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Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?



 
 
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  #21  
Old November 7th 08, 04:38 AM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
Ducttape
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Default Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?


Hey guys, bumping the threasd because now I'm doing a persuasive essay
on "Unicycling being a better more fun way to stay in shape than other
sports mile to mile/hour to hour." I need some more opinmions though
from both sides so if other people want to contribute that'd be awesome.
Anyway this thread fits the needs of my paper really well(two differing
opinions presenting arguments) While I'm here I might as well contribute
my 2 cents I guess. I personally think that unicycling has kept me in
some of the best shape I've ever been in, it's improved my balance, core
strength, leg strength, focus, and endurance. Besides wrestling I don't
think I've ever gotten a better workout from any other sport or
activity.


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  #22  
Old November 7th 08, 06:35 AM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
critter
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Default Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?


Conrad.Nguyen;1102243 wrote:
Unicycling is decent exercise, but it depends on what you do (trials,
MUni, Distance, etc.). If you're looking for better fitness, your time
would be better spent running, biking, or lifting weights. If you want
to get better at unicyling, unicycle.




No way!!! If you could only do one, unicycles are way better than the 3
mentioned above.

But the best fitness is to cross train with lots of activities. But
like you say, there are a lot of different sports on a unicycle.


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critter

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  #23  
Old November 7th 08, 11:17 AM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
joemarshall
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Default Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?


Mile for mile, unicycling is harder work than biking at the same speed.

But I don't ride my bike at the same speed as the unicycle - I just
can't ride a unicycle at 20mph. On the bike, you have a lot of control
over how hard it is - because as you get faster, it becomes less
efficient, so you can make it really hard to do 10 miles, which is
harder than unicycling, or just pootle along at 15mph for 10 miles which
is easier than unicycling.

On a road bike, you can choose exactly how hard you're exercising at
any point. That's why most fast mountain bikers train for fitness on
road bikes.

So yeah, I think mile for mile, unicycling isn't as any harder than
road biking (and is probably less hard), assuming you ride hard on the
road bike, and for a given time, you can do more exercise on a road
bike.

The big advantage of unicycling, is that it is super fun. I like my
road bike, but, 9 times out of 10, if I'm out for a fun ride, I'll go
for a muni.

Joe


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  #24  
Old November 7th 08, 04:18 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
hobo_chuck
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Default Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?


Joe, we already knew commuting wasn't great exercise on a
uni.

I'm sure some of the avid road racers may disagree (mr. geared 36er
fan!).

Depending on what I'm doing I get anywhere from less aerobic exercise
than if I were walking to about the amount achieved from jumping rope,
from less resistance training than if I were sitting watching TV (not
including core balance corrections) to more than if I were pumping it at
the weight room.

Unicycling includes too many different sports for this question to get
a clear answer.


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  #25  
Old November 7th 08, 04:37 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
joemarshall
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Default Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?


hobo_chuck;1126935 wrote:
Depending on what I'm doing I get anywhere from less aerobic exercise
than if I were walking to about the amount achieved from jumping rope,
from less resistance training than if I were sitting watching TV (not
including core balance corrections) to more than if I were pumping it at
the weight room.




That's exactly the problem in terms of aerobic exercise, on a unicycle
you can't just go out and consistently go at a certain intensity for a
certain distance, unless you're just road unicycling on the flat - in
which case you're limited by spinning rather than fitness as to how fast
you can go, unlike on a road bike where you can just change up another
gear. You hit a hill, and you have to work harder, you hit a downhill,
and you have to stop pedalling. Whereas on a road bike, you can choose
how much energy you're putting in at any time.

It's worse on a muni, you can't consistently exercise at all, there's
so much difference between bits you spin out on, and bits you have to
hop over, and between uphills and downhills.

So in terms of aerobic exercise, if you train well on a road bike,
you'll get fitter faster than training well on a unicycle, particularly
doing anything other than riding a high geared road unicycle on the
flat.

Joe


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  #26  
Old November 7th 08, 06:41 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
chuckaeronut
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Default Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?


Haha, I remember a thread a year or two ago about what's gone down over
the last few posts. Kind of turned into a -unicycling is the best and
nothing can touch it!- vs. -use your head- argument. I also remember Joe
getting in there... but, anyway, I second Joe. He knows what he's
talking about.

On a road bike, the conditions are so controlled and the choices of
gearing are so many and so close that you can dial in -exactly- the
power (literal power, force*distance/time) you need to put out to
maintain your speed. If you're diligent enough, you can get a much more
intense workout on a road bike than anything else. If you have a higher
gear, and you're complaining that it's too easy, take the higher gear.
You have no excuse not to .

My argument last time was that, even with a coker, the equivalent gear
ratio (or Total Gear Ratio, as someone put it here a while ago) just
isn't high enough to necessitate sufficient FORCE from your legs to give
you a workout at sane cadences.

With the geared 36er, depending on your balance and strenth, that may
or may not be true. Just riding on flat ground in high gear, there still
isn't enough gain to give your legs the same workout they'd get on a
bike, but the slightest of grades or headwinds will get you there. If I
go out riding on my geared 36 into the wind or up SHALLOW grades
(steeper grades mean low gear, which is way too easy), I get a pretty
darned thorough workout, and I get all the opportunity I need to
actually feel like I'm cranking something... but if I'm going with the
wind, I still feel like I want a bigger gear. Now, because I'm lazy on
my bike, I usually pick gears that give me a workout that's comparable
to or slightly less intense than what I do on my geared coker... so the
net effect is that I get nearly all my training on my uni now. If I
seriously want to ride hard, I'll take the bike, but the uni is so much
more fun, and is so "close enough" to my bike (in terms of how hard I
work) that it's worth it to take the uni. Also, it makes me ride more
because of how much fun it is. So if I ride 90% as hard on average,
twice as much because it's fun, I end up in better shape! Win/win! That
still doesn't mean a geared 36 is as good a fitness tool as a bike,
though. Just means I should be riding harder than I actually am. :-/


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  #27  
Old November 7th 08, 06:51 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
critter
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Default Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?


