Whether you love treadmills or hate them, their benefits can be hard to deny. Yes, we know, you love running outside. But when it’s rainy, what do you do? Good ol’ treadmill is always there waiting for you, happy to shelter you from the weather as you burn those calories. There’s no doubting that treadmills are convenient, which is why many of us at one point or another have all stepped onto them. So the next time you lace up to take on the machine, what are some common mistakes you can avoid? We’ll explore four that often lead to injury, boredom and unnecessary pain.
1. You hold onto the handles
Holding onto the treadmill’s handles is a sure fire recipe for poor runners’ posture. As soon as you clasp their firm, comforting grip, you suddenly slouch over and your shoulders slump up to your ears. By the time you’re done with your run, your neck is cramped up and you likely have a post-workout headache.
And for those who hold onto the front console, don’t think you’re doing much better. While you may not end up with a headache after your workout, you’re not doing your body any favors with the sudden jerks to your shoulders, elbows, wrists and spine caused by the treadmill’s fast speeds.
So why do people hold onto the handles? A common reason is they’re nervous they may fall off. To fix this, start slow and work your way up to a faster speed. After you’ve spent a minute or two walking at 1 or 2 mi/h, then bump up the speed to 3-5 mi/h and so on.
2. You drift to the back half of the machine
Whether you’re having trouble keeping up with a high speed or you’re trying to comfortably watch your favorite TV show on the treadmill’s iPad, when you drift to the back half of the machine, disaster is just a few steps away. Spills on the treadmill happen in gyms across the nation everyday. And the bloody noses, face plants and feelings of embarrassment that follow are good for nobody – except maybe a few snickering bystanders.
To correct this problem, simply be conscious of where you’re located on the treadmill. Ideally, you want to be comfortably running in the middle. If your speed is too fast, turn it down. If you’re trying to watch a video, try adjusting the screen or moving it higher so you don’t need to be on the machine’s back half.
3. You jump to the sides of the machine while it’s still running
After a sprint, you may be tempted to jump to the sides of the machine for a quick breather or to turn off the treadmill if you’re finished. Bad idea. For one, your hands are likely to be sweaty after running, and because of this they may slip on the handles as you hop to the side.
Instead, simply slow down or turn off the machine manually. Once it’s moving at a walking pace, either turn it off or jump off for a quick breather. This way, you’ll avoid injury – or looking like a fool to that cute girl or guy on the next treadmill over.
4. You always repeat the same routine
Most people simply do the same routine every time they hop on the treadmill: 45 minutes at 8 mi/h, 4 days a week, repeat. How exciting does that sound? Boring is right. Even worse, if you’ve been following this same routine for ages and can’t seem to lose any weight, part of the problem is likely the routine itself. So, doesn’t it make sense to try something new? Not only will you be more engaged but you’ll have a better shot at dropping those pounds.
A few ways to mix up your treadmill routine for more fun are to use the incline, increase your speed, and add some sprint intervals in. Not only will these three changes breathe new life into your run but they’ll also challenge you to work harder, which will have you looking fit and leaner much faster.
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