US20140187383A1 - Integrated exercise workspace - Google Patents

Integrated exercise workspace Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140187383A1
US20140187383A1 US14/127,336 US201214127336A US2014187383A1 US 20140187383 A1 US20140187383 A1 US 20140187383A1 US 201214127336 A US201214127336 A US 201214127336A US 2014187383 A1 US2014187383 A1 US 2014187383A1
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exercise
user
work surface
workspace
integrated
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US14/127,336
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James Charles Martin
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University of Utah Research Foundation UURF
University of Utah
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University of Utah Research Foundation UURF
University of Utah
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Priority to US201161571127P priority Critical
Priority to US61571127 priority
Application filed by University of Utah Research Foundation UURF, University of Utah filed Critical University of Utah Research Foundation UURF
Priority to US14/127,336 priority patent/US20140187383A1/en
Priority to PCT/US2012/043601 priority patent/WO2012177919A2/en
Publication of US20140187383A1 publication Critical patent/US20140187383A1/en
Assigned to UNIVERSITY OF UTAH reassignment UNIVERSITY OF UTAH ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MARTIN, JAMES CHARLES
Assigned to UNIVERSITY OF UTAH RESEARCH FOUNDATION reassignment UNIVERSITY OF UTAH RESEARCH FOUNDATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B24/00Electric or electronic controls for exercising apparatus of preceding groups; Controlling or monitoring of exercises, sportive games, training or athletic performances
    • A63B24/0062Monitoring athletic performances, e.g. for determining the work of a user on an exercise apparatus, the completed jogging or cycling distance
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B83/00Combinations comprising two or more pieces of furniture of different kinds
    • A47B83/04Tables combined with other pieces of furniture
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/02Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with movable endless bands, e.g. treadmills
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/06Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement
    • A63B22/0605Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement performing a circular movement, e.g. ergometers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B23/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body
    • A63B23/035Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body for limbs, i.e. upper or lower limbs, e.g. simultaneously
    • A63B23/04Exercising apparatus specially adapted for particular parts of the body for limbs, i.e. upper or lower limbs, e.g. simultaneously for lower limbs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/0051Training appliances or apparatus for special sports not used, see subgroups and A63B69/00
    • A63B69/0057Means for physically limiting movements of body parts
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B2220/00General furniture construction, e.g. fittings
    • A47B2220/06Treadmill combined with furniture
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/06Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement
    • A63B22/0605Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement performing a circular movement, e.g. ergometers
    • A63B2022/0635Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement performing a circular movement, e.g. ergometers specially adapted for a particular use
    • A63B2022/0652Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement performing a circular movement, e.g. ergometers specially adapted for a particular use for cycling in a recumbent position
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/02Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00 for large-room or outdoor sporting games
    • A63B71/023Supports, e.g. poles
    • A63B2071/025Supports, e.g. poles on rollers or wheels
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/0048Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with cantilevered support elements pivoting about an axis
    • A63B22/0056Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with cantilevered support elements pivoting about an axis the pivoting movement being in a vertical plane, e.g. steppers with a horizontal axis
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B22/00Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements
    • A63B22/06Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement
    • A63B22/0664Exercising apparatus specially adapted for conditioning the cardio-vascular system, for training agility or co-ordination of movements with support elements performing a rotating cycling movement, i.e. a closed path movement performing an elliptic movement

Abstract

An integrated exercise workspace (100) comprises an exercise device (110), a work surface (120), and elbow supports (130 a, 130 b). The exercise device (110) is operable by a lower extremity of a user. The work surface (120) is supported at a work surface position (122) relative to the exercise device (110) and adapted to allow use of the work surface (120) by the user while operating the exercise device (110). The elbow supports (130 a, 130 b) are adapted to support elbows of the user at a support position (132 a, 132 b) to substantially isolate degrees of freedom with respect to hand movement from the elbows to hands of the user, so as to minimize movement of the user's hands due to movement of the lower extremity while operating the exercise device (110).

Description

    RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/571,127, filed Jun. 21, 2011, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Thirty five percent of adults in the U.S. are currently obese and that number is predicted to increase to forty two percent by the year 2030. Obesity dramatically increases the risk of developing diabetes, which currently afflicts seven percent of the U.S. population, as well as heart disease, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome. Thus, there is a significant financial burden caused by obesity, estimated at $147 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Obesity results from long-term positive energy balance, where more energy is consumed than expended. While it may be convenient to attribute positive energy balance to overeating, evidence is accumulating that the epidemic of obesity and related metabolic disorders is also driven by reductions in energy expended, because of increases in sedentary behaviors, such as sitting. For example, with increased use of computers in workplace and home settings, individuals may remain seated for extended periods, during which energy expenditure is minimal.
