How to use a Treadmill correctly?

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How to use a Treadmill correctly?

When it comes to exercising on a treadmill, you must know how to use a treadmill correctly.

Although some find running outdoors more appealing, there are instances when a treadmill will come in handy.

Using a treadmill has an advantage over the weather and lets you modify your pace and incline to get the specific workout routine that you desire.

Features of a Treadmill

A treadmill is a stationary cardio machine that allows you to walk, jog, or run right in the comforts of your home.

The device typically features adjustable speeds and inclines to adjust your workout, letting you mimic a hill with just a press of a button. 

Most commercial treadmills will go as fast as 12 mph and reach an incline of 10 percent or higher. The features of the home models vary on price. The lighter, manual treadmills are less costly, while the heavier, motorized versions can fetch a much higher price. 

Treadmills are often used by individuals dedicated to their workouts but unable to exercise outdoors due to ice or excessive heat or due to time constraints.

For those who live in an urban environment, running outdoors might not be a desirable activity due to traffic and air quality.

Treadmills can also help you simulate specific racetracks, especially for taking part in courses with different terrain.

A guide on how to use a Treadmill correctly

Treadmills will allow you to mimic running or to walk outside to increase your cardiovascular fitness.

The majority of treadmills are built with digital consoles and allows you to tweak the speed and incline configurations to suit your fitness requirements.

When using a treadmill, I will share specific things you need to take into consideration.

If you are using the device incorrectly, you might be at risk for a short-term or even a long-term injury.

Let us now take a close look at the steps on how to use a treadmill correctly.

Step 1

Acquaint yourself with the treadmill you will be using. I suggest learning how to modify the incline and speed. If you are using a treadmill at the gym, you can ask for assistance from the staff.

Step 2

Perform proper stretching before stepping onto the treadmill. I recommend performing 5-10 dynamic stretches to loosen up your muscles and joints. The dynamic stretches are performed while in motion.

A good example is walking around lifting your knees as high as possible, followed by swinging your legs forward and backward, steadily allowing your leg to lift higher as your muscles loosen up. When warming up your arms, swing forward and backward, followed by slow, controlled arm circles.

Step 3

Step on the treadmill but avoid standing right on the belt. Hold the handrails and position your feet on the edges of the belt. Affix the safety switch to your clothes if the device is built with one and tap on the “Start” button. The belt will start to move at a leisurely pace. Position your feet on the belt one at a time, start walking and take your hands off the handrails.

Step 4

Start your workout routine with a light 5-minute warm-up. Remember that the intensity of this warm-up depends on what you intend to perform during your workout. I suggest walking at a slow pace if you are going to perform a speed walking workout.

For a steady running workout, walk at a quick pace or jog lightly. At the end of your warm-up, steadily increase your speed to your preferred pace and proceed with your workout.

Step 5

You can walk or run in proper form. Make sure to keep your back straight, broaden your shoulders, and eyes looking forward. Once you take your hands off the handrails, leave them off throughout. I suggest pumping your arms smoothly along with your legs.

Step 6

Do not forget to hydrate your body before, during, and after training. Many treadmills are equipped with bottle holders. I highly recommend drinking water every 10 to 15 minutes during your workout. If you train for longer than 60 minutes on the treadmill, you can drink an electrolyte-enriched sports drink.

Step 7

Once your workout ends, perform static stretches. Stretch your whole body to keep your muscles lengthened and prevent tightness and soreness, particularly the calves, hamstrings, and glutes.

What are the benefits of running on a treadmill?

As one of the popular fitness equipment in the market, treadmills will allow you to exercise at home. It is easy to use and can provide you with an efficient aerobic workout.

I will share below some of the benefits of running on a treadmill.

  • Injury prevention. By regularly running outdoors on asphalt and concrete, you can stress the connective tissues in your legs. By using the padded surface of a treadmill, it reduces the impact and protects you from injury. Running on a treadmill is beneficial for those who are overweight or have knee issues.
  • Adding variety to your workout. With a treadmill, you can run, jog, or walk. You can readily simulate uphill and downhill running by modifying the incline on your treadmill. An uphill routine can effectively burn calories, improve endurance, and build up strength.
  • Customized workout. Whether you want to cut down weight or training for a marathon, running on a treadmill can help you achieve your fitness goals. You can create a workout routine based on the length of time you need to exercise. Additionally, you have complete control, allowing you to adjust the incline, speed, warm-up, or cool-down period, and the amount of energy you expend.
  • It allows you to monitor your heart rate. When working out on a treadmill, it is easier to monitor your heart rate. Many treadmills have a built-in heart rate monitoring system that allows you to monitor your progress and stay within your preferred zone.
  • It allows you to exercise regardless of the weather. Whether it is raining, snowing, or blistering hot outdoors, you can continue with your exercise routine on a treadmill.

Useful tips when using a treadmill

It cannot be denied that using a treadmill has several benefits. If you want to make the most out of your treadmill routine, I will share these useful tips for an enjoyable, safe, and effective workout on your treadmill.

  • Proper warm-up. Do not forget to warm-up properly before using a treadmill. With proper warm-up, it raises your heart rate, sends oxygen to your muscles, and increases their temperature to be more efficient. I recommend a 5-minute walk or relaxed jog on the treadmill before increasing the speed or incline.
  • Familiarizing the features of your treadmill. One way to maximize your workout is to learn the various functions of your treadmill. If you are using one at the gym, ask a staff to provide you with an introduction to its functions.
  • Utilizing a slight incline. Adjust your treadmill incline between 1-2 percent. It is best for beginners to start with zero inclines until you build up your fitness and increase your comfort level on the device. You can increase your incline or speed for a challenging workout.
  • Avoiding making the incline too steep. Avoid setting the incline too steep since this will place excessive strain on your back, hips, and ankles.

    I suggest combining a steep incline with some flat running. Do not run at a steep incline for more than 5 minutes. You will get a better and safer workout by alternating between running a few minutes with an incline and a few minutes without.
  • Avoid holding on to the handrail or console. Some assume that they need to hold onto the handrails when running or walking on a treadmill. Remember that the handrails are only there to assist you in safely getting on and off the treadmill.
  • Avoid leaning forward and looking down. Always keep your body upright. Avoid leaning forward since the treadmill draws your feet backward. When you lean forward excessively, you can end up with back or neck pain or even lose your balance.

    Additionally, it would help if you did not look down when using a treadmill or staring at your feet. You are likely to run with a hunched over posture, which increases the risk for neck or back pain. Always look straight ahead to ensure a safe run, whether on the treadmill or running outdoors.
  • Check your stride. I recommend running with your natural gait and avoid short, choppy strides. In case your form feels off, steady your pace until you feel you are using the right form and gradually increase the pace.

    Overstriding is also a common mistake where your heel lands first with the foot ahead of the body’s center of gravity. Avoid overstriding by keeping your feet under your body.
  • Improving your stride count. One way to improve your stride count is to focus on performing short, quicker strides as well as keeping your feet close to the belt.
  • Proper hydration. Always keep a bottle of water within easy reach while working out. I recommend drinking at least 4-6 ounces every 20 minutes while running on the treadmill.
  • Cooling down. After your workout, cool down by walking or slowly jogging for 5-10 minutes before stepping off the treadmill. You can also follow-up with post-run stretches.

Final Thoughts

Working out on a treadmill is an effective exercise that will keep your heart pumping and help cut down weight in the long run.

With the steps on how to use a treadmill correctly that I shared along with the benefits and useful tips, it will help you stay on the right track while staying fit with your treadmill.

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