Running tips: Properly Using a Treadmill
A treadmill is an easily accessible exercise machine that can help you stay in shape. Follow these rules to make sure you use the treadmill correctly and stay injury free.
A treadmill is a great exercise tool in that it provides a cardiovascular workout and is widely available. Health clubs usually have many treadmills available for use and some people have treadmills in their homes. In fact, even most small hotel gyms have a treadmill so that you can stay in shape while traveling. Whether you are a beginning walker or a lifetime runner, the treadmill can be a tool to getting and staying in shape. However, a treadmill is only effective if you know how to use it properly. The following tips will help make sure you get the best workout safely and without injury.
- Before you begin, take note of the control panel on the treadmill. Be sure to pay attention to where the pause and the emergency stop buttons are so that you can stop the belt if you should need to do so during your workout.
- Dress appropriately for your workout. Walking on a treadmill is easier on the joints than walking on pavement, but you still need to wear proper footwear such as walking or running shoes. Never walk on the treadmill barefoot or in sandals as this could result in injuries. Also, be sure not to wear clothing that could get caught in the belt or on the railings as this could cause you to become stuck while the belt moves underneath you, again resulting in injuries.
- Make sure only one person attempts to use the treadmill at any one time. Trying to have two people walking on the treadmill is not only crowded, but dangerous as one person is likely to slip or fall.
- Never start a treadmill while standing on the belt. You can stand on the side rails as you start the treadmill, then use one foot to get the rhythm of how quickly you will need to walk. Finally, put both feet on the belt and start walking.
- If you are new to using a treadmill, it is a good idea to hold onto the handrails as you walk. However, once you pick up the pace, it is easier and safer to let go of the handrails and swing your arms as you would if you were walking on normal pavement.
- Increase speed in small increments. Treadmills can go very fast. Be sure to adjust the speed in short increments (perhaps .10 of a mile each time) in order to make sure the belt does not move so quickly as to knock you off of the machine.
- Do not look sideways, down, or backwards while you are on the treadmill because there is a tendency for you to run or walk to the direction you are looking. Keep your focus straight ahead of you. If you look back or to the side, you may find yourself too close to the side of the belt or falling off the back.
- If you need to tie your shoe or you drop something, step off of the treadmill. If you try to stand still while the belt is moving, you may fall off and become injured. Itís better to step off the machine and resume your workout when you are fully ready and able to do so.
- If you feel dizzy when you step off the treadmill, you are not alone. This is because you are not used to walking on moving sidewalks. Stand still and hold on to something (a nearby wall or the handrails of the treadmill, for example) and wait to walk away until you are no longer dizzy.
Using a treadmill correctly is simple if you follow the above rules, as well as any posted rules on or near the machine. If you ever feel uncomfortable while walking or running on a treadmill, the best thing to do is to hit the emergency stop button and stop the belt from moving. Remember: correct use of exercise equipment means you will get a better workout and stay injury free.