The £1,300 bike operates at a low intensity, meaning little pressure needs to be applied to get it moving, making it ideal for a wide range of patients. It will be used in pulmonary rehabilitation classes which take place at Christchurch Hospital, benefiting around 40 patients every week. The specially designed classes combine physical exercise with advice on lung health and coping with breathlessness.
Charlotte Church, physiotherapist at the hospital, said: “We are extremely grateful to the League of Friends for this bike. Cycling and walking are well advocated in pulmonary rehabilitation and as the bike is static, it means our patients don’t need to worry about their balance or any physical limitations that would normally prevent them from using a bicycle.
“One lady was actually brought to tears when she used the bike as she didn’t think she’d ever be able to use a bicycle again.”
Ted Kennett, 74, started attending the pulmonary rehabilitation sessions at Christchurch Hospital when he began to feel regularly out of breath. He has since given talks on the service to fellow patients during the sessions and praised the purchase of the bike.
“My GP recommended the sessions to me and I am so glad I came. The staff are so helpful and the environment is relaxing. The groups are small which makes you feel supported and safe. The staff have taught me what to do if I get short of breath and how to take things easy. I can’t thank them enough. It is great to have a service like this on my doorstep and this bike just makes it even better,” he said.
As well as operating at low intensity, the bike monitors speed, distance travelled, heart rate and calories burnt.
Rob Flux, rehabilitation assistant at Christchurch, said: “Some patients use the bike as a means of logging their own progress. It has made a huge difference to them and to the class.”
Janella Banks, Secretary of the League of Friends, added: “One of the key aims of the League of Friends is to make a big difference to patients and staff. It’s nice to see where the money goes and the difference something like this bike makes.”