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  1. #1
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    stress test: bike vs treadmill

    Going in for a nuclear stress test Thursday and I asked the cardiologist if I could do a bike version instead of a treadmill since running aggravates my back pretty badly. He said they quit doing bike versions because experienced bicyclists were blowing away the curve and messing up their average stats.

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    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg
    Going in for a nuclear stress test Thursday and I asked the cardiologist if I could do a bike version instead of a treadmill since running aggravates my back pretty badly. He said they quit doing bike versions because experienced bicyclists were blowing away the curve and messing up their average stats.
    Wouldn't experienced runners do the same thing?

    This is nuts!

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Hate to agree but me and treadmills do not agree. I use them down at the Gym, but thanks to an old knee injury that I do not wish to aggravate, I always do a fast walk at 7kph instead and on a hill programme. When I went for a cardio test, I was told to start running to get warm. "Sorry, I don't do running" was my reply and I could see the cardiologist thinking I was yet another heart patient that could do with some exercise. He set the machine going and went out of the room for about 5 minutes. When he came back he screamed at me to slow down. The sweat was rolling off me and HR was up to 155, the normal that I do at the gym, although I must admit that I was walking at 8.5kph and going like the clappers. He could not believe that an unfit bugger would push himself to this extent without causing a problem.
    When he found out that I did a fair amount of cycling, we had a long chat about recovery after bypass, but he would still not believe that anyone would want to push himself that hard 12 weeks after a bypass. He had to agree with your cardiolist that they have a set of figures that they work to, and they don't have experience of any one that exceeds their figures that a fit person can easily do. I had to do the test again, but working at a level that was so painfully slow, that I am wondering whether the results would have any bearing on the level of activity that I push myself to.

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    sch
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    The GXT is fairly standardized, and is set to a fairly low standard of fitness that
    is assumed. Proportionately larger and larger percentages are done with no
    exercise at all, since the idea is to get your heart rate upto to the level where
    it is under stress and working hard, it is not really necessary that the rest of your
    body do the same. So they start IV drips of drugs that accelerate heart rate while
    you are laying on the bed watching the tube and when they reach the target
    heart rate for your age/sex the test is run long enough to collect the parameters
    needed and the drip is stopped, assuming no chest pain or low/high BP intervenes
    first. Stationary bikes would work, but require a higher skill level than walking or
    laying bed for a significant part of the populace. No don't say it, but a lot of
    people are a bit challenged by biking. Steve

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    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    I was just giving this a thought this AM. I'm 53 now and will likely be offered a stress test during my next physical. Although I do use a treadmill some at home, I find that my calves ache even when walkinig for short distances. They recover quickly during rest, but ache again when I get to walking. I can ordinarily "walk through" the discomfort, but have a hard time accelerating into it. Cycling on the other hand, while still at times uncomfortable, is an activity I can stand and actually accelerate into.
    Just Peddlin' Around

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webist
    I was just giving this a thought this AM. I'm 53 now and will likely be offered a stress test during my next physical. Although I do use a treadmill some at home, I find that my calves ache even when walkinig for short distances. They recover quickly during rest, but ache again when I get to walking. I can ordinarily "walk through" the discomfort, but have a hard time accelerating into it. Cycling on the other hand, while still at times uncomfortable, is an activity I can stand and actually accelerate into.
    I use a treadmill at the gym, but I never run thanks to an old knee injury. I have just had a 4 month lay off from the gym, and walking at 7kph on the treadmill was painfull. 4 weeks into my "get fit" again training, and the calf muscles are not a problem. Mind you, if anyone has a better method of Lung training, I would like to know it. I still run out of breath after 20 minutes of walking at this pace.

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    I had 2 stress tests in the last year (see my post in the HR and BP thread). The first one was on a treadmill. I had been working out daily for 4 months solid and was in great cardio shape, but I never run (knee) and I could not believe how quickly I crapped out on the treadmill. Hated it. My shins were killing me and I did not get anywhere near my max HR, which was one of the things I wanted to check out, to see if I was ok to go the the max regularly. I was pissed.

    Had a 2nd test about 7 months later (this time a nuclear one) and requested a bike. Most labs don't use the bike anymore, but since this was in a research hospital they had one.

    Problem was it was a crappy bike. Running shoes only, not pedals for cleats or 2 sided like on spinning bikes. Horrible bike position and not adjustible other than seat height. Horrible pedal/flywheel feel, the chain was loose and you could feel it skipping not providing an even resistance. And no way to stand and climb once the resistance got up there because of the position and the chain slack.

    Still was better than the treadmill. They had me with the nose clamps and the tube in my mouth as well.

