Over the age of 70 and Using a Home Treadmill for the First Time
I recently introduced my 74 year old Grandmother to a Home Treadmill after been advised by her Doctor that she needed to do more exercise to lower her cholesterol. Now my Grandmother has never used a treadmill before and she is not particularly good when it comes to technology as she has a tendency to panic if she has to press buttons and think about what she is doing.
Learning to Walk Again
So once we had got her on the machine and attached to the safety key it was time to press start. The Home Treadmill we were using was the JLL D100 it has the lowest start up speed in the U.K of just 0.3km per hour so was a great machine to get her started. The machine starts and my Grandmother is holding onto the handrails for support, it’s going at a low speed and she forgets how to walk properly.
It was quite entertaining, she was too busy thinking about the buttons that she had forgotten how to walk, she had developed a stamping motion and her steps were really close together.
After giving her some feedback on her walk we tried again, this time she started to wiggle hips whilst stamping her feet. We got her off the machine and asked her to walk from one side of the room to the other, she managed to do this. So we put her on the machine and tried again, this time she had her stride right however she was walking with her left leg rigidly straight.
At this point she was feeling slightly more comfortable with the machine and you could see her visibly start to relax so we tried again and thankfully she was able to walk as she normally would.
Walking with Support
My Grandmother has suffered from Vertigo so she isn’t always as steady on her feet as she likes to think she is. The handrails of the machine gave my Nan added support and she was able to walk in a way that felt comfortable for her. Walking whilst gripping the handrails also made it easy for her to change the speed without reaching forward to the monitor as the controls are built into the handrail.
Using the handrails for support also alleviates the pressure put onto joints so if you suffer with your knees particularly during the colder months then using support could be beneficial to you.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It’s not about going fast it is about consistency and what feels comfortable for you. My Nan was quite happy to casually stroll at 0.5km/h as that matched her natural speed. Don’t push yourself too much it is better to feel confident with the speed you are at than struggling with a speed you think you should be working to. You can always increase it the more you use the machine as your endurance and fitness levels will increase over time
Stopping the Machine
Now asking my Grandmother to do two things at once was probably just as challenging as asking her to walk normally on the Treadmill. For the first few goes she was stopping the treadmill by pulling the safety key out. This was purely because she was almost stopping instantly and then finding she couldn’t press the red stop button. Again though this was something she needed to practice and after a few goes and realising where she needed to stand on the machine she had also worked out how to press the stop button without having to stretch.
Fear of the Unknown
The fear of not knowing how to do something can prevent you from trying new things. Why not try a new fitness routine? You do not have to be a teenager to use technology; you just need someone with a bit of time and patience to help you understand how it works. Once you have the basics sorted though you will be well on your way to building your confidence, increasing your fitness levels and starting a new work out.
This is what my Grandmother had to say about her experience on the JLL D100 Treadmill
“To start with I was a bit nervous of the Treadmill as I had not been on one before but everything was explained thoroughly until I had grasped it all. At first I did not seem to know how to walk on it properly but with a little guidance I started to enjoy it and I started to walk naturally. What I liked about it was I could go at a nice gentle pace but I was still getting the all over exercise that I needed. The handrails I thought were good especially say for someone who would usually use the support of a Zimmer frame”.
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