Getting to know the treadmill

As you all know if you have read my posts I have a love hate relationship going with the treadmill.  It’s really pretty common for most long distance runners to feel this way, so I am definitely not abnormal (not about this at least).  What I wanted to share today was a little info on how to use a treadmill.  Sounds funny I know, but based off of observation there are many people that have some misconceptions about them and frankly risk bodily injuries every time they use one.

Lets’ start with this: first if it’s at home take the clothes hangers off of it and dust it off, just kidding.  Seriously though if you have one it’s time to get familiar with it and actually use this wonderful (ish) piece of equipment.  You paid money for it or for the use of it at the gym so might as well use it.

Next thing to consider: If you are going so fast that you must hold on to the treadmill you need to do one of two things.  Either go faster and actually run, or if you can’t do that slow the treadmill down so you can do a comfortable, yet challenging brisk walk.  Holding on the the treadmill presents a safety risk, if you are going too fast and you let go you risk falling and hurting yourself.  Another issue is that it encourages hunched over shoulders and a jutting head, both postural distortions that can cause your body to adapt in other areas and ultimately can cause pain in the lower back and legs.  If you are someone with desk job chances are you already have some posture issues because of the computer, no need to make them worse.

Finally let me ask you this: if we don’t normally walk sideways at a fast pace or backwards at a fast pace why would you do it on a machine that can throw you off and cause you injuries?  It’s simply not safe and there is no need to do these two things on a moving belt that can throw you into a wall, other equipment, or the poor unfortunate person walking behind you.  If you want to work your glutes, thighs, and hamstrings then do some other exercises such as burpees, ice skaters, squats, and lunges.  There are plenty of ways to work your legs that are challenging and safer for you and the people around you.

Get familiar with your treadmill, know the programs that if offers and if those are intimidating then just remember although I joke about racing the person next to you to pass the time, you are only racing yourself.  Many treadmills have incline control (no holding on here either), heart rate monitoring, and pretty basic stop/go/pause buttons.  It’s not necessary to go all out, you can do a brisk walk while you grow more comfortable with this piece of equipment and work towards adding speed or incline as you grow stronger.  Know where the safety off switch is and enjoy the fact that you are getting up and active which is the first step to better fitness/health.

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