Monitoring and control of the cardiovascular system during indoor exercise

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The increase in obesity and diabetes is of great public health, social and economic concern worldwide. Modern treadmill systems can provide effective, safe and practical indoor exercise for the consumption of extra energy. However, an uncontrolled treadmill can cause excessive exertion on the cardiovascular system. To avoid excessive cardiovascular stress, an efficient way of monitoring and controlling of exercise strength is to regulate treadmill speed and/or gradient to stimulate the exerciser's heart rate following a predefined profile. In this thesis, an automated treadmill system has been developed, which includes wireless portable ECG and tri-axial accelerometer sensors, and a Labview based control module. Based on this automated system, efficient rate detection techniques have been developed by using the pitch estimation method. Different types of multiloop integral control configurations have been proposed and implemented to regulate the heart rate and/or step rate by manipulating treadmill speed and/or gradient. These control structures have been placed under real time testing which includes Single- Input Single-Output (SISO), Multiple-Input Single-Output (MISO) and Multiple- Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) control by using the established Labview module. It has been found that MISO control is the most efficient method, and would be effective in making the treadmill exercise more reliable and safer in rapidly tracking the heart rate profile to achieve desired exercising outcome. For this reason, this thesis also proposes the concept of Multi-loop Integral Controllability (MIC) and proves the existence of multi-loop integral controllers which can obtain unconditional multi-loop stability of the Two-Input Single-Output automated treadmill system. The benefit of our automated control system includes assisting patients in postcardiac attack rehabilitation and therapy to safely control the heart rate to follow a suitable profile. This reduces the need for supervision by medical professionals. Furthermore, in athletics and fitness applications, an automatic control system can allow users to optimize their training intensity.
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