Special video game exercise bike helps Helena man get fit

Posted at 9:05 AM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 13:30:12-05

HELENA – Starting a new exercise routine can be difficult, and sticking with it can be even harder.

Nonetheless, Steve Minich, a resident at Touchmark on Saddle Drive, found a unique piece of exercise equipment at the retirement community’s gym that not only has him staying fit but also having fun.

The Expresso HD Recumbent Bike combines video games with exercise, requiring the user to pedal in order to navigate around a virtual course and collect coins to receive points.

When the 70-year-old Minich discovered the bike, he quickly got hooked. Each day, he would spend about an hour on the bike, split up into four, fifteen minute intervals.

“I’ve gone 1,724 miles. I’ve burnt 55,000 calories,” Minich said.

In the game, Minich weaves his way through scenic landscapes, avoiding obstacles and pushing his own physical limits.

The bike contains built in Wi-Fi allowing Minich and others to compete with bikers across the globe, some as far away as France. The desire to beat others as well as his own score was addictive.

“That’s what got me hooked,” Minich said.

Minich has even encouraged friends to use the bike, hoping to rack up points and climb the virtual leader board against other bikers around the globe.

But it’s more than just fun and games. Minich said he feels healthier.

“Just the ease of walking around the building. My leg muscles have gotten much, much stronger,” Minich said. There’s also scientific evidence the exercise is working.

A fitness test shows his health has improved. Minich shed quite a few pounds and his blood pressure has stabilized.

“It was 120 over 80 which is supposedly like the hallmark of blood pressures,” Minich said.

He plans to keep up with the cycling – if not just for his health – then to rise up on the leader board.