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Old 09-14-2019, 09:32 AM
 
377 posts, read 305,723 times
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To start off, I'm incredibly out of shape, and until about 20 minutes ago, I'd never spent more than 30 seconds on a treadmill in my life. So... I have no idea what I'm doing.


So... I've been storing a treadmill in my house for about 12 years for someone else (who is obviously never going to come collect it) and rather than just toss it, I decided to give it a try. It's nothing special, just an ultra cheap, well used, department store grade model. The type of thing that is probably $50 on Craigslist.


That said, and this is probably going to sound completely ridiculous to a lot of people in a number of ways, I'm heavy enough that the thing basically won't move freely with the speed set to less than about 2.5 miles per hour, which for me, is a pretty decent walking pace (at least 1/3-1/2 faster than I would just walk on a normal day, and due to how insanely out of shape I am, brought me up to a decent target heart rate). It's fast enough, and I'm awkward enough on it, that the only way I can do it at all is to have a death grip on the handles, which from what I've read is bad, and after only 1/4 of a mile my wrists and back are killing me (I have wrist and back problems already, so, that's completely unacceptable).


So... The question is, how do I become more comfortable on the thing so I can just let go of the handles and simply walk like normal? Normally I'd just slow it way down until I got comfortable, then pick up speed with more confidence, but that doesn't really seem like an option. The handles on it are also really short, and completely at the front of the machine, so if I were to trip or something there's absolutely nothing to grab on to if I'm not right at the front of the machine, which is also awkward. I'm also pretty tall, in addition to fat, and the belt on the thing is a little narrow for my frame as well, so it all just feels completely weird and out of control.


That said... I can tell that what I did do was generally beneficial, so it's something I'd like to continue. Yesterday I sort of retraced my steps at work and came to the conclusion that I likely don't even walk 1/2 a mile in any given day, so, something needs to change.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Kansas City North
4,819 posts, read 8,230,000 times
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I’m sure others will have better suggestions, but you could start a walking program on “dry land” - around your neighborhood, at a mall or high school track. Then when you get a bit more in shape you should be able to confidently handle the treadmill at 2.5 mph.

Since it has sat unused for so long you might also try just run it with no one on it for a while, to “break in” the motor.

Edit: congrats on starting doing some exercise. Getting up off the couch is the hardest.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Wine Country
5,816 posts, read 7,175,545 times
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Is there any way you can walk outside instead? Start with a short walk and then increase distance.

Treadmills can be tricky, especially the ones for the home. It really sounds like your biggest problem is balance. The good news is you can fix that if you add in some core exercises. Your core is what stabilizes you and with a weak one you will have problems.

You can look up exercises for balance and core and incorporate them with daily exercise time.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:11 AM
 
377 posts, read 305,723 times
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I've also had the same thoughts about walking on regular land to get broken in a little more, but I like that the treadmill makes me maintain a pace. If I just go out and walk a mile, while certainly being better than nothing, I'm not sure that I'd get as much out of it because I'd probably just be at my normal walking pace.



Plus, just being dead honest here, I'd be completely embarassed to go out "power walking" around the neighborhood... I'd feel like the biggest, loneliest, dork on the planet. I'm obviously not saying anyone else would/should/does, just me.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Way up high
16,461 posts, read 22,502,239 times
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Get some headphones and go outside and walk. Who cares what other people think???
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:23 AM
 
1,174 posts, read 934,504 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_is_here View Post
Plus, just being dead honest here, I'd be completely embarassed to go out "power walking" around the neighborhood... I'd feel like the biggest, loneliest, dork on the planet. I'm obviously not saying anyone else would/should/does, just me.
My opinion probably doesn’t matter much, but if I saw you walking in my neighborhood my thought would be, “Good for him for taking his health seriously”, and cheering you on in my head.