  • Current strategies to increase energy expenditure by increasing physical activity are compromised by logistical and psychological constraints, including insufficient time, perception that exercise is boring, concern about appearance during exercise, and fatigue after work. Recent studies show that even low intensity physical activity is highly effective at improving energy balance and reducing weight. Thus, it is believed that increasing physical activity during working hours with an exercise device that can be used at a desk while working will improve energy balance, facilitate weight loss, and decrease the risk for developing diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Such exercise devices are typically operated by a user's lower body while the user is at a desk. Integrating an exercise device with a computer workstation poses unique challenges which are heretofore unaddressed.
  • SUMMARY
  • When using a typical lower body exercise device at a desk while typing on a keyboard, however, the effects of the lower body exercise movements can have a detrimental impact on the user's ability to effectively operate the keyboard. In particular, the lower body motion induces motion in the upper body that, if not stabilized, increases the difficulty of typing and accelerates fatigue in the user's hands, arm and shoulders. This can negatively affect work performance, which can discourage use of such an exercise device in a work environment.
  • Conventional ergonomic wisdom espouses that elbows should be unsupported and free to move while typing on a keyboard. However, the inventors have recognized there is a need for an integrated exercise workspace capable of stabilizing the upper body while operating an exercise device with the lower body. Such stabilization reduces task complexity so that the user can effectively function to operate a typical keyboard and/or mouse computer interface with normal accuracy and without undue fatigue. Accordingly, an integrated exercise workspace and associated methods are provided. Such an integrated exercise workspace can comprise an exercise device operable by a lower extremity of a user. The integrated exercise workspace can further comprise a work surface supported at a work surface position relative to the exercise device and adapted to allow use of the work surface by the user while operating the exercise device. The integrated exercise workspace can also comprise elbow supports adapted to support elbows of the user at a support position to substantially isolate degrees of freedom with respect to hand movement from the elbows to hands of the user, so as to minimize movement of the user's hands due to movement of the lower extremity while operating the exercise device.
  • Furthermore, a method of using an integrated exercise workspace in accordance with the principles herein can comprise interfacing a user's lower extremity with an exercise device operable by the lower extremity. The method can also comprise isolating degrees of freedom with regard to hand movement from elbows to hands of the user, so as to minimize movement of the user's hands due to movement of the lower extremity while operating the exercise device. The method can further comprise using a work surface supported relative to the exercise device. Additionally, the method can comprise operating the exercise device.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an integrated exercise workspace with a recumbent cycle, in accordance with an example of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 2A is a representation of an upper arm adduction/abduction angle for reference with elbow supports of the integrated exercise workspace of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 2B is a representation of an upper arm flexion angle for reference with elbow supports of the integrated exercise workspace of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 2C is a representation of wrist adduction and abduction angles for reference with elbow supports of the integrated exercise workspace of FIG. 1 when the user is operating a keyboard.
  • FIG. 2D is a representation of wrist flexion and extension angles for reference with elbow supports of the integrated exercise workspace of FIG. 1 when the user is operating a keyboard.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an integrated exercise workspace with a treadmill, in accordance with another example of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 4A is a perspective view of an integrated exercise workspace with adjustable elbow supports, in accordance with yet another example of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 4B is a perspective view of an integrated exercise workspace with adjustable elbow supports, in accordance with still another example of the present disclosure.
  • These figures are provided merely for convenience in describing specific embodiments of the invention. Alteration in dimension, materials, and the like, including substitution, elimination, or addition of components can also be made consistent with the following description and associated claims. Reference will now be made to the exemplary embodiments illustrated, and specific language will be used herein to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Reference will now be made to certain examples, and specific language will be used herein to describe the same. Examples discussed herein set forth an integrated exercise workspace and associated methods that can provide for stabilizing the upper body using the elbows while operating an exercise device with the lower body, such that the user's hands can effectively function to operate a typical keyboard and/or mouse computer interface without undue fatigue or additional task complexity.