    Didn't get near my max HR although got 5 beats higher than on the treadmill.

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    Why not use bikes for stress tests

    I'm post MI and take stress tests about once a year. I HATE using tread mills and the cardiologist has equal misgivings about using a bicycle setup. Probably because she doesnt have one in her office. My chief complaint is that I have a low heart rate and due to my age or some other reason, it does not increase as rapidly as with other people. The technician operating the tread mill console doesn't appreciate this...so when she thinks my heart rate is not accelerating quickly enough, she increases the speed and the incline. Pretty soon it is not a matter of heart rate but of fatigued thigh muscles. I have no such problem on a bike..because I can adjust the RPM and resistance, comfortably getting my rate to my 80-90% of max. So, I try to avoid the whole thing. Last week at a routine appt with the cardiologist, she said lets schedule your next stress test. I told her I would call her as soon as my schedule opened up. She rolled her eyes and I suppose I'll eventually submit myself to another torture session. Perhaps a point of interest for readers...on the bike, once I reach 17-18 minutes, I suddenly get like a second wind..and could continue another 45-60 minutes if I wanted. This never happens on a tread mill. My legs simply get fatigued. Then more fatigued. Etc.

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I ask my wife all the time if I should go get a stress test (54yo). She laughs but I'm serious. I would really like to at least establish a baseline for future reference. Perhaps I shouldn't tell her my HR averaged 154 for 5 hours on my last bike ride or that at the 4 hour mark I held a 176 average for 35 min. Most doctors just don't have many patients with any level of fitness so they are somewhat skewed that way.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ... so hooking the 'Spinning' trainer Up is not an option,
    Just to see if you can still 'peg the meter' like you did 30 years ago..

  11. #11
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    Walking/running puts a lot more effort on the cardio-vascular system. It's more like cycling up a long, steep hill for several minutes. The doctor can see how much effort is involved on a treadmill at a certain pace but can't on a stationary bike (do they know you are doing 20 mph at a 1% incline or 5 mph on the flat?)
    Last edited by StanSeven; 11-14-11 at 10:13 PM.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg View Post
    Going in for a nuclear stress test Thursday and I asked the cardiologist if I could do a bike version instead of a treadmill since running aggravates my back pretty badly. He said they quit doing bike versions because experienced bicyclists were blowing away the curve and messing up their average stats.

    Don't think a nuclear stress test uses either bike or treadmill. Are you sure you are going to use a treadmill and that it is a nuclear stress test?
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  13. #13
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    When I hit age 65 was invited by the medical research dept. at local college to do a stress test.
    They needed 'older folks' and wanted to see how they stacked up to the younger generation.
    Had never set foot on a treadmill in my life. So they explained that I would start by walking and they would then increase the speed of the treadmill and the angle of climb too.
    As a long time cyclist am used to pacing myself so all was fine.
    All sorts of sensor on my body and something stuck in my mouth too.
    Walking became faster and the incline steeper; then jogging and eventually running.
    They were watching their instruments and was told I could quit anytime; they then said 'your heart rate is going way up, do you want to quit?' Then was asked 'are you a runner?' Told them I quit running back in the mid-1950s.
    Heart rate maxed out at 185.
    Then was told to lay down and relax with more sensors stuck to me.
    So relaxed and shut my eyes.
    An assistant shook me and asked 'are you asleep?' Said "no, you told me to relax, so that's what I'm doing.'
    They were amazed that my heart rate dropped to 48 bpm.
    Sort of changed their pre-conceived ideas about fitness and 'older folks!'
    To top it off the university paid me $15 and hour for my trouble.
    That was 14 years ago.
    Still ride 100 to 125 miles per week.
    Can hardly wait 'til I get older!

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    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    Interesting in that my cardiologist believes in cycling stress tests, he's been published and is evidently quite well known in the cardio world.
    He doesn't use a spin bike, though. His set up has you on your back with your feet in the pedals well above your head. After my second test, I got to see first hand what a difference a year of bike riding makes.
    Last edited by SaiKaiTai; 11-15-11 at 02:36 PM.
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    I just completed a nuclear stress test using the treadmill. I was injected and xrqayed...then worked out...followed by another xray. It was showed my heart is fine...however a torn ACL back when repaires were not done has left me with a knee that loves the bike but is not fond of the pounding. The next day I was in pain and I was limited for a while. Still testing for asthma. 53 yrs old and NOW I get symptoms. : )

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    Zonatandem...love your post. LOL

  17. #17
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Obviously bicycles are not stressful and therefore inappropriate for a stress test

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