Running is the best full-body workout that costs no penny to do. But who has the time to go outdoors or what happens when the weather is not right? As an answer to these questions, treadmills are introduced. Now, health-conscious people keep at least a folding treadmill to fit in their small space to make it handy at home.
So that they never have to compromise with their health. On the other hand, the options like speed settings and incline add up to the treadmills’ usability as it gives the advantage of running on hilly tracks.
However, just as running is the favorite workout of all, the treadmill is also the most sold workout gear. This is because people think that it doesn’t need an instructor or coach to use it. Does it? Actually, the answer is no, it really doesn’t need an instructor to do regular walking and running workouts as long as those are done at a normal pace.
But there are some mistakes people make while running on treadmills that are alarming. Treadmills are not cheap, so your health. So, learning and correcting those mistakes is compulsory to make the most of your time and money spent on the treadmill.
Deadly Treadmill Mistakes to Avoid
From my experience, I can tell that treadmill mistakes are not confined to five. There are many. But here, let’s not just make you demotivated about treadmill workouts and only discuss the five most common, yet dangerous mistakes people make while using a treadmill.
Skipping Warm Up
Treadmills are mostly used by busy buddies who can’t go to the gym due to time constraints. But are you the guy or girl who starts running on it without warm-up? Trust me, it can lead to serious health issues which are crucial enough to put you out of treadmills for your entire life. Not doing a warm-up before any exercise can cause muscle injury, ligament injury, it can put a strain on your heart, and so on.
It takes five minutes to get your body ready to take the workouts you are planning to do. Stretching, jumping, and jogging are the most common forms of warm-up exercises that help the body to be flexible, increase oxygen flow and heart rate, and most importantly, prepare your muscles for hard work. Usually, the instructors at the gym are responsible to make everyone do their warm-ups before exercise. For those who work out on their folding treadmills, please look for warm-up exercises online before unfolding them. There are hundreds of tutorials to help you out.
Not Engaging Hands/Improper Posture
We intend to make the most of our time we invest in training, right? Then why not use your hands while running on the treadmill instead of resting on the handrails? Swinging hands like you do in outdoor running is the simplest form where you can engage your whole body while working out on the treadmill.
Likewise, do not keep staring at the monitor. I see people stay bent their whole workout time with their eyes on the treadmill control panel and monitor. This will strain your neck and shoulder and also will ruin your posture in the long run. Stand straight, look forward with your belly pulled in, keep hands in a fist-this is the correct posture for walking and running whether it is outdoors or on a treadmill.
Improper Use of Incline
Running or walking on 0-inclines or a high incline for 30 minutes are both inappropriate. Incline walking and running helps to tone out leg and back muscles. Working out on a flat treadmill will not help you to gain that. On the other hand, running on full incline surely burns a lot of fat, but can be injurious.
The best way is to start the treadmill on a low incline and then gradually raise the incline. Likewise, running in full swing from the beginning is no good for you. Gradually increase the pace so as the incline. It helps your body to get used to it and prevents risks of injury.
Not Cross Training
Do you know that if you can systematically workout 5 minutes, which can be more effective compared to 30 minutes of conventional running? The treadmill is mostly known as a machine to walk, jog and run but there are other exercises you can do on it.
It is important for us to cross-train. Doing the same exercise every day for a certain time makes our body resistant to it at some point. If you are doing it for weight loss, then it will not be effective one day.
HIIT, pull up, backward walking, etc are some easy cross training you can do without an instructor. HIIT will help you burn fat without ruining your muscle. All you have to do is to run 30 seconds at 6.5 MPH and rest for 60 seconds. Doing this cycle 5 times is equivalent to an hour of jogging. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes. The best part is, it is only done on alternative days with a rest day followed by. Your muscle heals on the rest day.
To do pull-ups, keep both your hands on the side rails and lift your body. It is a great exercise for the arms. Backward walking is recommended at a flat incline with a low speed.
Not Cooling Down
We do workouts to keep our hearts healthy right? Heavy and high-intensity workouts increase the heart rate. Finishing your workout with a racing heart is alarming. It can lead to shock, cardiac arrest, and also muscle cramping. So, do cool-down exercises every time you workout. These are basically breathing exercises to slow down the heart rate to a normal rate and relax your muscles and whole body. Again, for home workouts, you can go for online tutorials to guide you with amazing and refreshing cooldown exercise. Read more: How Much Electricity Does a Treadmill Use in a Month
Effective Ways to Use a Treadmill
Now we know the 5 most common but alarming treadmill mistakes, but do we know there are actually some etiquettes that should be followed for treadmill workouts? Let’s find out the best practice to use a treadmill so that you can get the best results and reach your goal at the right time.
