Most fitness enthusiasts have a love-hate relationship with the treadmill. On the one hand, it’s boring, while on the other, it’s often necessary to get going through long winters or rainy mornings. But rest assured, a treadmill is one of the most versatile fitness machines, both at the gym and at home. Running on a treadmill has its own benefits, such as protection from the elements and unsafe running conditions. Above all, treadmills are a great way to encourage people to exercise regularly, and regular workout is a very important factor in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. And exercising regularly is a great way to keep the body in good shape.
Treadmills are undoubtedly very versatile exercise machines because they are easy to use and put less stress on the body than many types of workouts. But when you take your runs indoors, you need to make sure that you’re doing it right so you can avoid injuries and get the most out of your treadmill runs. Using a treadmill correctly will help you to burn more calories and use proper muscles. To help you out, we have compiled a list of a few common treadmill mistakes, and how to avoid them.
Skipping Your Warm-Up
It’s equally tempting to jump on the treadmill, increase the incline or pace setting to your desired levels and get going. Nevertheless, just as the outdoor running, it is vital that you should warm-up before start the challenging part of the run. If you feel quite dizzy after taking the very first steps off your treadmill, it is because you skipped your cool-down when your run finished. You may feel like jumping off the treadmill as soon as the timer hits your goal time for your run. However, stopping suddenly can cause light-headedness because your blood pressure and heart rate drop rapidly. After you finish you run, make sure you cool down by walking or slowly jogging for 5 to 10 minutes before you step off the treadmill.
Throwing off Your Posture
Anything that throws off your posture, whether it be hunching over to watch your feet or leaning a little left for a better view of the TV, is generally a bad idea. You’re prone to losing your own balance when staring at your feet while running on the treadmill. This can cause serious strain on your neck as well as misalignment for the rest of your body, and causing poked-out hips, which strains your knees, hips, and spine. The longer you’re in that position, the higher your risk of injury becomes. You’re also likely to offset your balance. Try to find a treadmill with a screen attached, so you can face forward with your chin parallel to the ground.
Doing the Same Thing Over and Over
It’s easy to fall into a fixed routine once you hit the treadmill. However, one of the biggest mistakes people tend to make is they do the exact same thing every time, and they wonder why they don’t see results. It becomes a habit, however, the calories you burn will be fewer because your muscles are much more efficient and your body adapts well to your practice. So shake things up a bit, by varying the intensity, speed, or incline. Try a longer or slower run one day, while keeping a shorter and faster one for another day. It’s great to mix things up and you can see results sooner, plus you save ample time in the process.
Hanging onto the Handrails
This is probably the most common treadmill mistake people make. Just walk into any gym and you are sure to find a few runners cheating their workouts by using the handrails as a safety net. Holding onto the handrails might seem like a safety measure, but your workout will suffer. First, it forces you to hunch over, an inefficient running form that can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain. Keep your posture straight and erect. You also need to be vertical with a slight lean. But not be forward so that you will not grab the treadmills front. Besides, you should let your feet come down under the center of gravity of your body, which is not far from the front.
Running on a Steep Incline
Some runners believe that they are getting a good workout by challenging themselves with practicing an entire workout with a steep incline. But that much straight hill running is never a good idea and could lead to injuries. Plus the steeper the incline, the more likely you’ll be holding onto the bars to keep yourself on the belt. Try to keep your incline levels at a practice level, and one that you can maintain. Also, you should avoid going above a 7% incline because it places too much strain on your back, hips, and ankles.
Running With the Same Pace
It’s not always a good idea for you to hop on your treadmill, chose a pace, then stick with it in your entire run. Runners often find a pace that is mildly challenging, and then stick with it. It is important to switch it up. Not only should you be increasing your pace as it gets easier, you should also be varying your pace within your workout. Also, when you’re running outdoors, you’re running at varying speeds because of different factors such as the wind, hills, traffic lights and changing weather conditions. So, in order to mimic outdoor running conditions, you should try varying the pace or the incline throughout the run.
Stepping Off While Moving
One of the biggest reasons why runners injure themselves on treadmills is they step off a fast-moving treadmill. It might seem like taking a water break without slowing down the belt saves you a great deal of time in the long run, but not if it makes you trip and fall first. If you need to run to the bathroom or take a water break, slow the machine down to a very reduced pace and lower the incline. It’s better to make sure you have everything you need before you start your run, so won’t be tempted to hop off.
Wearing Inappropriate Shoes
Before choosing your running shoes or sneakers, you had better make sure of its function rather than its style. You should search for shoes with additional padding in their soles so that your foot bones and your heels are protected from the tremendous impact of the foot strike. Besides, you should keep in mind that your shoes are specifically designed for running or walking, not for cardio or dance classes.
Perhaps the worst mistake people make is they do not have the proper form when running on the treadmill. It’s common for people to feel nervous about falling off a treadmill, so they change their running form every now and then. You should be running the same way on the treadmill as you do outdoors. Make sure to keep your gaze forward and avoid craning your neck in one direction just so you can see a TV. Another common form mistake is overstriding or landing heel first with your foot well ahead of your body’s center of gravity. Overstriding creates a braking force with the belt as the belt is moving forward. To avoid this, try to keep your feet under your body, not ahead or behind it.
Going Into Autopilot Mode
Going into autopilot mode is easy to do. When you repeat the same works many times, your body adapts to them, thus, your results stay the same. Many people jump on the treadmill, read through a magazine during their workout, and hardly break a sweat in the process. Make sure you’re paying attention to your body during your run. Frequency, duration, and intensity are three important components in training. To have a safe and an efficient workout, you just need to increase one of these variables every time you hop on a treadmill. Always make sure to get the most out of your workout.
Using a treadmill may be a simple choice, but you can always develop some bad habits along the process, which might destroy your own results or even cause injuries. If you do end up doing a lot of treadmill running, follow these tips for safe treadmill running. Hopefully, through our common treadmill blunders, you can evaluate an appropriate workout plan as well as find a right way to make the most out of your treadmill runs.