Ralph Baard: Regaining a healthy heart
Me-Mover User Case: Ralph Baard (pt. 1)
We are introducing a new blog series where we explore Me-Mover user cases and provide a first-hand account of what it is like to have a Me-Mover in your life! We will be posting regular user cases so keep an eye on our blog to find out more about our innovative step machine and its benefits in regards to fitness and rehabilitation.
Our very first user case is about Ralph Baard. Ralph is one of the Me-Mover ambassadors who lives in Spokane, Washington. After discovering a hole in his heart and getting a pacemaker installed, Ralph made it his mission to stay active and healthy. Here is part 1 of his story about regaining a healthy heart, and how our step machine has helped him along his journey:
“In 2013 at the age of 52 I had my very first ever echocardiogram. It was a profoundly moving experience for me. The ultrasound introduced me to the various parts of my heart for the very first time. I realised how this beautiful organ, working so hard for me, was what was keeping me alive and breathing every day. Instinctually I know that I needed to take really good care of it.
I was having the test because I had experienced shortness of breath while exercising.
A couple of weeks later I found myself in my cardiologist’s office to hear the results: Patent Foramen Ovale. This is a really technical term to describe a hole in the wall of the atrium of the heart. This sounds a lot more dramatic than it really is. Doctors estimate that at least ten per cent of the population has undiagnosed holes in their hearts. These holes are necessary for our development in utero so that we can get blood supplied to the right organs as our little bodies develop. Within a couple of months of birth these holes are supposed to close. In my case it did not close.
Having a hole in my atrium meant that I would struggle with fitness all my life. A normal heart will respond to exercise by increasing the number of beats required per minute in response to the level of effort being exerted. In my case my heart would attempt to keep up, but as I exercised and increased effort, it would struggle to beat fast enough to support the level of exertion. Long story short; after two surgeries and the installation of a pacemaker at the end of 2014 I finally had a healthy heart and I knew that I wanted to take good care of it.
Even before the surgeries I had a healthy lifestyle: I ate right and exercised frequently. We all know that a good long walk is an excellent way to stay healthy and I became determined to walk at least five times a day, which roughly equates to one and a half hours of brisk walking. After several months of walking, I must confess that I was a little bored. We have some beautiful trails not far from our house and the various neighbourhoods are fun to explore, but after you have walked them all it becomes a little tedious. I began thinking about doing something that would at least provide some variety. Biking was certainly one option that I considered but one thing I really don’t like about biking is that I could never find a bike with a saddle that felt comfortable enough for prolonged use.
I began researching on the Internet and noticed that there were a variety of new inventions that I would describe as human powered transportation devices. The devices I found all seemed to have something that was not quite right for what I needed. The first one I came across looked a lot like a bike with no saddle but it did not have gears that would be able to cope with the steep hills around my house. There was one that looked a lot like an elliptical machine on wheels but it was enormous and I did not have the room in my garage to store it. There was one that was actually a kids toy and quite inexpensive. I purchased one of those but it broke after only two weeks of use, which just goes to show that you get what you paid for. Another looked really cool, but I was worried that it was too wide to fit well on our trails. Finally, quite by accident, I came across the Me-Mover Kickstarter campaign.
The campaign was over by the time I found the web page but I found the website and began doing my research. I had a few questions and emailed the folks at Me-Mover. The next day I had an email from Jonas, who I did not realize at the time is the CEO of the company. I could just tell that I had found the right product for me. Jonas answered all my questions and based on what he was telling me I became really excited about getting a Me-Mover for myself. Jonas explained that he had a total of 5 units available in the USA since Me-Mover was in the process of redesigning the machine and in the Fall would be releasing the Me-Mover Fit. I really wanted to be able to use my Me-Mover during the summer so I arranged to purchase one of the original Kickstarter units. A few weeks later I had a box delivered to my house.
My first impression was that I could not believe how compact the box was considering that it contained my Me-Mover. I had watched the assembly video several times so I was somewhat prepared for the task of assembling my Me-Mover. I am really not mechanically inclined and hate having to read instruction books and am very impatient. Bottom line is that if I can assemble to Me-Mover, anyone can do it. I did end up taking it to my local bike shop for them to look it over. They did have to adjust the breaks and ended up cutting the cables, as they were very long for what was needed. They also explained to me that I had adjusted the handlebars and exceeded the maximum height so they had corrected that. (When you assemble yours make sure that you pay attention to the markings, they are there for a reason!) I also had them switch out the grips as I really liked a premium grip they sell at the bike shop and I added a light and a bell. My Me-Mover was finally ready for my first road test!”