Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dystonia on a treadmill

Treadmills have always scared me. I'm afraid I'll fall or stumble and hurt myself. Yesterday I learned that my fear was rational.

I wanted to try the treadmill, because I thought I'd be walking my service dog, so I need to practice running and walking. It turned out to be a BAD IDEA. The treadmill has a lot of free space, so you have to think about where your body is in relation to space and time. Whoever said that my dystonia only affects my upper body should be forced to endure what I did. The effects on my lower body are subtle and very stressed induced.

I tried to get the treadmill up to what I though was a usual pace and I started running flat footed. I tried to stop running that way and ran normally for a few paces and then my right knee locked up. It wouldn't unlock until I went back to a walk. I've noticed that my right knee very occasionally locks up at night since I was little. My parents used to call it a charlie horse. Now that I think about it, it would lock up after experiencing a particular type of emotional stress - hard to put into words, but unresolved arguing. In this case I was arguing with my body and losing.

So I walked. Then I started to get a bit tired and I swayed to the left as I sometimes do when tired. It used to result in me falling, but now I have better one-legged balance thanks to my son's PT, so I recovered.

I did 15 minutes as I promised myself I'd do. But I'm done with treadmills. I can walk or run with my dog, but no treadmill will be involved. My right knee still hurts slightly.

I do much better on the elliptical. There is no unmapped space on the Precor. Your feet go into these foot wells. Your hands go onto the handlebars. My body knows what it should be doing. I get a much better workout on the elliptical, because my body is not fighting against its dystonia.

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