In this article, we will look at 5 common treadmill mistakes that will extend the time it takes for you to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.
Using a treadmill for exercise is a great way to improve your health and fitness. Most people find these machines easy to use, even those who are unsteady on their feet and so unable to safely walk outdoors on uneven terrain.
Treadmills deliver a good steady state cardio workout. These days, most have a digital monitor that allows you to track your progress. Many also have built-in workout programs that enable you to vary your workout. Regular sessions will improve your cardiovascular health and flexibility, tone your muscles, and help you to lose weight.
For more information on the benefits of treadmill exercise Vs walking, running, and jogging outdoors, click this link.
Keep reading to find out 5 of the most common treadmill mistakes.
5 Treadmill Mistakes You Need to Stop Making
1. Failing to warm up and cool down
One of the most common treadmill mistakes people make is not warming up before, or cooling down after their workout. Treadmill exercise is no different to any other cardio exercise in that respect.
Warming up can consist of walking at a slow pace for a few minutes before increasing your speed. This will prepare your muscles for running and decrease the risk of a muscle pull.
Cooling down is equally important. If you jump straight off the treadmill without gradually slowing your pace, you could feel dizzy and lightheaded due to the sudden drop in your heart rate and blood pressure.
2. You use bad technique
One of the most common treadmill mistakes people make is to use an inferior form.
Walking, jogging, or running on a treadmill has a different feel to performing these activities outdoors. However, you should aim to make the two as similar as you can.
When using a treadmill, stand upright with your head raised, and your gaze forward. Engage your core, keep your back straight, and your shoulders level. People often hold their arms in a rigid position when running on a treadmill. Your arms should swing freely by your sides.
Another tendency is to use an unnatural stride or constantly switch between a long and a short stride. Do this, and you won’t be able to get into a comfortable rhythm.
If you walk, jog, or run with too short a stride, this is probably because you are too close to the front of the treadmill. In this position, you could find yourself kicking the support bar or stepping off the belt. A short, choppy stride can also lead to stiff knees, and you could injure your feet’s bones and muscles.
You don’t want your stride to be too long either. If it is, you are probably training at the back of the deck. This could result in you falling off the end and sustaining an injury.
3. You always walk, jog, or run at the same pace
Another of the most significant treadmill mistakes that people make is to do the same workout every time for weeks, months, or even years on end. If you do this, your body will become used to the demands of exercise, and you will eventually hit a fitness plateau.
As with any form of training, to get the most benefit from treadmill exercises, vary your sessions. Along with increasing your fitness gains faster, mixing things up will help to prevent straining your muscles from overuse caused by your feet always landing in the same manner. Varying your workouts will also help to keep boredom at bay.
If you usually walk or jog on your treadmill, add some sprints. After warming up, walk or jog for five to ten minutes. Increase your pace, running at full speed for 30 seconds, before dropping back to your regular speed for 90 seconds. Repeat this sequence for the duration of the workout.
If running flat out for thirty seconds is too challenging, try doing it for 20 seconds. And if need be, only sprint every two minutes. As your fitness improves, try sprinting for longer and decreasing your recovery time.
Another thing you can do is alter your treadmill’s inclination. Exercising on an incline will burn more calories and enable you to tone your buttocks and thigh muscles faster.
4. You hold onto the handrails
If you’re new to treadmill exercise, you may be gripping the handrails because you are worried about falling off the back of the deck. Leaning onto the bars may enable you to go faster, but it will also reduce your workload, taking effort away from your lower body and switching it to your upper body. With less output required, you will burn fewer calories.
When holding onto the bars your pace will be inconsistent too, and you will have to hunch over. This can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain.
Another reason to avoid holding onto the handrails is that with the resultant inconsistent pace, you will create drag on the belt. Over time this can overheat the motor and the electronics and possibly damage the treadmill.
By all means, use the handrails when you are just starting out. Once you find your balance, slowly let go of them. If you need to steady yourself, don’t grab the bars. Touch them very lightly. If you still feel you are going to fall, you probably need to slow down or work at a lower incline.
5. You obsess over your stats
Many of today’s treadmills provide technology that enables us to monitor our progress. A quick glance at the console lets you know if you are working in a training zone that will bring about the best results. It also shows how far you have traveled, how many calories you’ve burned, your resistance and incline levels, and more.
While this information can be motivating, be aware that the numbers on the screen are just estimates. They are useful as a guide, but obsessing about how fast you’re going or how many calories you’ve burned can be detrimental.
Continuously looking down at the screen will affect your form and it could also bring about an injury. If you can’t take your eyes off the monitor, cover it with a towel. Work to the best of your ability, and check your stats at the end of your sessions.
Treadmill Mistakes Summary
Are you making any of the above treadmill mistakes? If so, the fixes are simple, and they will enable you to achieve your fitness goals faster and help to prevent you from getting an injury.