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Treadmills provide an efficient, convenient, and safe means of working out. Running, walking or jogging on a treadmill will give you a proper workout, without worrying about the weather outside. Also, when you are running on a treadmill, you can customize your workouts easily, depending on the goals that you want to achieve. You are in control of your speed, the workout duration, and the incline. Whether you just want to enhance your fitness levels or you are trying to lose weight, the following tips will help you to maximize your treadmill workouts.
Warm Up Properly
Warming up is an integral part of every workout program. Unfortunately, most people skip this crucial step, hop onto the treadmill and start running right away. Warming up before you start the actual training will get your blood flowing to your muscles, thus preparing your body for an intense workout. The short warm-up session will also prepare your muscles, thus helping to prevent injuries. Most treadmills are equipped with various settings, which you can use to customize your workout depending on the speed you want, running timer, incline as well as a calorie counter, among others. You can start with a warm-up session of 5-10 minutes at normal walking speed or an easy jog. After the warm-up session, you can now customize the settings depending on your workout. Cooling down is also essential. Towards the end of your workout, you should slow down the treadmill and allow your body at least 5 to 10 minutes for cooling down. Remember to stop the treadmill completely before you hop off.
Maintain the Right Posture
If you want to maximize your treadmill workout, then you must maintain proper posture throughout your training session. Maintaining proper posture will also help you to avoid injuries. Whether it’s a high-speed run or a light job, you should always be looking straight ahead, while keeping your shoulders loose. Your arms and neck should be relaxed while swinging your arms easily forwards and backward. You should keep your elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees. Also, your torso should be upright, your back should be straight and your foot should strike the surface under you. Furthermore, you need to keep your legs relaxed. If you can hear your feet pounding on the running platform, there is a high chance that your posture is not right. When you are new to working out on the treadmill, maintaining proper form might feel like a challenge. But if you keep working on it, you will eventually master it. And you will start deriving maximum success from your workouts.
Train with the Right Pair of Shoes
Running on the treadmill is just like running outdoors on the pavement. The only difference is the surface that you are running on. Your feet will still absorb the impact even when you are running on a treadmill. Therefore, if you don’t have proper running shoes, you might end up with leg and foot injuries. Just like conventional running shoes, there are various factors to consider when buying treadmill running shoes. These factors include:
- Your routine: Jogging or running on a treadmill is slightly different from running on pavements. Therefore, a pair of running shoes for outdoor surfaces may not work for the treadmill. When you are running on a treadmill, your feet are forced to absorb a higher level of impact, compared to running on the ground. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to choose a pair that offers adequate cushioning to prevent injuries.
- Consider your feet: If you have a foot problem, it’s advisable to consult a podiatrist first before you purchase treadmill workout shoes. Running with the wrong pair of shoes can aggravate the injury. If you are buying these shoes for the first time, you should get your feet measured by a professional. The person measuring your feet will then determine whether you have flat feet, normal feet or high-arched feet. You will then use that information to choose a pair of shoes that aligns with the biomechanics of your feet.
- Comfort and flexibility: A good pair of treadmill running shoes should keep your feet as comfortable as possible. Running, jogging or walking on the treadmill with uncomfortable shoes might lead to injuries. And when your feet are in pain and discomfort, it will be almost impossible to find the motivation that you need to maximize your workouts. Besides comfort, you should also make sure that the shoes you choose offer the right degree of flexibility. If the shoes are rigid, you might end up with foot problems like shin splints. Stay away from running shoes that bend at the arch. Instead, you should opt for those that bend at the ball of your foot.
Your shoes should also be lightweight so that they don’t drag your feet when you are running on the treadmill. If possible, you should purchase your workout shoes in the afternoon. It’s normal for your feet to swell and expand slightly throughout the day, due to the increase in temperature. Therefore, if you buy shoes in the morning, you might end up with a pair that doesn’t fit your feet well. And as you might probably know, working out with ill-fitting pair of shoes might lead to blisters and hotspots, among other issues.
Mix it Up
When you are working out on the treadmill, you might be tempted to use the pre-programmed workouts only. However, you should only use those workouts to get yourself up to speed. Once you master your pace and proper form, you should then customize your workouts depending on your goals. For instance, you might want to build muscle or burn fat, while someone else might just be working out to shed excess calories. With a customized workout plan, it will be easy to focus on your efforts towards your goals as opposed to following a generic workout plan.
Incorporate Interval Training
Interval training is an effective and powerful means of enhancing the efficiency of your heart and making it stronger. It will help you to burn calories and shed excess pounds while increasing your endurance and speed. The good news is that incorporating interval training into your treadmill workouts is not as hard as you think. You simply adjust the incline, based on what you intend to achieve. For instance, you can run at high speed for 15 minutes and then walk for a minute or two to allow your body to rest in between the intervals. You can then repeat these intervals for as many times as you want. However, if you are doing high-intensity interval training or HIIT, your sessions should not go for more than 30 minutes to avoid injuries.
Avoid Holding the Rails
You might have probably seen someone working out on a treadmill machine while holding the two bars on the side. While this appears like the conventional way of doing it, it’s not advisable to work out while holding them. These bars are designed to help you hop on and off the machine. Holding these rails when jogging or running on the treadmill will force you to hunch over. As a result, you might end up with back, shoulder and neck pain, due to poor posture. As noted earlier, you should maintain an erect and straight posture at all times. Furthermore, supporting yourself on the rails while working out lowers your workload. Whether you are walking or jogging on the treadmill, you should work out as if the rails are not there. After all, you never support yourself with anything when you are running outside.
If you normally use a treadmill to work out, you should ensure you are doing it right. By following the above tips, your workout sessions will be more effective and you will achieve your goals faster. The results might not come straight away. But with consistency and patience, you will eventually see the results.