If you ask most avid walkers or runners, there’s a reason the word “treadmill” is synonymous with the word “Boring!” with a capital “B.”
ORA Orthopedics’ Dr. Edward Connolly understands the reluctance to subject oneself to a mind-numbing treadmill workout in the colder months. “I don’t like treadmills either, and yes, when our options for gym workouts are limited during the pandemic, we must find a way to stay fit, especially when our minds resist the inevitable boredom of running in place.”
Dr. Connolly’s new Peloton® treadmill, one of many in a new generation of sophisticated and virtual reality exercise options, could be just what the doctor ordered. “On any given day, I can run in a national park out west, a country lane in Vermont, or along Miami Beach, all while the rain and snow flies outside my window.
“You can do whatever you want: Take a class. Run a 5K anywhere in the world. Design your own distance, time, or training goals. My whole family loves the virtual reality aspects, and it gets my kids moving, which is always a good sign.”
Dr. Connolly says that while this new generation of treadmills beats boredom, they are expensive, and advises the first step is to adjust your mindset and attitude toward exercise. “These treadmills are very sophisticated and take commitment.
“One concern for patients is that they invest in expensive equipment, lose interest, then the treadmills are a just a high-tech clothes hanger. It’s a waste of money if you don’t think through your goals first.
“I get a lot of these questions about how to start a program and stay committed, especially from older patients. There are many paths to reach the summit. The biggest battle is in your mind.”
Dr. Connolly offers the following advice for long-term fitness:
1. Do something you love. “Think about the basics. Otherwise, you won’t do it. That goes for exercise, length, and intensity. If you want to run your first 5K, there are plenty of plans online to do so gradually.”
2. If it hurts, find another exercise. “I hate yoga. I don’t like the poses. I realized yoga was not a good option for me. People know the difference between soreness and pain, so listen to your body.”
3. Beware of the “all or nothing” mindset. “I like to say long-term success isn’t like high school football. This is not ‘NO PAIN NO GAIN.’ Slow and steady wins this race.”
4. Your goal is to move on a regular basis. “Ideally, get five days a week in, but mix it up and don’t do same activity every day. I’m not on the treadmill every day. Especially as we get older, running can be hard on knees and hips, so work up slowly to your goals. Strength-training, stretching, and balance exercises are also important.”
Dr. Connolly says that with all new regimens, make sure your physician clears you for exercise before beginning cardiovascular and strength-training programs in order to prevent injury.