Tuesday, March 24, 2009


February 4, 1999

I finally bought the family a membership to the YMCA. It is cheaper than the Columbia Association pools, etc. Once Dad began going to the gym, he, of course, thought I should do the same. Since I lost my walking partner, I haven't been walking. The YMCA has a physical trainer on hand who does evaluations of your physical condition and makes recommendations for training. Mike also shows newcomers how to manage the "toys," as he calls them, in the gym. He's a rotund power house with a graying crew cut and a big smile.

On my first visit, Mike showed me how walk on the treadmill. It is an automatic belt with variable speeds. You work to keep up with it. At first, I felt like I was tipping over all the time. Mike made me hold on to the handle grips at each side of the belt and kept reminding me to stand upright. He set the machine at a strolling pace and left me alone with it. As I walked, I read a monitor in front of me that told me how fast I was walking, how far I had walked, how steep the grade (adjustable), and how many calories I had burned. I walked for 45 minutes and felt good. I was dismayed that I hadn't walked very far or burned very many calories when I finished.

I came next day, went to the treadmill without a guide, figured out how to turn it on and began walking. I had noticed people reading as they walked and biked and figured I could study for seminary as I did the treadmill. I brought little book on the teachings of the prophets that I wanted to read--also my glasses. A woman next to me offered a book holder that hooked onto the monitor in front of me. It was convenient, but it covered the statistics that I was so interested in the day before. I noticed that I bounced up and down a lot as I walk and decided I could get treadmill-sick if I read. I have never been able to read in the car. I increased my walking speed to the point where I felt I would get some decent distance and calorie burning and felt proud of myself at 3.7 miles per hour.

It wasn't long before I wanted to see my statistics--how long I had been walking, etc. I was comfortable on the treadmill to the point that I no longer held the handle grips for balance but let my arms swing freely at my side. It was so easy and nice, walking to music. I reached out casually to move the book to one side and knocked the book and my glasses down onto the moving belt. Concerned about my little book, I tried to retrieve it. I wondered somehow if it would get caught in the machine (shouldn't have worried about the book!). Just that much distraction was enough to throw me off balance. When I knew I was in trouble I reached out to turn the machine off as my legs kept traveling backwards. Of course, I fell onto the belt. I was aware that I couldn't get up, couldn't get off, and that my left arm was getting a terrific floor burn as the belt kept moving under me. Eventually I hit the wall behind the treadmill. It sounds like a process, but it all happened faster than I could think--something like a car accident. Three men jumped off their machines to come to my aid. I was more embarrassed than anything, but my left thumb and arm hurt, and I knew I had scraped my knee. Mike made sure he checked every spot, offered ice for my thumb. When I insisted on getting back on, he walked beside me asking me questions until he was sure my head was clear.

I went back next day but didn't let go of the handle grips at all. Took a Tylenol so that I could go to sleep that night. Everything hurt. My thumb is red, blue and purple, but my floor burns aren't bad. I had thought the gym would be a safe place to exercise in the winter. No worry about ice. I guess there is no really safe place for me.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

I think it is so great that your mom can laugh at her herself! I love that!!