Gotta start somewhere.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Kansas City North
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_is_here View Post
Plus, just being dead honest here, I'd be completely embarassed to go out "power walking" around the neighborhood... I'd feel like the biggest, loneliest, dork on the planet. I'm obviously not saying anyone else would/should/does, just me.
Here’s my story. I was out of shape, overweight and pushing 60. The first time I started walking I walked four houses up the street and back and had to lie down for 30 minutes afterward I was breathing so hard and heart was pounding. Went a little farther each day. No need for “power walking” like you were in the Olympics. Be conscious of your pace, but it’s okay to slow down a bit and then pick it back up. I like to listen to music with a good tempo. I have a free app on my phone “Walkmeter” tracks distance and time. I’m still over weight, I’m over 60 now, but I feel I’m in much better shape and can walk continually for an hour.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:28 AM
 
1,375 posts, read 1,765,037 times
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I would skip using the treadmill for the present. I am concerned not only about the speed, but, also about your balance not being up to par. Would you be able to take a walk outside your home for 20 minutes each morning?

I would be concerned about improving your balance ( if you are unable to stand on one foot for 60 seconds). When you walk, you may be "flat footing" it - that is not picking up your feet. A good walking stride is to strike with your heel and push off with your toes. Many people start to shuffle along when the walk as their ability to balance declines. You don't want to try increasing your speed on a treadmill if you have poor balance. It is much safer to walk at a comfortable speed for you and concentrate on striking with your heel and pushing off with your toes to first improve your balance.

I think if you spend 20 minutes every day for a few months going out for a walk and get into a habit of picking up your feet as you walk, striking with the heel and pushing off with your toes - you should see improvement in not only your balance, but, also with your speed. Only then would I consider using a mechanized treadmill.

If you were going to a gym and using a treadmill I would recommend a manual treadmill where you control the speed and it only moves if you strike with the heel and push off with your toes. The first week I started working with a personal trainer he moved me to a manual treadmill to have me work on my balance and get in the habit of picking up my feet. (spent 40+ working years wearing 2" heels 10 hours a day and I had to learn how to power walk in flat shoes once I retired). It took a few months, but, I saw a big improvement in my balance, speed and endurance.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:44 AM
 
377 posts, read 305,723 times
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All valuable points of view here, but another very real issue is the weather. Very soon it's going to get very nasty outside. I guess I could go to a Walmart or something... But, I'd prefer not to. I also don't like my neighbors, and every time I'm outside their kids (who, of course, are just kids out doing normal kid things) start asking me 10,000 questions about all manner of things because, presumably, their parents don't speak to them or something. I know they're just kids, but I don't really want to be bothered.



It crossed my mind yesterday that I could just make a few laps around the building at work after normal hours in relative privacy and peace. That's actually what raised my awareness that I really need to do some walking. I went to the back of the building for some reason and was pretty tired when I got back to my desk. I thought, that had to be at least 1/4 of a mile of walking, all said and done... Google map scale made it look more like less than 1/8 of mile, including my walks to and from the parking lot. Before I started desk jobs for the last decade I was easily walking several miles a day (my walk to my car in college had to be at least 1/4 of a mile) so it never even dawned on me that now I can't. I knew I had let things go too far, but didn't realize it had gotten this bad...
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Wine Country
5,816 posts, read 7,175,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_is_here View Post
All valuable points of view here, but another very real issue is the weather. Very soon it's going to get very nasty outside. I guess I could go to a Walmart or something... But, I'd prefer not to. I also don't like my neighbors, and every time I'm outside their kids (who, of course, are just kids out doing normal kid things) start asking me 10,000 questions about all manner of things because, presumably, their parents don't speak to them or something. I know they're just kids, but I don't really want to be bothered.



It crossed my mind yesterday that I could just make a few laps around the building at work after normal hours in relative privacy and peace. That's actually what raised my awareness that I really need to do some walking. I went to the back of the building for some reason and was pretty tired when I got back to my desk. I thought, that had to be at least 1/4 of a mile of walking, all said and done... Google map scale made it look more like less than 1/8 of mile, including my walks to and from the parking lot. Before I started desk jobs for the last decade I was easily walking several miles a day (my walk to my car in college had to be at least 1/4 of a mile) so it never even dawned on me that now I can't. I knew I had let things go too far, but didn't realize it had gotten this bad...
Stop making excuses as to why you don't want to walk outside. The weather will be decent for awhile depending where you live. And if you start caring about what other people think you will get nowhere fast.

Get some headphones and some music or an audio book and just get moving. Do not worry about how fast your pace is. When you are as out of shape as you say you are then you need to start out with baby steps. if you are consistent you will improve very quickly. In the beginning if you only walk a block that is fine as long as you keep at it.
We haven't mentioned diet, but that is extremely important as well.
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