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Treadmill for Klutzes

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Old 09-07-2006, 04:31 PM   #1
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Default Treadmill for Klutzes

Ok, I'm a bit of a klutz. I have rhythm and coordination to some extent, so I'm not talking about screwing up in a step aerobics class (I have other issues with that). I'm talking about balance, which I lack completely and utterly. An acrobat I'll never be.

I'm no stranger to the treadmill, so this is nothing new, but I've been doing it at the gym nearly every day lately instead of walking outside, because I get home too late and I'm not big on walking at 5:00am when it's dark. I kind of love it, actually, and I find that I keep wanting to walk faster and faster and track how intense my workouts are. All good stuff, right? Well, yes, except I can't let go of those side rails. I try to rest my hands on them very lightly so I'm not supporting myself and therefore not getting as much of a workout, but I really want to take them off and move my arms a bit like a normal person. I set the incline at 1.0, but even when it's flat I still can't take my hands off.

Is anyone else as completely unbalanced as I am? When I take my hands off, my legs go a little insane and it's only a matter of time before I'm nearly sailing backward into the ellipticals behind me.

Does anyone have any advice for a klutz like me?
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Old 09-07-2006, 04:47 PM   #2
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What kind of speed are you going? I'd keep it at about 2 mph until you get used to it, then increase the speed a little. For me, I do about 2.3 mph at a 7.0 incline...there's more of a workout from the incline than the speed.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:17 PM   #3
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Start slow! speed of 3.5 is a pretty fast walk. I usually start it out about 2 something and then work my way up. I was falling all over the place and can now do 5.0 or better. You just work your way into it. I find that the incline makes it harder so I would start with no incline and work my way into that also.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:26 PM   #4
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It is not just you. I am the same way. I have been doing the c25k running program on the treadmill. I just finished week 8 and still cannot let go of the handlebars for more than a few seconds. This is both when walking and running. I go a little to the right (or is it left?) when trying to walk straight. It is not very noticeable except to me. I seemed to have gotten this from my grandmother and mother because they also have trouble walking in a straight line. I believe this is why I have trouble letting go of the treadmill handlebars. I can alternate between either hand, but one hand must always be holding on. Strange, I know.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:31 PM   #5
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If it makes you feel any better, I have literally tripped over lines painted on the ground. Seriously. I am a running joke in my family. I did theatre in High school, and right before the each show opened, my theater teacher assigned a boy to walk around with me and catch me when I fell down the stairs. And yes, he had to catch me a couple of times. So don't feel bad
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses, everyone! Today I took my hands off for a minute at a time every few minutes just to practice.

As for going slower, I've considered that but I just can't go that slow. I warm up a little, then go 3.5 for 30 minutes with an interval in the middle at 3.8. When I walk slowly, I just don't feel like I'm doing enough. I like sweating all over the place. So I think I'll keep going and just practice taking my hands off. I figure if I'm sweating like crazy and my legs feel it and the scale keeps moving down, holding the rails a few more weeks won't hurt.

webweevil, I plan on trying the C25K program down the line, when I'm in better shape. My big goal is to run a 5K next September. That's a long way away, but I have lots of weight to lose. I've been following the "Advice on Becoming a Runner" thread because I'll eventually join you guys!
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Old 09-08-2006, 06:30 AM   #7
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Sounds good Lisa. See ya there!
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:24 AM   #8
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Lisa, I don't blame you for not wanting to lose that good sweat, but maybe you should practice walking slowly on the treadmill w/no hands when it's not a specific workout time. My reasoning is that if you can walk at a certain pace on the ground you can walk at that same pace on the treadmill .... and then work yourself up by 0.1 or so increments per week...
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Old 09-08-2006, 08:28 AM   #9
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Lisa, it sounds as if you are doing great... that should be a good speed. I tend to be the opposite LOL and dance and do exercises while on the treadmill and get on it backwards; so far I have not severely damaged myself on it. But I think it is good -- as you are doing -- to just take your hands off for short periods of time and be especially cautious at those times. Bet you will soon feel more comfortable and assured on it!! Keep up the good work. And just keeping your hands there for balance without putting your weight on it is good too.

I couldn't do it super slowly either. T'would drive me nuts
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Old 09-09-2006, 05:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilene View Post
My reasoning is that if you can walk at a certain pace on the ground you can walk at that same pace on the treadmill
If the ground and the treadmill feel the same to you, you have wonderful balance! To me, it's a huge difference. I walked outside today for 3 miles in 45 minutes, so my pace was even faster than what I do on the treadmill and I certainly didn't have balance problems. I don't think the speed is really the problem, because I lose my balance on a treadmill even during my cooldown at a slow pace. The problem is that it's moving forward and I'm not. On the ground, I'm moving forward and the ground's staying where it's supposed to be!

That's a great idea, though, Ilene, about practicing when it's not workout time. And I do try to just lightly keep my hands there for balance, like Misti said. I plan to just keep doing what I'm doing and practice longer intervals with my hands off. I think some of us are blessed with good balance and some of us have to work at it, but yes...the moving treadmill and the stationary ground are very different!
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Old 09-09-2006, 08:17 PM   #11
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Lisa -- I just had a thought, I have pretty good balance, I agree, and I attribute that to core workouts. Maybe that's something you can look into. If you workout at a gym do they have Bosu balls? If they do, try to stand on one for a while. Then once you get used to that try standing on the Bosu ball doing all exercises that need to be done standing, bicep curls, etc...I skip rope on a Bosu ball, it's really easy on the knees and lots of fun...

This is a Bosu ball in case you're wondering...

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Old 09-10-2006, 10:12 AM   #12
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Cool! I think they do have one of those, but wouldn't I break that thing with my 250-pound self? No, seriously, that might be a good thing for me to try.

I'm working on my core slowly by doing ab work, and I can tell I'm getting stronger. It's just a slow process, I guess.
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Old 09-10-2006, 11:09 AM   #13
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FWIW: I have never been comfortable on a treadmill and I always feel like I'm about to fall. I've worked Bosu a lot in the past and that didn't really help, although I'd give it a shot if you haven't. I also can't run as fast on the treadmill as I can on the road--I find it much much harder.

Basically the feeling of sliding, and that's what a treadmill feels like to me, is highly unnatural to me, and I'm in a heightened state of alertness the whole time and it is most unpleasant. I also cannot skate or ski for the same reasons. Having said that, when I need to use a treadmill, I do, and I'm pretty certain if I used it for some time it would get better. But usually when I'm stuck inside, I'll pick an elliptical over a treadmill any day.

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Old 09-10-2006, 11:16 AM   #14
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might make sure ya aren't tryin to look down and walk on the treadmill ..everytime i look down i nearly trip .. i have to find a spot on the *horizon* and i am ok ..but if i look at those numbers or anything like that i have to grab hold til i get back to my horizon
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Old 09-10-2006, 09:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wndranne
I also can't run as fast on the treadmill as I can on the road--I find it much much harder.
And I am the total opposite I can run really fast on the treadmill, although not for long periods of time... What I have a difficult time doing outside is doing intervals, going faster and then slower, on the treadmill I at least have the numbers helping me gauge the speed... I do prefer running outside though, the treadmill bores me to tears

owira -- I agree that when I look down at the treadmill I get off balance too... The treadmills at my gym are so awesome, each one has it's own monitor, so I just look straight at the monitor...
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