I bought many things in the last year but my smartest purchase was my NuStep which I ordered just after Christmas. It was very expensive and felt like an indulgence. I was wrong; it’s been worth every penny. Why, you ask? Because my legs are significantly stronger, and stronger legs are what make it possible for me to stand up easily and to walk with a walker without falling.
I used the NuStep at my gym for at least a year before I went to the hospital last summer, so I was really glad to see and use it at my first rehab center last August. It wasn’t available at my second rehab facility, but we have one in my building up on the 4th floor exercise room. I just didn’t think it would be practical for me to always have to navigate there and hope no one else was using it.
When I ordered it, my original plan was to use it twice a day but that never happened because of shoes. I wear my cute zipper shoes without the AFO’s on the NuStep but need to change to my other shoes with AFO’s so I can walk. I’m making a wild guess that changing shoes is a lot harder for me than it is for you, but in any case, it takes time and energy and I hoard both as much as possible. It’s also often not very convenient to do several times a day.
I “do NuStep” (as a verb) 4-5 days a week for 30 minutes and am now on resistance level 5. I watch TV or read on my Kindle while I work out, often with a load of laundry in the wash. I can start a load, get on the machine and work out for 30 minutes, then move clothes from washer to dryer. That saves me from backtracking on thicker carpet, which hard for rolling the chair, so being able to piggyback projects makes me happy.
My legs are now wicked strong, or at least in comparison with last summer. The NuStep also works my upper body and I can usually feel it in my arms and across my back the next morning. Climbing on the machine is still a challenge. I use a leg lifter to move the left foot across the middle of the machine and to get the feet up on the pedals, and I wrap a gait belt around my thighs just above the knee to keep my right knee from flopping out while it’s working. Getting off is much easier and I can be back in my wheelchair within 3 minutes.
The machine itself is quiet, easy to set up, and easy to use. It was used, which helped keep the cost down, but in perfect condition. Ellie and Emma have accepted that it lives here even though it’s big and doesn’t offer them treats. Having it inside my apartment was another brilliant decision, if I do say so myself. I have no excuse for not using it because it’s always there and no one else is already on it when I’m ready to go. It’s much more practical for me than having a guest bed that’s never used.
If you have access to a NuStep at your gym, give it a whirl.