Whether you are training for a race, want to lose weight, or simply want to get in shape, a treadmill is a versatile option. But it’s important to remember that you’ll only get the most out of your treadmill workout if you use the machine correctly.
Below are many common mistakes treadmill users make and how to avoid them so you can stay safe and maximize your session.
Wearing the right shoes is essential to making your treadmill workout safe. If you run, you know that running is a high-impact activity that can be hard on your joints, so it’s best to choose shoes with lots of padding, especially in the soles.
Footwork and Posture
Your footwork and posture are incredibly important to getting a great workout on your treadmill. If you’re a runner, first make sure your stride is efficient. Avoid striding too far, as this will use a lot of excess energy, increase your risk for injury, and wear you out more quickly. You’ll know you’re overstriding if you feel like you’re leaping up into the air. Three steps per second is a good stride rate to shoot for.
As you run or walk, don’t look at your feet. This can cause neck strain and add stress to your knees, hips, and spine. Instead, look straight ahead and keep your shoulders level with your hips, knees, and lower back staying in a straight line with your feet. Also make sure you aren’t slapping your feet on the treadmill as this flat-footed style can cause muscle strain and balance loss. Try to stay as vertical as possible while landing on the ball or your foot or midfoot rather than on your heel.
Finally, make sure you aren’t hunched forward as you run as it can cause balance issues and lower back pain. Engage your core and use an upright posture, slowing down your speed if necessary.
If your arms are swinging wildly while you run or walk, you’re burning energy you could put to better use. It’s best to start off with your arms at your sides until you get to a speed where they can help you. As you start to jog, keep your arms parallel at 90 degree angles, but avoid being too tense.
In addition, don’t hold on to the treadmill bars. If you walk or run without supporting your weight and you’ll burn more calories and prevent injury.
Maximize Your Routine
Even if you have outstanding form, if you aren’t varying your routine or are pushing yourself too hard, your workout won’t pay off as much as it could. It’s easy to get into the habit of doing the same routine, but your body will quickly adapt to this and over time you’ll burn fewer calories. Try to change some part of your workout once a month. Walking outside, using an elliptical, or riding a stationary bike will keep your muscles challenged and help you avoid joint problems from doing repetitive motions.
If you feel overly sore or have aches and pains that are progressing, you’re probably overtraining. Try to do high-intensity workouts only two to three times a week and don’t be afraid to take a few days off to rest up when you need to!
Now that you know about some of the most common treadmill mistakes, start your safe fitness routine by downloading this month’s promotion and saving on treadmills and other equipment.