling, swimming, and high/low impact workout programs.

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