I have been doing a LOT of work lately with physical therapy and have not quite decided if it is helping or not. We are in a rebuilding phase and working on strengthening all the little hip muscles that help with balance and lifting your legs up off the ground. The idea is to retrain my brain on how to move, much like how babies have to train their muscles before they can walk, we are doing the same with me. True to form I have been working out overtime on gaining strength and while that is happening, my muscles have also gotten super tight! Tight muscles = weirder walk. So while I am getting stronger I am not necessarily at a point where I am achieving my goal of walking better which includes having a stable heel-toe stride.
Yesterday at the gym I decided to focus on actually walking and not just strengthening the muscles I use to walk. 20 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes of stretching, and 30 minutes on the treadmill which included a 5 minute super slow warm up at .8 mph doing exaggerated lifting up of knee, putting down of heel, and roll to the toe. It is times when I am doing weird things at the gym that I am glad I have a cane. I feel like it wordlessly explains to all those around me: attention everyone, I am not crazy, just focusing on different things than you all need to! That was exhausting so I was happy to move on to the rest of my routine- 20 minutes of walking focusing on form and increasing the mph every minute or so as I felt comfortable at the new speed. I made it up to 2.2 mph which is a .2 mph gain from the last time I did treadmill work. I rounded it out with another 5 minutes focused on exaggerated form and then felt inspired to try walking without holding on the grab bars on the machine.
If an exaggerated high knee to heel-toe walk didn’t make anyone around me giggle then the last part should have, because it certainly made me laugh! I started out slow- .8 mph again and immediately grabbed the side bar. I tried to do a one hand hold, other hand stride, and then alternate each side, but that process just got me turned sideways somehow. I eventually started to feel a bit more comfortable and tried no-hands again and ran right into the front of the machine. I sped things up and waited to start until I was at the end of the treadmill. I managed about 2 strides before I ran into the front of the machine again. After upping the speed to 1.5 I was able to get in maybe 3 or 4 strides before I hit the front of the machine and decided to call it a night, but not before doing a round of pull ups and tricep dips!
Today I woke up pretty sore from it all (especially the arms work at the end), but I notice a different. It is not big, but it is there. Baby steps.