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Exercising while reading and writing


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Yes but you may under-estimate your talents and abilities. There really is not a lot of activity for self-trial longevity enthusiasts. When I hunt, I'm usually drawn right back to the same five or ten sites, which are well-known to you -- FightAging, Longecity, Josh Mitteldorf, Anti-Aging Firewalls, various youtubes...


Dr. Greger's site is an unexpected gold mine for me -- and like many sites sometimes the finest insights come from reader's comments. And not!

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Dean, I now have the installed bike at home! I really like its size. It does not take up as much room as I thought it would. And I like the overall design too! What resistance settings do you usually use?


I am working on getting a table to match the bike. I will probably bring it home this Saturday. My cold vests will arrive probably tomorrow.

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Dean may be onto something, with cycling. It turns out that in certain categories of multitasking, rather than a detrimental effect on one or both ("divided attention"), there is a synergistic enhancement of performance for both tasks. This applies especially to cognitive tasks simultaneous with physical exercise. This study was done for cycling, but from personal experience I have long felt that to be the case as well for jogging. I jog around a 1/4 mile track in a health park, doing 4 miles a session, 4 sessions a week (for a total of 16 miles a week). People have different preferences - I hear often "oh, I can't jog along a track, too boring, I like to jog in unfamiliar or changing places". For me it is the opposite. I like hiking in nature, but when it comes to exercise jogging, I prefer the "mindless" jog around the track, because it frees my mind to focus on thinking - and this is where I noticed the beneficial synergistic impact on both - it is easier for me to go through a jogging session (I dislike exercise in general, and only do it for health reasons), and I also seem to think more clearly and get more creative ideas while I jog. Win-win. So keep on biking under the desk, Dean, you're doing good! Anyhow, the study below references Parkinson's, but as they show it applies just as well to healthy non-Parkinson's people:


Unexpected Dual Task Benefits on Cycling in Parkinson Disease and Healthy Adults: A Neuro-Behavioral Model



Abstract Background

When performing two tasks at once, a dual task, performance on one or both tasks typically suffers. People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) usually experience larger dual task decrements on motor tasks than healthy older adults (HOA). Our objective was to investigate the decrements in cycling caused by performing cognitive tasks with a range of difficulty in people with PD and HOAs.


Twenty-eight participants with Parkinson’s disease and 20 healthy older adults completed a baseline cycling task with no secondary tasks and then completed dual task cycling while performing 12 tasks from six cognitive domains representing a wide range of difficulty.


Cycling was faster during dual task conditions than at baseline, and was significantly faster for six tasks (all p<.02) across both groups. Cycling speed improved the most during the easiest cognitive tasks, and cognitive performance was largely unaffected. Cycling improvement was predicted by task difficulty (p<.001). People with Parkinson’s disease cycled slower (p<.03) and showed reduced dual task benefits (p<.01) than healthy older adults.


Unexpectedly, participants’ motor performance improved during cognitive dual tasks, which cannot be explained in current models of dual task performance. To account for these findings, we propose a model integrating dual task and acute exercise approaches which posits that cognitive arousal during dual tasks increases resources to facilitate motor and cognitive performance, which is subsequently modulated by motor and cognitive task difficulty. This model can explain both the improvement observed on dual tasks in the current study and more typical dual task findings in other studies.

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Thanks TomB, 


Great find. That is a really interesting study (PMID 25970607 - please try to include PMID for future searching).


It turns out that in certain categories of multitasking, rather than a detrimental effect on one or both ("divided attention"), there is a synergistic enhancement of performance for both tasks. 


Hmmm... It would be nice if this study demonstrated this, but I'm not sure that it does.


Looking at the figures at least, it appears that benefits of cycling while engaging in cognitive tasks was largely one-sided. That is, engaging in a cognitive task while pedalling increased the cycling speed of both healthy folks and PD patients. But from what I can see pedalling didn't significantly enhance cognitive performance. Thankfully it didn't appear to impair cognition either - subjects performed as well on the cognitive tasks (e.g. stroop test, N-back test etc) while cycling as while sitting still. Also note that this was just a study of the acute effects of cycling while thinking - nothing about benefits (or harm) that persist as a result of the combination.


These results jibe with my personal experience. I don't even notice that I'm cycling when engaged in a cognitive task, like right now as I'm composing this post at my bike desk. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if I pedalled faster while cognitively engaged in another task, as this study found.





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  • 1 month later...



I have to share this jackpot I stumbled across.


A family in my neighborhood is moving, and while out walking the dog, I noticed they had put a like-new exercise bike out at the curb with a tag on it for the garbage men to pick up. I tested it to make sure it worked, and then hurried home to get my van to transport it home.


I'm now the proud owner of Life Fitness C7i exercise bike, pictured below, with a suggested retail price of $1999. How cool is that!? I even saved the $5 tag the neighbors had put on the bike to get the trash men to pick it up, so I made 5 bucks on the deal!


c7i.jpg  6yYU16u.png  7jaGpQd.png



As you can see in the photos above, it comes with a reading shelf - perfect for a hardcover book or my tablet (shown). I've also made a flat shelf between the handle bars out of a clipboard, that makes a great surface for my bluetooth keyboard (linked to my tablet) or for my laptop.


Of course, it can't support the cool dual-monitor configuration I've got set up now for my bike desk, so it won't be replacing that for when I've got real work to do :




But the new bike will serve to replace my road bike that I have set up next to my bike desk on a stationary trainer so I can use my tablet and keyboard, but which is much less comfortable than the new stationary bike or my bike desk:




Why do I have both my stationary road bike and my bike desk? For variety. I generally ride the stationary road bike for 2-3h per day, and use the bike desk for 5-6h.


My new stationary bike will free my road bike so I could ride it on the street again. But I'm reluctant to do it because it is so dangerous. I've wiped out a couple times riding on the road over the last few years. I've gotten pretty scraped up, but luckily no serious injuries (thanks to the helmet). I consider it probably the most dangerous activity I (formerly) engaged in, given the lack of bike paths on the roads around my house. So I probably won't be riding much on the road.



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Dean I had a bike accident about 5 years ago and broke my scapula, tore a rotator cuff, and my collar bone was badly damaged but did not break. Lots of pain for many months. I biked in my small town here and it was cool to just hope on the bike. I had several close calls with motorists and considered quitting, but kept on biking. Then it happened a jerk pulled out of his drive and did not see me.


Interestingly the doctor I saw was a surgeon and he just told me I needed surgery to fix the rotator cuff. It was really bad, but I asked him, "wouldn't physical therapy be my first option" he said as if annoyed of course I'll write a prescription and then left without saying another word. I knew from researching it that surgery on shoulders could be a bad move. Lots of problems. Anyway PT was miraculous. Even though you cannot repair the cuff you can overcome that by developing the muscles and tendons around it. 5 years later no problem and as for the bike I sold it. The only place to bike is on a bike trail!!!


BTW an eye doctor I knew had to have a liver transplant due to a horrible bike accident in Oakland. His career was greatly disrupted and he suffered terribly. Oakland not a good place to be riding a bike!

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