The ergometer can refer to either a device that tests the effort exerted by specific muscles, or a device that records how much of a specific exercise was performed. It can also refer to certain exercise equipment that allows a person to perform cardio exercises with arms and legs while remaining in a stationary position. The frequently used stationary wheel is an example. Many ergometers are wheelchair accessible, allowing people with disabilities to maintain cardiovascular health.
The benefits of ergometers are the same as any cardio workout. Heart and lung capacity increases and provides a healthier resting heart rate. Bones and muscles are also helped burn calories by toning leg and arm muscles. Although not exclusive to individuals with physical disabilities, the use of an ergometer is highly recommended for individuals who are wheelchair bound or physically unable to perform more conventional workouts.
There are several types of ergometers on the market, some of which work arms and legs simultaneously. While the arms are in motion, the feet are placed on the ground in boots while they move in conjunction with the arms. Some stationary bikes allow users to pedal with their legs and move the levers with their arms. For others, the user can move the arms or legs individually by placing the machine either on the floor or on the tabletop. Not all devices are suitable for people with physical limitations. Therefore, anyone considering ergometer training should find a machine that works in all conditions.
As with any exercise program, a physician should be consulted before using ergometers. This is especially true for people with certain heart or lung conditions or with physical limitations such as joint problems or other debilitating conditions. Tests can be done to test cardio and lung strength to determine the best type of exercise equipment for each person.
Those who do not yet have limitations or conditions can use ergometers to simplify the workout, or combine them with other exercises for a more thorough routine. Ergometer use, when combined with strength training exercises and other cardio workouts, can provide additional strengthening of the arms and legs. Machines can be purchased from sporting goods stores or specialty shops.
The medical ergometer measures how much energy a muscle or muscle group has. This lesser-known type of machine is important for determining how strong a person's muscles are, diagnosing certain conditions, or monitoring conditions already known to exist. To use this type of ergometer, a doctor specializing in muscle problems must be consulted.