Treadmills are among the most popular machines in fitness centers like Dave Barton Gym, and they’re a nice alternative if you’re not much of a runner but want to get fit and in shape. However, you’ll only reap the benefits if you use treadmills the right way, so here are some tips.
Set up the Treadmill and Running
Start by setting the inclination to 1 to 2%, as a slight uphill is suitable for the gym since there isn’t any wind resistance. If you are a complete beginner though, you’ll be more comfortable leaving the incline at 0%. Once you’re comfortable with the machine, you can adjust the incline. While adding inclination makes the treadmill more challenging, don’t make the incline too steep. Anything more than 7% can cause injuries or strain, and you shouldn’t do your whole run at an incline greater than 2%.
Don’t hold on the handrails as you run or walk on the treadmill, as their purpose is to simply help you get on the machine, not to be used as a crutch. As you run on the treadmill, keep your upper body in the right form by setting your arms at a 90 degree angle just like as if you’re running outdoors.
Once you’re done working out, give your body time to cool down. After spending time on the treadmill, your heart rate will be high, so spend about 5 minutes walking around the gym or doing a slow jog. Don’t neglect this step since cooling down prevents dizziness as well as the feeling that you’re still moving even when you’re done with the treadmill.
Practice Proper Form and Stride Count
Ensure that your body is upright on the treadmill, and avoid leaning forward because the machine is going to pull your feet back. What you need to do is pull your feet from the belt before it is driven by the belt away. Next, focus on your stride and keep them quick and short so the impact on your legs is reduced. You should also keep a mid-foot strike so you don’t put undue pressure on your knees.
In some cases you may have to exaggerate the lift of your heels as the lack of momentum going forward keeps your feet from a circular path movement. At the same time you should try and improve your stride count. The more steps you’re able to do per minute, the more effective your run is going to be.
Experienced treadmill runners can do 180 steps a minute, but it will take time before you can reach this level, so be patient. You can determine the stride count if you count the number of times one foot strikes the belt in a minute and doubling that figure. To get maximum benefit, you need improve the stride count by keeping your feet near the belt and taking quick, short strides.
Tips for Keeping Focused
To keep focused on the treadmill, imagine that you are on a route and running, with buildings and landmarks passing you buy. As you imagine yourself going uphill, change the incline appropriately. As you spend more time on the treadmill, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Fortunately, gyms aren’t lacking in this regard, so there’s no reason not to be hydrated.
Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t look down while you run, no matter how tempting it is to check the distance that you’ve covered or how much time has elapsed. Looking down will affect your running form. Staring down at your feet also means you’ll be running over hunched which could lead to neck and back pain. Simply put, running with your body straight is necessary to achieve benefits and avoid injuries.
Another common mistake is wearing the wrong shoes. Forget about style and go for shoes with good sole padding so your heels and feet are protected from impact. However, these shoes are only for running on the treadmill, and you should not use them in other gym classes like cardio or dancing. Again, it is imperative that you don’t glance down at your feet while running as you could lose your balance. Aside from gazing straight, your shoulders have to be level. Your chest must be high too, allowing your knees, hips and back to assume their natural position as you run.
Finally, remember to change your routines. Doing the same treadmill routines in Equinox is a lot of fun, but over time your body will adapt to it, causing you to burn less calories. For this reason, use other machines to change things up and prevent joint and muscle strain.