  • With the general embodiments set forth above, it is noted that when describing an integrated exercise workspace, or the related method, each of these descriptions are considered applicable to the other, whether or not they are explicitly discussed in the context of that embodiment. For example, in discussing the integrated exercise workspace per se, system and/or method embodiments are also included in such discussions, and vice versa.
  • It is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the particular structures, process steps, or materials disclosed herein, but is extended to equivalents thereof as would be recognized by those ordinarily skilled in the relevant arts. It should also be understood that terminology employed herein is used for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting.
  • It must be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to “an elbow support” includes one or more of such elbow supports and reference to “a support position” includes one or more of such support positions.
  • Also, it is noted that various modifications and combinations can be derived from the present disclosure and illustrations, and as such, the following figures should not be considered limiting.
  • In describing and claiming the present invention, the following terminology will be used in accordance with the definitions set forth below.
  • As used herein, the term “substantially” refers to the complete or nearly complete extent or degree of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result. For example, an object that is “substantially” enclosed would mean that the object is either completely enclosed or nearly completely enclosed. The exact allowable degree of deviation from absolute completeness may in some cases depend on the specific context. However, generally speaking the nearness of completion will be so as to have the same overall result as if absolute and total completion were obtained. The use of “substantially” is equally applicable when used in a negative connotation to refer to the complete or near complete lack of an action, characteristic, property, state, structure, item, or result.
  • As used herein, “adjacent” refers to the proximity of two structures or elements. Particularly, elements that are identified as being “adjacent” may be either abutting or connected. Such elements may also be near or close to each other without necessarily contacting each other. The exact degree of proximity may in some cases depend on the specific context.
  • As used herein, a plurality of items, structural elements, compositional elements, and/or materials may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member. Thus, no individual member of such list should be construed as a de facto equivalent of any other member of the same list solely based on their presentation in a common group without indications to the contrary.
  • Any steps recited in any method or process claims may be executed in any order and are not limited to the order presented in the claims unless otherwise stated. Means-plus-function or step-plus-function limitations will only be employed where for a specific claim limitation all of the following conditions are present in that limitation: a) “means for” or “step for” is expressly recited; and b) a corresponding function is expressly recited. The structure, material or acts that support the means-plus function are expressly recited in the description herein. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined solely by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the descriptions and examples given herein.
  • Illustrated in FIG. 1 is an integrated exercise workspace 100. In accordance with one example of the present disclosure, the integrated exercise workspace 100 can comprise an exercise device 110 operable by a lower extremity of a user. Examples of suitable exercise devices include a recumbent exercise bicycle, a semi-recumbent exercise bicycle, an upright exercise bicycle, a treadmill, a stair stepper, an exercise skier, a strider, an elliptical trainer, or combinations thereof. In one aspect, the exercise device 110 can be configured to provide primarily cardiovascular exercise. It should be understood, however, that any exercise device that is operable by a lower extremity may be used in accordance with the present disclosure, including an exercise device configured to provide primarily a muscle-strengthening exercise such as a traditional resistance activity or a motor driven eccentric training device.
  • The integrated exercise workspace 100 can also include a work surface 120. The work surface 120 can be supported at a work surface position 122 relative to the exercise device 110 and can be adapted to allow use of the work surface 120 by the user while operating the exercise device 110. Thus, for example, the work surface 120 can be configured to support work productivity items, such as a computer monitor 140, a keyboard 141, a mouse 142, a telephone (not shown), and/or a computer 143 (shown optionally located on a floor). In one aspect, as illustrated in the figure, the work surface 120 can be substantially flat and/or horizontal, which can allow the work surface to function as a typical office desk surface. The integrated exercise workspace 100 can also include an exercise computer 144 and a display 145 to monitor and display exercise data (e.g. calories expended, equivalent distance traveled, elapsed time, heart rate, etc). Optionally, the exercise computer can be embodied as software module for a computer and corresponding exercise device interface which records information from sensors or other equipment (i.e. revolutions, speed, etc). The exercise computer 144 and display 145 can be supported by the work surface 120 or otherwise positioned to allow the user the see and/or interface with the exercise computer and display.
  • Additionally, the integrated exercise workspace 100 can include elbow supports 130 a, 130 b. The elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be adapted to support elbows of the user at a support position 132 a, 132 b. The elbow supports can be of any size, shape, or configuration that can support the user's elbows at the support position 132 a, 132 b. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the elbow support 130 a is relatively wide and substantially flat, which can provide for a variety of interface position options with the user's elbows. This can allow the user to readjust or reposition the elbows during use, for example, to achieve or maintain a comfortable position. The elbow support 130 b, on the other hand, is relatively narrow and includes a pad or cushion 136 to improve comfort and/or grip of the user's elbows on the elbow support 130 b. Alternatively, the elbow support can be cupped to receive the elbow and provide lateral support.
