Here are the Best Practices for Using a Treadmill

Sports Medicine, Workout Injuries, Knee Injuries


Millions of people have a treadmill in their home or use one in a gym. But are they using it correctly?

Millions of people in the United States use a treadmill for their daily workout, and it’s not hard to understand why this exercise apparatus has become so popular. For a one-time investment, you can hop on a home treadmill and get a great cardio workout without paying gym fees or worrying about the weather. You can exercise in the comfort of your own home whether it’s sunny or snowing. Or you can go to a gym and use one of their treadmill machines.

But that doesn’t mean running on a treadmill comes easily. Like any other exercise program, you must learn how to use the equipment correctly and follow the proper techniques to get the most out of your workout. In this article, we’re sharing six tips to help you maximize your treadmill performance.

Six best practices for using a treadmill

Whether you’re an experienced outdoor track runner or just starting out on the equipment, take the time to get accustomed to using a treadmill. Treadmills come with a lot of settings, and it can be confusing at first. Pick the running pace and incline you are most comfortable with. Once you hop on the treadmill, remember these six tips for an optimal workout:

Strike the right pose. You should always stand straight and tall, but on a treadmill, it’s even more important. Start with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, and your pelvis upright. Elongate your spine. You can lean slightly forward from your ankles but don’t bend at the waist. If you use a gym treadmill, work with a trainer to perfect your posture.

Don’t hunch! Hunching over or looking down while you run will only strain your neck and back, leading to sore muscles at the end of the workout. Avoid the temptation of looking at the videos on the treadmill’s console. Always look forward so you’ll concentrate on your running technique and not what’s on the screen.

Swing your arms. Get your arms involved in the exercise. Relax your shoulders and bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Swing your arms back and forth in rhythm with your strides and not across your body. Crossing your arms or twisting your midsection may cause lower back and abdominal pain.

Monitor your stride. Treadmill users have a tendency to overstride. But shorter, quick strides are better. Try to position your feet directly underneath your body so your legs don’t get too far out front or behind you. Hit the treadmill with the balls of your feet rather than the heels.

Stay in the middle. Beginners may be fearful of falling off the end of the treadmill and therefore huddle close to the front of the equipment, but the best place to run is in the middle of the treadmill about a foot from the console.

Don’t grab onto the handrails. The handrails are only there to help you get on and off the treadmill safely. If you are using them to maintain your balance, you are using them incorrectly and may end up injured. Instead, let your upper body and your arm swings keep you balanced.

Exercising with a treadmill? We can help avoid injuries

Running on a treadmill can be an enjoyable and fruitful workout, but only if you focus on your form and learn how to correctly operate a treadmill. When you do, your treadmill experience will be even more rewarding.

At All Sports Physical Therapy, our aim is to help you exercise safely without injury or discomfort. If you experience pain, reach out and we can diagnose the problem and suggest treatment options. Contact us today for a consultation.

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