When it comes to working out, even if you’re a self-confessed “cardio freak” you can’t deny that the treadmill can be one of the most brutal and testing pieces of equipment in the entire gym. Cardio exercise is extremely beneficial for us as it helps boost our stamina, our fitness, our endurance, and it helps us to burn fat and even shape and tone our muscles. For days when it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s wet, and it’s windy and you can’t face the prospect of going for a jog outdoors, the treadmill is absolutely ideal and it’s no wonder why it’s such a popular piece of equipment when it comes to cardio. From videos online, and watching other gym-goers, using one may seem as if it’s simple enough, but in reality there are numerous people that often make common mistakes on them which not only make their workouts far less effective, but also put their health and well-being in danger too. Here we’ll be taking a look at five common mistakes you’re probably making on the treadmill, and what you can do to rectify this matter.
Watching your feet as you use it
If you take a look at most people using the treadmill, you’ll see that they have their eyes fixed firmly on the ground, or more specifically, their feet. When using the treadmill, your eyes shouldn’t be looking down at your feet, they should be fixed firmly dead ahead with your head upright. The reason why many people tend to watch their feet as they use a treadmill is because they’re worried that they’ll lose balance and slip if they aren’t looking. What’s ironic however, is that watching your feet is actually going to make you more likely to lose your balance and slip over on the machine. It feels odd at first, to trust your feet but in reality all you’re doing is walking like anywhere else, so force yourself to bring your head up and look straight ahead. Before sprinting, practice by walking at a slow and steady pace and see how you get on.
Wearing the wrong footwear
If you ever experience pain and discomfort in your feet, either during or after using the treadmill, there’s a good chance that your footwear could be to blame. Remember, the treadmill is a form of running and because of this you will need a good pair of running shoes, or shoes that are comfortable whilst running. If your favourite shoes look great but make your feet feel as if they’re on fire, you will have to go with a different pair. They want to be supportive, and will want extra padding in the soles. These shoes should only be worn for running purposes however, so that means don’t wear them for walking, doing errands, or even any other forms of exercise for that matter.
Slamming your feet down too hard
Another common mistake that people tend to make, is when they slam their feet down too hard with each footfall. If you slam your feet down flat with each footfall, you run the risk of suffering muscle strain, ligament damage, torn muscles, pulled muscles, and general aches and pains that could quite easily be avoided. The trick is to try to become as vertical as possible and to basically just run, or walk, as you would ordinarily if you were walking around your neighbourhood. Slapping the soles of your feet down flat with each step is a recipe for disaster, yet for some reason, many people tend to do it whilst using a treadmill. You’re looking to land on the ball of your foot, or mid-foot, but never your heel.
Sticking with the same routine
We all do cardio for different reasons and as the treadmill is arguably the most popular piece of cardio equipment, it’s no wonder why so many people use them every single day. Some people use them to maintain their weight, some people use them to lose weight, some people use them to increase their stamina and fitness, and some people use them for a combination of all three. Whatever your goals and targets however, the best way of getting the most out of each treadmill-based cardio session is to ensure you change your routine every few weeks. The body has a real knack of quickly adapting to situations and surroundings and building up an immunity to them. That means that if you were losing several pounds to begin with, when you first started using a treadmill, but then the weight loss slowed down over a couple of weeks, it’s because your body is used to the exercise, the speed, the duration, and the tempo of your workouts. To help get the most out of these workouts, mix things up and change your routine every few weeks. If you used to do 45 minutes on a 0% incline at a slow and steady pace for weeks on end, the next time, increase the speed slightly, and increase the incline to 4% perhaps. You can try slow and steady cardio, fast paced cardio, cardio on steep incline, and even HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
Swinging your arms all over the place
When you use the treadmill, your arms want to be roughly at your side, the elbows slightly bent, in the same position they would be if you were out jogging in the park. If you watch some people using a treadmill, you’ll notice that their arms are waving all over the place. This is not only dangerous as it could cause you to lose balance and face plant onto the treadmill, but it also saps your energy whilst training, which means that your workouts aren’t as efficient as they could be, because you will be expending more energy more quickly. Once you begin jogging, your arms should be parallel to one another, bent at roughly 90 degrees at the elbow, as close to your sides as possible. They also want to be loose rather than tense and tight.