  • In the support position 132 a, 132 b, the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can substantially isolate degrees of freedom with respect to hand movement from the elbows to hands of the user, so as to minimize movement of the user's hands due to movement of the lower extremity while operating the exercise device. With the elbows unsupported and free to move, the hands can be subject to movement induced by the lower body exercise motions. This can increase the task complexity of typing, for example, because the muscles that control hand motion must also account for the movements induced by the lower body in order to perform the task. By fixing the elbows in space relative to the hands and work surface 120, the task of typing is simplified for the muscles that control hand motion. Consequently, these muscles can simply perform the task of typing, without also working to stabilize the hands and fingers relative to the work surface. Thus, supporting the elbows can isolate hand movement degrees of freedom, which allows the muscles that control hand motion to function substantially independent of movement induced in the upper body by exercise motions of the lower body.
  • In other words, with the user's elbows supported by the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b at the support position 132 a, 132 b, the relatively large muscles of the users upper arms, shoulders, back, chest, and/or torso can remain relaxed rather than having to stabilize the lower arm and compensate for movement induces by the exercise action. Thus, the relatively small muscles controlling the user's forearms, wrists, and hands can be substantially unaffected by the lower body exercise movements. This allows the user's hands to function in a normal manner while interfacing with the keyboard or mouse, for example, without fatiguing as a result of attempting to support, stabilize, or otherwise account for the lower body movement while functioning on or about the work surface.
  • With reference to FIGS. 2A-2D, example arm positions are illustrated that can be achieved with the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b in the support position 132 a, 132 b described with regard to FIG. 1. For example, as shown in FIG. 2A, the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be positioned to support upper arms of the user at an adduction/abduction angle 210 of between about 0 degrees and about 60 degrees, and in some cases up to 45 degrees. In one aspect, the adduction/abduction angle 210 can be between about 0 degrees and about 30 degrees. As shown in FIG. 2B, the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be positioned to support upper arms of the user at a flexion angle 220 of between about 0 degrees and about 60 degrees. In one aspect, the flexion angle 220 can be between about 0 degrees and about 20 degrees. These positions of the upper arms with the elbows on the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b at the support positions 132 a, 132 b can effectively isolate degrees of freedom with respect to hand movement from the elbows to hands of the user, which can minimize movement of the user's hands due to movement of the lower body while operating the exercise device 110. Thus, with the elbows properly supported by the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b at the support position 132 a, 132 b, the user's elbows will be beside or slightly in front of the user's sides. Such positioning can effectively reduce the need to activate the relatively large muscles of the user's upper arms, shoulders, back, chest, and/or torso to stabilize the user's upper body against movements induced by the lower body exercise movements.
  • Properly supported elbows not only allow the relatively small muscles controlling the user's forearms, wrists, and hands to be substantially unaffected by the lower body exercise movements, but having elbows supported by the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b at the support position 132 a, 132 b can also position the user's wrists in a manner that is comfortable and sustainable while using the keyboard 141. For example, the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be positioned such that a wrist adduction angle 230 (FIG. 2C), wrist abduction angle 240 (FIG. 2C), wrist flexion angle 250 (FIG. 2D), and wrist extension angle 260 (FIG. 2D) are within about 30 degrees of a neutral position of wrists of the user when the user is operating the keyboard 141 on the work surface 120. These wrist angles are comfortable for the user and are less likely to result in muscle fatigue while using the keyboard. The support position 132 a, 132 b of the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can likewise provide for similar wrist positions when the user is using the mouse 142, using a writing instrument, such as a pen, or using any other item typically found on a home or workplace desk. Although support positions can vary depending on individual users, typical horizontal distance between elbow supports can range from about 11 inches to about 32 inches, and often from about 18 inches to about 24 inches.
