I started exercising after getting frightening heart palpitations early in the morning while I was still asleep. It truly gave me a scare and made me realise just how important it was to be healthy. Before then, I simply ate all I wanted and spent most of the day lying in bed if I didn’t have to go out. I was living an extremely unhealthy lifestyle and the sad thing was, I wasn’t even concerned.
(Goes to show that often, we won’t be worried about our health until something actually happens to us, that really frighten us!)
I first started on the treadmill in the afternoons when I couldn’t go for a walk around my neighborhood because of bad weather conditions.
On days that were raining, I’d walk about 24 minutes on the treadmill going at 3.1 mph. When I went outside, I would run for about 10 minutes down and up the road, then spend the rest walking slowly with my grandmother.
I moved to the USA in 2011 and we bought a treadmill shortly after. I decided to increase my time to about half an hour on about 3.5mph.
Soon, I decided to increase my walk time after realising that people should walk average about 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy, which was about 5 miles.
I started walking 4 mph with incline 3-4 around this time.
A few months later, I decided that incline 3 was nowhere near as high as I wanted it to be, so I increased the incline up to 10 with my walking speed at 4.3mph. That was a major mistake because my body wasn’t ready for this intense exercise at all, which made me lean fully on the treadmill. (I used my arms to lean my entire body weight on it!)
In reality, I was probably doing incline 2 at around 3.5mph because I put most of my weight on my hands (which erm, broke it a few months later).
The right handle of our treadmill broke because I leaned on it too much, which made the treadmill look as if it was a limper. However, we still used it for about a month. This was when I did the impossible. I started walking on incline 4-5, 4 mph and this nearly killed me. Reason? I wasn’t holding onto anything at all! I remember the horrible experience that each minute felt like an hour. Not even videos on the ipad could distract me from the soreness and tiredness I was suffering. At this point, I literally took breaks every 5 minutes because I could not handle it. I was out of breath, my heart beat so fast I thought it would pop out and my legs were so sore I could barely move.
(This was literally how I felt!)
However, my body slowly got used to it. After about a week, I noticed major improvements. I was able to stay on for about 15-30 minutes at a time.
After a month, I discovered that I was sometimes even able to do the entire walk without a rest. Though, I always noticed that after the first 15 minutes, the walk got much easier. Before then, it has always been a struggle.
I kept ranging from incline 4-6 around this time, and didn’t move up very much.
I went to Australia around March and realised that my treadmill at home had a much greater incline. I was determined to keep up my 4mph but still walk on the incline. That started off very difficult too, because I feel that each level of difficulty takes at least one or two weeks for the body to get used to, and you literally have to push yourself beyond the limits to achieve it.
Having gotten used to the incline in Australia, I went back to the US and discovered I was able to do incline 12 at 4.1 mph without leaning on anything with the occasional touching of the handles when I got very tired but only for a few seconds!
Advice for Treadmill and Walks
1) To be able to walk longer and endure harder inclines, you must step out of your comfort zone for a week or two and force yourself. It’s very hard to do that, and sometimes it requires force. I personally prefer to walk shorter but harder, my husband likes to walk longer but easier.
2) Watch long running shows like these while you’re walking. It makes time fly!
3) Work towards at least one hour at 4 mph each day if you possibly can.
4) Don’t make your incline too high or speed too fast if you can’t keep up with it. It’s much better to walk without leaning on the treadmill than lean your entire body on it because you couldn’t handle the incline or speed.
5) Treadmill walking is as important as outdoor walking, because it’s at a set speed which helps you to keep your speed.