Fitness EquipmentHealth & Fitness

How to Get the Most Out of Your Treadmill Workout

Remember the time when you played outside and ran around with friends? At that time, it felt like it was the easiest and most natural thing to do.

Now, researchers are suggesting the reason behind this is that humans are indeed built to run. From the anatomy of your legs, hips, and feet down to your ability to sweat, evidence suggests that the human body evolved to facilitate ease in running.

Running is relatively easy to get into, whatever goals you may have, be it to decompress from the stress of modern living, to shed off a few pounds, or simply to live healthier. All you have to do is to lace up your shoes and run out the door, literally.

Plus, the barrier to entry is relatively low. All you need to get started is to buy running shoes and some workout clothes. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Apart from being a great form of cardio exercise which helps you burn excess weight, running can help strengthen muscles and bones, improve sleep, boost focus, and alter your mood.

Why Run on a Treadmill?

But sometimes, running outdoors is not an option, with inclement weather being the most common reason.

Treadmills are a permanent fixture in many commercial gyms and even in some homes. Even runners who are seasoned competitors in marathons integrate treadmill running into their training regimen.

Whether you are a newbie or veteran runner, here are some of the benefits of running on this popular cardio equipment that you need to be aware of.

It allows you to run anytime

Whether it’s day or night, sunny or raining, you can run on a treadmill. Plus, if you live in the city, you do not have to worry about incoming cars. Running on a treadmill is also a great way to ease yourself back into working out if an injury has sidelined you.

It’s accurate

With a simple push of a button, you can change the settings of a treadmill, making your workout more challenging or easier. Plus, if you are training, you are forced to stick with your pace and other workout parameters.

It’s better for your joints

Contrary to what some people may believe, running can help build stronger joints. However, if you want to run for more years to come, running on a softer surface like a treadmill’s belt will give your knees a much-needed respite.

Making the most out of your treadmill workout

Whether you have been running outdoors for quite some time or you are a complete newbie, here are some things that you can do to get the most out of running on a treadmill. 

Warm-up and cool down

Whether you are running outdoors on a treadmill, you need to prepare your body for your workout. When running on a treadmill, it may be tempting to breeze through your run and forget to warm up, but you will only be doing yourself a disservice.

Start with a quick walk on your treadmill to acclimate your body and then begin picking up the pace slowly.

Once you are done running, do not forget to cool down. On a treadmill, you can walk or do a light jog for a few minutes before moving on to stretching.

Get acquainted with the equipment

If you are running in a gym, do not hesitate to ask the gym personnel to teach you the functions of the treadmill. If you bought a treadmill for your home gym, spend some time reading the manual before jumping on it. Knowing how to operate the treadmill properly will allow you to optimize your run and avoid unnecessary accidents.

Change the incline settings

In the beginning, you can keep the incline level at zero. But once you get accustomed to running on a treadmill, you should tweak the incline settings to give you a more challenging run. If you set the incline between one and two percent, you can mimic running outdoors.

However, be cautious when fiddling with the incline settings as you can hurt your back and joints. Do not set the incline settings to more than seven percent.

Also, avoid running on an incline for the whole duration of your workout. Instead, consider alternating between running flat and running on an incline. This will give you a sufficient challenge without putting too much strain on your body.

Keep your hands off the rails

The railings on a treadmill are installed to facilitate an easy and safe dismount. These were not made for users to grab on to while running.

If you keep on running on a treadmill while grasping the handrails, your form could suffer, and you could end up hurting yourself, especially your neck, shoulders, and back.

Additionally, holding on to the rails while running reduces your load. This means that you are selling yourself short on what should be a challenging workout.

Mind your form

In terms of running form, running on a treadmill should be no different from running outdoors. If you are new to running, you may ask what constitutes good form.

Throughout your run, you should keep yourself upright and look forward. Avoid leaning forward as you might lose your balance or hurt your body.

Take full strides instead of shorter ones. If you feel that something’s off with your form, run slower.

For all types of runners

Running on a treadmill is practically for everyone, whether you have a few marathons tucked under your belt or you are looking for a way to get fit. Hop on one now to learn why treadmills are some of the most popular gym equipment.

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