  • With continued reference to FIG. 1, features of the integrated exercise workspace 100 are shown that can be adjustable to allow the integrated exercise workspace 100 to accommodate a variety of user sizes and dimensions. For example, the position of the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be adjustable relative to the work surface 120 to locate the elbow supports at a proper support position 132 a, 132 b to support the user's elbows as discussed herein. In one aspect, the position of the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be adjustable in a vertical direction 151, a lateral direction 152, and/or a fore/aft direction 153. In one aspect, these directions can be orthogonal to one another. In a particular aspect, the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be rotatable about one or more axes parallel to any of the directions 151, 152, 153 to provide for adjustability in up to six degrees of freedom. Movement and adjustability of the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be accomplished by any suitable means, such as a linkage mechanism, a telescoping support, etc.
  • In addition, at least one of the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be moveable to facilitate exercise device 110 ingress and/or egress. For example, movement of the elbow support 130 b in one or more of directions 151, 152, 153 can be sufficient to allow clearance for the user to access the exercise device 110. In another embodiment, the elbow support 130 a is shown extending horizontally from, and coupled to, the work surface 120 via a hinge 133 rotatable about axis 134. In this configuration, the elbow support 130 a can be rotated in direction 135 to make room for the user to access the exercise device 110 without undue burden or effort. Once the user has accessed the exercise device 110, the elbow support 130 a can be rotated in a direction opposite direction 135 to the support position. It should be recognized that one or both of the elbow supports 130 a, 130 b can be rotatable about any axis or rotatable about one or more axes to facilitate exercise device ingress and/or egress. Facilitating ease of ingress and/or egress of the exercise device 100 can enhance the safety of using the integrated exercise workspace 100, particularly for those that are obese or those who may not be as agile as others.
  • Furthermore, the work surface position 122 of the work surface 120 can be adjustable relative to the exercise device 110. This can position the work surface 120 at a comfortable and suitable location relative to the user when the user is using the exercise device 110. For example, as shown in the figure, the work surface 120 can be supported by one or more legs 160 a, 160 b, 160 c, 160 d. In one aspect, one or more of the legs can be vertically adjustable in vertical direction 161, such as by a telescoping structure. In another aspect, one or more of the legs 160 a, 160 b, 160 c, 160 d can be movable in a lateral direction 162 and/or a fore/aft direction 163 to properly locate the work surface 120 relative to the exercise device 110. Movement in the lateral direction 162 and/or the fore/aft direction 163 can be facilitated by a wheel 164 or other such device disposed at an end of one or more legs 160 a, 160 b, 160 c, 160 d. In one aspect, the wheel 164 can be lockable to prevent unwanted movement when the work surface 120 is properly located. In a particular aspect, locking of the wheel 164 can be controlled by the user while using or being supported by the exercise device 110. Such remote locking control can be accomplished mechanically by any suitable means, such as an extension rod or a linkage coupled to a wheel lock, or electrically by a solenoid actuated wheel lock with a controller accessible by the user.
  • As further illustrated in FIG. 1, the exercise device 110 can comprise a recumbent or semi-recumbent exercise bicycle. The exercise bicycle can have a seat 111 for the user, as well as a pedal 112 for the user's foot coupled to a crank arm 113 that is rotatable about an axis 114. On such exercise bicycles, the user's knees extend upward during a part of the pedal stroke. As described above, the work surface 120 can be positioned relative to the exercise device 110. In this case, the work surface 120 can be positioned relative to the seat 111 of the exercise bicycle, such as with a height adjustment, to provide clearance for legs of the user while operating the exercise bicycle. In other words, the work surface 120 can be positioned to prevent interference between an underside of the work surface 120 and the user's knees. The crank length can also affect clearance of the user's knee with the underside of the work surface. Conventional crank arm lengths are 170 mm, although ergonomics can be improved by shortening the crank arm in order to allow for a lower work surface with respect to the seat height. As a general guideline, shortened crank arm lengths can range from about 85 mm to about 150 mm (e.g. 100 mm, 120 mm, and 145 mm), although crank arm lengths up to about 180 mm or more can be used depending on the individual user.
  • On the other hand, the seat 111 can be movable relative to the work surface 120 to provide clearance for the user's knees or to achieve a desired relationship between the user and the work surface 120. For example, the seat 111 can be movable relative to the work surface 120 in a vertical direction 171, a lateral direction 172, and/or a fore/aft direction 173 to position the user relative to the work surface 120. Typically, the set 111 can be inclined forward slightly from typical recumbent positions. Thus, not only can absolute height of the exercise device 110 be adjusted, but a degree of incline can also be adjusted such that a back end of the exercise device can be elevated independently of a front end of the device. In this manner, the work surface 120 can be horizontal while user's wrist can be a substantially neutral position during typing.
