The Journal of eHealth Nursing
This Month's Featured Online Article
eHealth In Action: Weight Management Via Web-Biking
Healthcare providers typically prescribe exercise as part of a weight management program for their overweight patients. Unfortunately, patients often complain that exercise is boring or inconvenient. Providers complain that exercise compliance is frequently compromised. Finding new patient exercise options that are convenient, yet stimulating, remains a challenge for both.
What if you told your patient that they could bicycle through the Alps or along the seaside in Greece whenever they hopped on their stationary bike? Now they can, through the use of an electronic bike, called the web-bike, and a computer with an Internet connection. A recent visit to the INSULA Obesity-Rehabilitation Center in Berchtesgaden, Germany, uncovered the use of an innovative eHealth application that could change the way people exercise (click here to see panoramic view of the INSULA).
The INSULA is a clinic designed to help obese adolescents and young adults lose weight. Drs. Wolfgang and Alena Siegfried at the INSULA direct the weight loss program, which includes a well designed exercise, nutrition, and counseling program. As part of the exercise program, Dr. Wolfgang Siegfried has developed a unique Internet connected stationary bicycle called a Web-Bike. The Web-Bike projects real time exercise and rider physiological data onto a computer screen that is attached to the web-bike which can then be viewed by the rider as they exercise.
What makes the web-bike so unique is that computer software allows the rider to be transported unto the screen into a virtual bike ride so that the rider experiences the exercise session virtually. The bicyclist can also communicate with other riders utilizing a webcam and microphone. One might feel as if they are bicycling down the Alps or any number of other exciting and beautiful places, choices of which can be selected from an online menu, without ever leaving home.
The riders screen position during the ride is based on the speed the biker pedals and changes throughout the video as the biker’s endurance peaks or wanes. Useful clinical data such as pulse, heart rate and energy output can be projected unto the screen as well as be recorded and stored in a rider’s exercise log.
A Web-Community of Web-Bikers
The web-biker can either use a bicycling video by themselves or share the riding experience with other online web-bikers. Other web-bikers can be connected simultaneously via web connection from any place else in the world. Those that choose to ride with other online web-bikers can interact with other riders using a webcam and microphone. This creates a group bike riding exercise session and allows the user to be part of an online web community of other web-bikers. This approach can increase the pleasure of the riding experience and teens seem to enjoy the thrill of exercise web competition.
The Web-biker: How it Works
rider or riders mount the stationary bicycle (web-bike) which is
connected to the computer.
The web-biker could be of benefit in school
health programs, health and fitness clubs and in post-bariatric
surgery hospital programs. Imagine school health programs linking
with other schools anywhere in the world promoting not only exercise
competitions but fostering
friendships. Health and fitness clubs could add new programs that
would encourage obese and overweight persons that are too
embarrassed to join exercise groups by offering facilitated virtual
group exercise. And, hospital post-bariatric programs might enhance
their post surgery programs and improve post surgery compliance and
results utilizing such a web-bike.
(c) Copyright 2006, Carol M.
Stock & Associates. All rights reserved.