The treadmill is one of the best workout machines for indoor weight loss exercises. Chances are you’ll be getting reacquainted with one now that winter’s grip is tightening, the weather is worsening, and daylight hours are shrinking.
But running on a warm, dry, high-speed conveyor belt does come with its injury risks. Runners can experience strains in the hip flexor and pain in their Achilles and shin due to that unnaturally narrow stance.
With that in mind, here are three injury-avoiding, tumble-stopping strategies you should employ as you press the Go button on your next treadmill session…
1. Avoid Constant Speed Work
You’ve seen the guy aggressively increasing the pace on the treadmill and trying to match it with a thumping stride that echos around the gym. Doesn’t look right, does it. Doesn’t look like he’s having much fun. Well, he isn’t. At least, his hips, knees and hamstrings aren’t – this approach to the running machine can lead to severe pain in these areas as the foot beings to land farther ahead than your body likes it to. Don’t be that guy. Put an emphasis on maintaining a proper, more natural stride, or better yet, reduce the pace on the treadmill to a level where you are not forced to overexert by silly amounts.
2. Turn Off Auto-Pilot
Unless you’ve just opened a bag of gravel onto your machine, the treadmill belt is a flat uniform surface unlike the outdoors, where rocks, steep hills and the like force your body to make adjustments. That uniformity, unfortunately, comes with an injury risk - maintaining the same comfortable speed while running on the treadmill (opens in new tab) piles pressure on the same group of joints and muscles. Crush the hazard by mixing up the speed and nature of your workouts. Try slowly increasing the tempo at predetermined intervals, and reducing it to a jog during recovery time.
3. Resist Cutting Your Workout Short
In the majority of cases, running machine injuries are caused by poor exercise routines. Learning about the things you’re do wrong on this big piece of equipment can save you a trip to the hospital, so don’t let boredom get the better of you – stick at it, ramp up some good workout time on that conveyor belt, and you’ll quickly learn what feels right and very wrong when you put trainer to treadmill. How to overcome the tedium, though? In addition to changing up your workout routine, run alongside a friend for a much-needed mental boost and competitive element, or turn the volume up on a new playlist. Studies have shown that listening to music as you exercise lowers perceived effort, meaning you feel less tired than you would without it.
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