After discovering that I had a birth defect that could only be corrected with bypass surgery, needless to say, my life and everything about who I was and who I thought I was was gone. The road to recovery is harder than anything that I've ever experienced in my life and I've some pretty terrible things to overcome before this. My surgeon and other doctors highly recommended that I go through a cardio rehabilitation program at a wellness center. Fortunately for me, there is one in the town that I work about 30 minutes away. About 3 months since the surgery it was time for me to start if I was going to do this.
I decided to go for it. I felt so bad most days that it is hard to even get out of bed. I think not being active at this stage is probably critical. So three times a week for one hour, I drag, and I do mean drag, my butt into the wellness center and go through my doctor supervised program.
The first day, they asked me what machine I wanted to start on. I thought, hey you're the doctor. But whatever. I saw bikes. No, hate straddling those itty bitty butt seats. Treadmills, all taken. Arm machines, like riding a bike with your arms, the doc said no - not until my 6th month due to my sternmum, so all that was left was this funky looking recumbent stepper. I actually bonded with it because it had something none of the others had. A big butt seat.
I'm glad I chose it. It is an amazing machine. I wanted one immediately, but can't afford one. They cost nearly $5000. They put no pressure on any joint at all. It is so comfortable and so well designed that it accommodates heights from 4'6" (I'm 5'1") to 6'8" and weights up to 400 pounds. You put you feet on the pedals, slide the seat forward until you don't quite have a full leg extension with the back pedal extended (just like a bike) and then you move the telescopic arms toward you until they are comfortable and you are ready to go. You can set the resistance from 1 to 10. I set mine on 4 and have been going at a pretty good pace for 45 minutes at a time. I notice when my legs get a little tired, I can give them a bit of a break by moving the machine more with my arms and vice versa.
Already, after 3 weeks, I have moved up in pace and resistance without soreness and my EKG looks wonderful. I love this machine. In fact, I will probably extend my cardio rehab sessions for another 16 weeks (the first 16 was included in my insurance).
I'm not going to spout out all the technical specs on this machine as you can find those on the website www.nustep.com. All I will say is there is not a better exercise machine out there for anyone, especially the elderly or the recovering patient that needs rehabilitation of any kind. You can't hurt yourself on it, you can't fall off of it. It is simply a well designed machine for people like us. And I've tried every exercise machine out there.
One of the doctors was telling me (while I was singing the praises of the NuStep) that there is a trial going on where patients with Alzheimer's disease are coming in three times a week and using the NuStep for 30 minutes. After 6 months, they are going to see if they cognitive functions either stay the same or hopefully improve. There is believe from the Alzheimer's foundation that exercise of this nature can help offset, delay and maybe even improve those faced with that terrible ailment.
I certainly hope so. It has made a world of difference to me. It's given me my spark back. Not my fire yet, but I'll take a spark.