  • For example, one or more supports 175 of the exercise bicycle can be vertically adjustable in vertical direction 171, such as by a telescoping structure. In another aspect, the exercise bicycle can be movable in the lateral direction 172 and/or the fore/aft direction 173 to properly locate the exercise bicycle relative to the work surface 120. Movement in the lateral direction 172 and/or the fore/aft direction 173 can be facilitated by a wheel 174 or other such device. In one aspect, the wheel 174 can be lockable to prevent unwanted movement of the exercise bicycle when the exercise bicycle is properly located. In a particular aspect, locking of the wheel 174 can be controlled by the user while using or being supported by the exercise bicycle. Such remote locking control can be accomplished mechanically by any suitable means, such as an extension rod or a linkage coupled to a wheel lock, or electrically by a solenoid actuated wheel lock with a controller accessible by the user.
  • In another aspect, the seat 111 of the exercise bicycle can be rotatable in direction 176 about an axis 177. This can be accomplished, for example, by changing a length of a telescopic support 175. Not only can this adjustment alter the spatial relationship between the seat 111 and the work surface 120, but it can also adjust a relative height 178 between the seat 111 and the axis of rotation 114 of the crank 113. The effect of increasing the relative height 178 is to put the user in a more upright position, which lowers the user's knees with respect to the shoulders when pedaling, thus allowing a lower work surface position 122 relative to the user's chest. In other words, the work surface 120 can be in a similar position relative to the user as a typical office desk surface. Accordingly, the work surface 120 can be horizontal without the need to slope or raise the work surface 120 to provide clearance between the user's legs and an underside of the work surface 120 during use of the exercise bicycle. In addition, rotation of the seat 111 about the axis 177 can also serve to adjust the height of the seat 111 relative to the work surface 120. Moreover, the exercise bicycle can be adjustable to accommodate users of different sizes and dimensions. For example, the seat 111 of the exercise bicycle can be positionable relative to the axis of rotation 114 of the crank 113 of the exercise bicycle to adjust a relative distance 179 between the axis of rotation 114 and the seat 111.
  • With reference to FIG. 3, illustrated is an integrated exercise workspace 300 that includes an exercise device 310. In this embodiment, the exercise device comprises a treadmill. Of particular note here, the work surface 320 is height adjustable in direction 361, as described herein, relative to a walking surface 312 of the treadmill. This can position the user's elbows relative to the work surface 320, such that the elbows are properly supported by elbow supports 330 a, 330 b at support positions 332 a, 332 b, as described herein. In addition, the treadmill can be movable in a lateral direction 372 and/or a fore/aft direction 373, in order to orient the elbows accordingly to a user's size and ensure the elbows are properly supported. Thus, the work surface 320 and/or the exercise device 310 can be positionable and/or adjustable such that the user's elbows are supported vertically as previously discussed.
  • FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate alternative embodiments of elbow support mounting configurations. Similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the embodiment shown in FIG. 4A includes elbow supports 430 a, 430 b that are structurally associated with the work surface 420. In this case, the elbow supports 430 a, 430 b are coupled to the work surface 420 via linkage mechanisms 437 a, 437 b. This can allow the elbow supports 430 a, 430 b to raise, lower, extend, and/or retract relative to the work surface 420, such that the user's elbows are properly supported by elbow supports 430 a, 430 b at support positions 432 a, 432 b. This can be used to facilitate adjustments for individual users (i.e. a tall individual versus a shorter individual may have varying optimal distances between the work surface, elbow support, seat, etc. Additionally, the linkage mechanisms 437 a, 437 b can allow the elbow supports 430 a, 430 b to be moveable to facilitate ease of exercise device 410 ingress and/or egress, such as by retracting under the work surface 420.
  • FIG. 4B, on the other hand, illustrates an embodiment including elbow supports 530 a, 530 b that are structurally associated with the exercise device 510. In this case, the elbow supports 530 a, 530 b are coupled to the exercise device 510 via support arms 537 a, 537 b. In one aspect, the support arms 537 a, 537 b can be telescopic to allow length adjustments in direction 581, direction 582, and/or direction 583. This can allow the elbow supports 530 a, 530 b to raise, lower, extend, and/or retract relative to the work surface 520, such that the user's elbows are properly supported by elbow supports 530 a, 530 b at support positions 532 a, 532 b. Additionally, the support arms 537 a, 537 b can allow the elbow supports 530 a, 530 b to be moveable to facilitate ease of exercise device 510 ingress and/or egress, such as by rotating in direction 538 about axis 539 to provide clearance for the user to move between at least one of the elbow supports 530 a, 530 b and the work surface 520. Alternatively, the support arms 537 a, 537 b can be movable with the exercise device 510 in direction 573 to facilitate ease of exercise device 510 ingress and/or egress. Although not illustrated, it should be recognized that an elbow support can be coupled to a floor, a wall, or any other suitable support structure.
