Treadmill:  Friend or Foe?

I have to confess, when I was living in a state of low mobility, I was out of shape and thought running was impossible for me.  I didn't own a treadmill or have access to one.

My sister-in-law called and asked if we would like to have their treadmill.  I was afraid it would become a glorified clothes stand, but my husband convinced me it would be good for me to use. I was terrified, but agreed.

"Workouts" started very slowly.  Walking on the moving belt was terrifying, and I was sure I would fall at any second.  Running was out of the question!

With practice (and, frankly, years of determination) I now run, run/walk, and walk on the treadmill when it is:  too hot outside, too cold outside, slippery, or when I am in a hurry and jumping on the mill is faster than getting ready to go outdoors.

I know people dread the mill (hence, the common moniker "dreadmill").  True confession:  I enjoy it. I listen to my music and really mix things up.  I'm not a huge proponent of set it and forget it.  I change speed and incline and do lots of attainable intervals.  The miles melt away.

Some keys:

  1. If your balance is compromised, you might need to do some ground work first.  Can you stand?  Walk unassisted?  Take a few longer strides? Do a jumping jack (even if it's awkward and small)? Stand on one foot (even for a second or two)?  If the answer to any of these is no, take a step back...  the treadmill may be in reach soon, but for now it's all BALANCE work.  
  2. If you answer the above all "yes," it might be time to try.  Beginner?  No problem!  Start on NO incline and the lowest speed.  Hold on with both hands!  Yes, hold on.  Gym rats will tell you not to hold on, but they don't usually have MS!  Hold on!  Maybe today you will walk for 30 seconds!  
  3. If you are more capable, I still recommend a healthy dose of prudence.  If you haven't done this before (or for a long while) take it easy.  Walk slowly and just get used to the rhythm of the machine.
  4. Mastered the above and want to move on?  Comment below with your status from above (1,2 or 3), your short and long term goals, any fears you may have and I will send you a customized plan to help you embrace the treadmill.  At first, I will be writing them, but I hope to get some podcasts up soon with verbal directions.
I look forward to your comments!

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