Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fitness after 50. Week 2. Stair Machine

Is it really time to write Week 2 of this series?!  These take a lot of courage.  Here is the premise for the posts.

2016 was quite a year in the health department.  It began with strange, lower abdominal pain and ended with two surgeries six weeks apart, along with a challenging three month physical therapy regime.  Hoo boy!  What a year!  During this down time, I gained a couple of pounds each month.  'Probably normal given such circumstances.   Now that I've been released to work out again, I am not quite sure what to do or where to begin.  If you'd like to read previous posts, here they are

This moment in time is quite overwhelming.  The goal of physical therapy was to get my injured side back to 80%, so there are some balance issues, and, frankly, quite a bit of fear.  I've decided to write a series of posts about my journey, both physical and emotional.  I am certainly not an expert, but I'd like to tell you what works for me.  What am I?  A fifty something grandmother that enjoys mud runs, heavy lifting, and aerial fitness.  You can expect to see recipes and nutrition ideas along with book reviews, basic workouts, flexibility and running schedules.   I hope I have the courage to talk about the failures and disappointments, too.  We'll see!  Suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.  Right now, I need all the support I can get!


Week 2.

Part of physical therapy was climbing stairs.  I don't remember which week, but I was still wearing my brace, when I was asked to use one of those stair machines that looks like an escalator for five minutes each day.  Specific instructions were given about making sure both legs are working equally.  My therapist did a great job explaining that this might be mentally difficult.  I would need to be very cognizant of what my body was doing.  She asked that I pause and think through what it takes to step correctly.  Head up.  Tummy in.  Step straight up and forward.  No limping allowed.  WHEW!  The first time I looked at that machine, it might as well have been Mount Everest.  It felt

Insurmountable.




 With my brace in the car, I walked into my gym, climbed on board, started the machine, and held on to both side rails.  Level of speed was completely my choice.  Five minutes was all that was asked.  OK.  Gulp!  No limping.  Head up.  Tummy in.  Step straight up and forward.  Yikes!



This is similar to the one at my gym

PHOTO SOURCE

I spent the first 30 seconds at Level 1.  It was OK, so I tried Level 2.  After 30 seconds, my confidence had grown a bit.  Level 3 was attempted for another 30 seconds.  Then I went with Level 4.  This was the right speed for my first attempt.  I stayed at Level 4 until I got to four minutes.  Then I went back down to Level 3. For the last 30 seconds, I bumped down to Level 2.  As I stepped off the machine my weak side was very tired, but I was not in pain.  Maybe Mount Everest was not so impossible after all.  ;-)

This was my 5 minute routine for the first week with the Stair Machine.

30 seconds - Level 1
30 seconds - Level 2
30 seconds - Level 3
2 min 30 seconds - Level 4
30 seconds - Level 3
30 seconds - Level 2


Then my therapist asked for 10 minutes.  OK.  I had gained some strength and could go a little faster.  Head up.  Tummy in.  No limping.  Straight forward.  Can I just say how difficult it is to NOT limp when one side is weaker?  Good grief, Charlie Brown!  It is a surprising challenge to make sure my body goes straight forward and does not rock side to side.

10 minute routine for Week 2 and Week 3

20 seconds - Level 1
20 seconds - Level 2
20 seconds - Level 3
20 seconds - Level 4
20 seconds - Level 5
7 minutes - Level 6, bouncing down to Level 4, as needed
20 seconds - Level 5
20 seconds - Level 4
20 seconds - Level 3
20 seconds - Level 2


Over the course of two weeks, my strength and endurance improved tremendously.  You know what happened next.  My therapist asked for 20 minutes.  Here's how that looks.

20 minute routine, beginning Week 4

20 seconds - Level 2
20 seconds - Level 3
20 seconds - Level 4
20 seconds - Level 5
20 seconds - Level 6
20 seconds - Level 7
20 seconds - Level 8
20 seconds - Level 9
15 minutes - Level 10, bouncing to lower levels, as needed
20 seconds - Level 9
20 seconds - Level 8
20 seconds - Level 7
20 seconds - Level 6
20 seconds - Level 5
20 seconds - Level 4
20 seconds - Level 3


For me, it works best to begin at a very low level and gradually bump up the speed.  I don't like to end out of breath, so I do the reverse at the end of the workout, going down gradually, stopping at a very low speed.  There are days Level 10 feels fine and other days it just doesn't.  At this point, I allow myself to be a beginner and just go with what level I can sustain that day.  On days Level 10 is OK, but I need to catch my breath, I bounce down to Level 8 for 30 seconds and then go right back to Level 10.  On days Level 10 is not going to happen, I gradually go back down the scale until I find the level that is challenging, but not frightening.  Since I am cautious with the speed, listening to my body each day, the stair machine has not been painful for me.  It has been a great tool for strength and endurance.

In case you don't like the idea of a gym, I searched for some options at home.  TARGET actually has several.


Home Version of a Stepper

PHOTO SOURCE

It doesn't have to be complicated.

PHOTO SOURCE

Have you ever tried a stair machine?  What worked for you?

;-)  -Marci

6 comments:

  1. That is wonderful! Your attitude is grand. I love your spirit.
    Merry Christmas. God bless and keep you.

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  2. Wow! Good job! I've never even heard of a stair machine, but it's needed for sure. I hope to start my physical therapy exercises again, soon. Keep up your great start :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Will you please keep me posted on how you are feeling? -Marci

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  3. Wow Marci, that can't be easy, but you've pushed through and I'm sure you'll just go from strength to strength. Wishing you so much love. I'll be thinking of you.

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  4. Sounds like you endured oat last year but your motivation is awesome! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday.

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