How I’m Biking for Exercise at Home, Even With Hemophilia
A low-impact workout helps with joint protection as well as weight loss
In September, I decided to revamp my pathetic and inconsistent fitness routine. In a moment of desperation, I ordered a Peloton bike. I needed to lose weight and was out of shape. Not a good feeling.
With my bleeding disorders, walking causes my foot and knee to swell. I desperately needed to find an activity that wouldn’t involve needing to pretreat with medication infusions for my hemophilia B and von Willebrand disease. I aim to infuse as little as possible; it’s a side effect of growing up during the “tainted blood” era.
With the Peloton bike, I can access thousands of classes, including those for yoga, strength, and meditation. My bike has a large touch screen positioned at eye level. The screen swivels for working out off the bike.
During the bike classes, instructors suggest settings for resistance and cadence. Resistance is how hard it is to pedal. Cadence is how fast you should be pedaling. I recently discovered scenic rides and rides that use gamification.
My problem has been consistency. I start strong, but as a planned date said to Marcia on “The Brady Bunch,” “Something suddenly came up.” Since September, lots of things have suddenly come up. My aunt passed away while I was talking to her. Then Category 4 Hurricane Ian devastated my hometown. In December, I came down with the flu during a holiday trip.
Most weeks, though, I use my bike three to five times for 20 to 30 minutes a session. Because the bike sits in my office, I have zero excuses. After my sessions on the bike, my body and mind always feel better.
My Peloton bike seems to be a suitable exercise for my bleeding disorders. I usually modify the suggested settings, using a lower resistance and slower cadence, to avoid upsetting my cranky knee.
A program called “Mastering the Basics” provided a good start. The classes are specially chosen to introduce the bike and its settings to its users. The shoes clip into the pedals, which takes some getting used to. Fortunately, I biked a lot in my younger days, so the pedals weren’t foreign to me.
I don’t have to worry about falling off my bike with the Peloton. An injury could cause me to need infusions to treat my bleeding disorders. I can exercise regularly while enjoying my “bike for bagels” excursions on the weekends.
I’m not good at it, though, and find the classes challenging. When I take a recorded class, I usually rank in the bottom 20–30% of all who have gone before me. But I’m making progress. Instead of competing with others, I try to achieve my personal best. I feel myself getting stronger, and going up several flights of stairs no longer leaves me huffing and puffing.
I’m still out of shape and need to lose weight, but I’ve lost 12 pounds since September. That’s not a huge amount, admittedly, but my doctor keeps reminding me that weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. I look forward to sharing more significant weight loss in six months.
Have you found a way to incorporate exercise into your life? What challenges do you have? Feel free to share in the comments below!
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.