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I start by removing my wheelchair footrests
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Treadmill Exercise

Since I am now paraplegic, I cannot use our home treadmill for walking exercise. But I figured out how to get some exercise out of it anyway. To start with, I sit at the front of the treadmill in my wheelchair, facing the treadmill. I remove my wheelchair footrests so I can sit closer to the treadmill.

I sit facing the front of the treadmill, feet on the belt.
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I set both of my feet on the treadmill surface and then fiddle with the Treadmill controls until I finally get it started. I use the treadmill at one mile per hour - the lowest speed setting.

My feet are pulled away from me when the treadmill starts
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I start the treadmill moving and it pulls my legs out straight - away from me. My heels will drag on the treadmill surface until I do something.

I alternately lift and lower each leg.
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I put a hand under each leg just behind the knee and alternately lift my legs. (one hand per leg) As I pick up each leg my foot automatically comes back toward the wheelchair. I lower the leg to the surface of the treadmill and it moves the leg away from me.

The motion is like walking backwards
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Alternately lifting my legs makes it appear as if I am "walking backwards" on the treadmill. While it is easy for me to lift each leg once or twice, the exercise is quite strenuous if I continue it for a long period. My heart gets up to an aerobic level and my arms eventually feel like they are burning. I take one-minute rests frequently. During the rests I put my feet on each side of the treadmill - off of the moving surface.

animated gif showing walking motion
I have included an animated .gif picture here to give you the idea of how it looks when I am lifting each leg. If your browser is configured to allow animated gif files you can get a better idea of what the exercise looks like.

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