  • In a related example, and to reiterate to some degree, a method of using an integrated exercise workspace is presented in accordance with the principles herein. The method comprises interfacing a user's lower extremity with an exercise device operable by the lower extremity. The method also comprises isolating degrees of freedom with regard to hand movement from elbows to hands of the user, so as to minimize movement of the user's hands due to movement of the lower extremity while operating the exercise device. The method further comprises using a work surface supported relative to the exercise device. Additionally, the method comprises operating the exercise device. It is noted that no specific order is required in this method, though generally in one embodiment, these method steps can be carried out sequentially.
  • It is to be understood that the above-referenced embodiments are illustrative of the application for the principles of the present invention.
  • Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements can be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and described above in connection with the exemplary embodiment(s) of the invention. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications can be made without departing from the principles and concepts of the invention as set forth in the claims.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. An integrated exercise workspace, comprising:
an exercise device operable by a lower extremity of a user;
a work surface supported at a work surface position relative to the exercise device and adapted to allow use of the work surface by the user while operating the exercise device; and
elbow supports adapted to support elbows of the user at a support position to substantially isolate degrees of freedom with respect to hand movement from the elbows to hands of the user, so as to minimize movement of the user's hands due to movement of the lower extremity while operating the exercise device.
2. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the elbow supports are positioned to support upper arms of the user at an adduction/abduction angle of between about 0 degrees and about 60 degrees.
3. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the elbow supports are positioned to support upper arms of the user at a flexion angle of between about 0 degrees and about 25 degrees.
4. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the elbow supports are positioned such that wrist extension, flexion, adduction, and abduction angles are within about 30 degrees of a neutral position of wrists of the user when the user is operating a keyboard on the work surface.
5. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the support position of the elbow supports is adjustable relative to the work surface.
6. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the work surface position of the work surface is adjustable relative to the exercise device.
7. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the exercise device comprises a recumbent exercise bicycle, a semi-recumbent exercise bicycle, an upright exercise bicycle, a treadmill, a stair stepper, an exercise skier, a strider, an elliptical trainer, or combinations thereof.
8. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the work surface is substantially horizontal.
9. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the work surface is substantially flat.
10. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein at least one of the elbow supports is moveable to facilitate exercise device ingress and egress.
11. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the elbow supports extend from the work surface.
12. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 11, wherein the elbow supports extend horizontally from the work surface.
13. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the exercise device comprises a recumbent or semi-recumbent exercise bicycle, and the work surface and a seat of the exercise bicycle are positionable relative to one another.
14. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 13, wherein the work surface is height adjustable relative to a seat of the exercise bicycle to provide clearance for legs of the user while operating the exercise bicycle.
15. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 13, wherein the seat is movable in fore and aft directions relative to the work surface to position the user relative to the work surface.
16. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the exercise device comprises a recumbent or semi-recumbent exercise bicycle, and a seat of the exercise bicycle is positionable relative to an axis of rotation of a crank of the exercise bicycle to adjust at least one of a relative distance and a relative height between the seat and the axis of rotation.
17. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the exercise device comprises a recumbent or semi-recumbent exercise bicycle and the work surface position is substantially horizontal.
18. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, wherein the exercise device comprises a treadmill and the work surface is height adjustable relative to a walking surface of the treadmill to position the user's elbows relative to the work surface.
19. The integrated exercise workspace of claim 1, further comprising an exercise computer and a display to monitor and display exercise data.
20. A method of using an integrated exercise workspace, comprising:
interfacing a user's lower extremity with an exercise device operable by the lower extremity;
isolating degrees of freedom with regard to hand movement from elbows to hands of the user, so as to minimize movement of the user's hands due to movement of the lower extremity while operating the exercise device;
using a work surface supported relative to the exercise device; and
operating the exercise device.
US14/127,336 2011-06-21 2012-06-21 Integrated exercise workspace Abandoned US20140187383A1 (en)

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