Running & Walking Tips: 7 Common Treadmill Mistakes

treadmill_mistakes.jpgHitting the treadmill is one of the best ways to get the body moving and heart pumping. Whether you walk or jog (or do a little bit of both), a treadmill workout almost always feels good.

But like any other exercise equipment, you need to make sure you’re using the treadmill correctly. We see people making mistakes all the time. Here are some common ones to avoid. Just consider them your running and walking tips for spring!

  1. You’re not walking/jogging at an incline. Inclines help tone leg and butt muscles. As reports, “Jogging or walking at an incline on the treadmill will actively engage the thighs and the calves, as well as the gluteal muscles needed for a toned backside.”
  1. You’re walking/jogging at an incline, but it’s too steep or you’re doing it for too long. On the flip side, you can overdo inclines. As this article from The Huffington Post reminds us, “How often do you encounter a steep hill in the outside world that takes you an hour to climb? Exactly.” Approach your treadmill workout like you do interval training: alternate between inclines and flatter stretches.
  1. You’re not moving your arms. Pump those arms as you walk or jog instead of holding or leaning onto the handrails. You’re already working out, so why not make it more of a full body workout, right? Besides, slouching onto the handrails can throw your body out of whack and lead to injury. And no one has time for that.
  1. You’re not tightening your core. You should be aware of your core during any exercise you do, and that includes walking and running on the treadmill. Tighten, tighten, tighten.
  1. You’re not pacing yourself properly. This is especially important if you’re just starting out. Don’t choose a high speed thinking that higher is better. And if it’s your first time on a treadmill in, oh, forever, don’t shoot for sixty minutes out of the gate. Build up. Aim for 15-20 minutes, get comfortable with that, and add on more time (and, eventually, other moves, such as some side action and possibly backward walking).
  1. You’re not wiping it down. Gym etiquette extends to the treadmills, guys. Keep your towel handy as you walk and jog, and make sure you wipe down the bars and controls after you’re done.
  1. You’re leaving it in the dust—literally. OK, so this refers more to treadmills in people’s home. Nothing is sadder than walking into someone’s house and seeing a lonely treadmill covered in dust (or one that’s used as a quasi-clothes hanger—you know what we’re talking about!). Your treadmill can’t do your workout for you. Dedicate some time (even ten or fifteen minutes a day is better than nothing) and get those legs and arms moving.

Not sure if you’re using the treadmill properly—or if you’re getting the most out of your workouts? Consider working with a personal trainer for a few sessions. Your trainer can observe how you’re using the treadmill and can then provide tips and strategies. Check out our awesome personal trainers here.