All I ride are hills when I guni on the 29. I agree riding the flats
doesn't do it for me. But bikes are harder on my back.
I don't get sore backs on a uni. In fact my back has never been better
since I was 20 years old. I have degenerative back disease. But riding
uni for the last 4 years has made me younger.


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  #28  
Old November 7th 08, 07:05 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
chuckaeronut
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Default Help! Are there health benefits to unicycling?


And yeah, about stuff like muni - it's punishing, and your heart rate is
up, but it's not consistent and consistently difficult. You feel
thrashed afterwards, but not because you, say, dumped exactly 250 watts
into the road for the last hour at 100 RPM. So, doing MUni or
ungeared-coker riding on hard terrain, you'll definitely get a level of
fitness others don't have, but it won't necessarily be the ability to
push the pedals hard at a constant RPM and cadence for a long time
without ever taking a break. On pretty much anything less than a geared
coker (except, for some, maybe a geared 29), if you're just pedaling it
on anything but the steepest climbs, you're not really getting training
that will make you powerful (i.e. able to really stomp up hills in high
gear and keep up high cadences in heavy gears for long periods of time).
But don't get me wrong, you'll be REALLY fit, and you'll be able to
punish yourself like that longer and harder than someone who doesn't do
it... maybe even someone who spends all his time on a road bike. I'm a
total roadie, and muni sucks the wind out of me quite reliably: while
some of the people I can usually out-coker on the road are WAY stronger
than me on rocky trails, and can keep trucking along through drop after
drop, rock after rock. But it's rare that those hard spots last longer
than a minute or two before there's 20 or 30 feet of just spinning on
relatively smooth trail; on a road bike, you'll work 80% as hard for
50 times the contiguous time span, and that's where the coolness of the
measurability and gear choice lies.

So I'm not saying Muni's not hard; it's clearly really hard, and though
I'm not really great at it, it ALWAYS can take energy faster than I can
recoup it. It's really hard... but it's not consistently aerobic like
what you can do on a road bike unless you're going up a perfectly smooth
fire road with something like a 10% grade (assuming you're on a 24ish
inch wheel).


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  #29  
Old November 8th 08, 05:54 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
boisei
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I can compare mile-to-mile and hour-to-hour to running and biking.

My comparison is based on distance or commuting riding. I don't do
trials or muni or anything like that. In those cases, I don't think
mile per mile is the appropriate measure.

Mile per mile, running burns more than unicycling burns more than
bicycling.

Somebody above said that biking is better exercise mile per mile but
that's demonstrably false. Mile per mile you are working harder on a
unicycle. No coasting means that you are working as hard or harder to
move forward on a unicycle, and then you sink a positive amount of
energy into balance that you do not on a bicycle.

On the road, I typically burn about 130 calories per mile running,
75-100 calories per mile unicycling, and 50-70 calories per mile
bicycling.

Hour per hour, bicycling and running can be equal and unicycling cannot
keep up at the high end. Whatever your physical capacity is for running
or bicycling, you can sink that energy into either and be limited by
your V02 max or other physical factors rather than your choice of
exercise. Unicycling's upper limit, in distance or commuting, is not
physical but one of mental energy and balance.

For example, I can go out and run a marathon averaging a heart rate
around 170 beats per minute. I should be able to maintain something
similar on a bicycle, but I just can't get up to that high a heart rate
on a unicycle except when I'm climbing a big hill. Even if I had a big
hill that I could theoretically climb for three hours, it takes an
amount of mental energy, balance, and fast-twitch as opposed to
slow-twitch muscle action to climb hills on a unicycle that I just
couldn't do it. Hour for hour I can get a better workout on a bike or a
unicycle.

For cross training, the unicycle's unique qualities and limitations
make it a better way to train for running than does a bicycle. It keeps
me at my long-run heart rate and emphasizes balance and core.

Hope that helps.

Z


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  #30  
Old November 8th 08, 07:27 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
joemarshall
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boisei;1127574 wrote:
Somebody above said that biking is better exercise mile per mile but
that's demonstrably false. Mile per mile you are working harder on a
unicycle. No coasting means that you are working as hard or harder to
move forward on a unicycle, and then you sink a positive amount of
energy into balance that you do not on a bicycle.




That's not right. I think, if you go a mile at 26 mph on a bike, you
use way more energy per mile than doing a mile at 15 mph on a unicycle.
So, if you go out and do a 10 mile ride on a bike, you can potentially
tire yourself out more than a 10 mile ride on a unicycle. It's because
energy used vs speed is not a linear relationship, thanks to air &
rolling resistance.

You're only right if you ride at the same speed on the bike and the
unicycle. I think as you get to high speeds on the bike, the
inefficiency due to air resistance and rolling resistance become high
enough that you're less efficient per mile than the unicycle.

On my commute, I find I can make myself way more tired by hammering it
on the bike than hammering it on the unicycle, because I can ride so
much harder on the bike. And that's a fixed distance.

Joe


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