Prepare yourself with appropriate clothes. Unfortunately, people usually wear gym clothes when they hit the gym only, not during at-home workouts. But it is mandatory for wearing breathable, stretchy, and nice fitted clothes before a workout. For men, gym shorts and a t-shirt will do, but for women a sports bra and tights are musts. Loosely fit regular clothes will make you look and feel clumsy and also interrupt your movement.
Snack and Drink
The best time for a workout is an empty stomach, but taking light snacks is also important for diabetic patients. A banana or a glass of milk or a poached egg are some easy snacks that will give you energy for a long time without making you stuffy. If you are following a special diet like intermittent fasting or One-Meal-A-Day, then you are good to start working out with an empty stomach.
However, don’t forget to hydrate yourself before working out. Take a glass of water before working out. Also, keep a water pot handy so that you can sip in between workouts when feeling thirsty.
For some, music works wonders for working out. They just don’t feel the vibe or don’t enjoy running for a long time in silence. So I suggest making preparations so that you can listen to your favorite music on the treadmill. There are many new treadmill models that have speakers and memory so that you can load your favorite tracks and listen during the workout. At the gym, it is best to listen with your earphones, not on speakers. You can also use your other devices to listen to music if your treadmill doesn’t support playing music.
Some just love to watch TV, news, or movies or play anything on the screen to keep them distracted before the workout. And this also works for them. If this is the case for you too, then make a list of movies that you will not be bored to watch during workouts.
Finally, I would like to mention some paid apps like iFit, Pulse Tread, Nike+Run Club, Zwifit, and many more. These apps are designed to keep the users motivated and guided on their workouts, even from home. Here you will meet the world’s leading coach and instructors who will set your goal, guide you, control your treadmill speed, and so on. Some apps will even take you on a worldwide tour in different countries so that you never miss running outdoors. The fee is different for different apps, you can use one based on convenience.
Warm-up is a pre-workout workout. It is light, fun, flexible, and makes your body warm and all ready to take the pain ahead. Never skip it due to a tight schedule or any other excuse. Because not doing warm-up prior to exercise can cause great damage and injury. Even light jogging and hopping are preferable to no-warm-up workouts.
One should use the treadmill at a gradual pace. Sart from the slow and low incline and increase the speed and incline as your body supports. If you are a beginner, then don’t try something crazy first hand. The speed and incline for beginners will be lower compared to the intermediate lever runner. The same goes for intermediate and pro runners. The rule is, you can test your limit but never cross it too far.
The posture of walking and running on a treadmill should be totally natural. Don’t stomp or take longer strides, or strain yourself just because you are on a treadmill. Take strides as you do outdoors and stand tall, looking straight, keeping your back straight.
Take a break every 10 minutes and take one or two sips from a water bottle. Running drains a lot of sweat from your body. Too much sweating can cause sodium imbalance in your body. So, if you feel dizzy or have low blood pressure, then consider sipping on saline water instead of plain water. It will help you not to collapse in the middle of the workout.
Clean After Running
At home or at the gym, always clean the treadmill control panel and rails with wet wipes or use a disinfectant spray and wipe with a clean paper towel. Our sweat also includes bacteria. At the gym, the next person running on the treadmill won’t want to transmit diseases. Even you can fall sick for not cleaning the treadmill at home regularly. Read more: 7 Best Cushioned Treadmills: What Defines the Perfect?
Finish off your exercise with a slow heart rate. So if the heart rate is excessively high from doing intense workouts, then take long breaths. Doing yoga, breathing exercises, and meditating for 5 minutes will help to cool down your whole body.
Treadmills are used for many reasons. Some use it for a rainy day workout, for some it just the best option for their busy schedule, marathon runners use it to prepare themselves, obese people use it to burn fat. The common reason is to get fit and active. But if you don’t know how to use it, then those common mistakes are enough to prohibit you from any kind of workout in the future. Then you will have one purpose: to use treadmill-air out of sweaty clothes.
Reading about the treadmill mistakes is not enough, you have to practically avoid these in real life. Only then you can be assured that your true purpose of using the treadmill is fulfilled.