A treadmill is a great piece of equipment to have in your home gym. It’s a versatile tool that can be used for walking, running, and even HIIT workouts.
But if you’re not using it correctly, you might be wasting your time—or worse, putting your health at risk.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using a treadmill so you don’t injure yourself or damage the machine.
Here are eight mistakes people make when using a treadmill so you can avoid them!
1. Not Warming Up First
It’s important to warm up your muscles before starting any type of workout, but it’s especially important when running on a treadmill. Start by walking at a slow pace for a few minutes to get your heart rate up and then increase your speed gradually. Static stretching exercises like lunges and high knees are also good to do before starting your run. Not only will this help prevent injuries, but it will also help you get the most out of your run.
2. Holding Onto The Rails
Many people hold onto the rails when they start to feel tired, but this can actually be dangerous! If you lose your balance and fall, you could seriously injure yourself. Instead, slow down your pace or take a break if you need to.
The handrails are there for safety in case you need them, but leaning on them can actually throw off your balance and make you more likely to fall off the treadmill. If you need to hold onto something for stability, grip the front of the treadmill lightly with both hands instead of leaning on the handrails.
3. Running Too Fast
Running too fast is one of the most common mistakes people make on a treadmill. When you first step on the treadmill, it’s tempting to crank up the speed to get your heart rate going. But this can actually be dangerous, especially if you’re not used to running at high speeds.
Not only is it hard to sustain that pace for more than a few minutes, but it also puts you at risk for injury. It is better to start at a comfortable jog and then increase your speed every few minutes until you’re running at the pace you want to be at.
4. Wearing The Wrong Shoes
Wearing shoes that are too old or not meant for running can lead to injuries like blisters, shin splints or Achilles tendonitis. Make sure your shoes are in good condition and provide adequate support before hitting the treadmill. If you’re not sure what kind of shoes to get, go to a running store and have them help you find a pair that’s right for your feet.
5. Slouching Over
It’s important to maintain good posture when running on a treadmill, just like it is when running outdoors. Slouching can lead to back pain and poor form which can make it harder to breathe properly as well as impact your workout and put strain on your body. Stand up tall and keep your shoulders back while you run.
6. Not Staying Hydrated
It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re working out, and that includes when you’re running on a treadmill. Bring a water bottle with you and take a sip every few minutes to make sure you’re not getting dehydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink—by then, it’s too late!
Not staying hydrated can lead to headaches, fatigue, and cramps. It can also make it harder to regulate your body temperature, which can be dangerous when you’re working out in a hot environment like a gym.
7. Skipping The Cool Down
Not cooling down will make it harder for your body to recover and can lead to cramps or other injuries. Just as it’s important to warm up before starting your run, it’s equally important to cool down afterwards. Slowly reducing your speed and walking for a few minutes will help bring your heart rate down gradually and prevent dizziness or lightheadedness. Static stretching exercises like lunges and hamstring curls are also good for cooling down. Make sure to drink plenty of water afterwards as well!
8. Not Cleaning The Equipment
Not cleaning the treadmill after you use it can lead to the spread of germs and bacteria, which is not only gross but can also be dangerous. Wipe down the handrails, control panel, and any other areas you may have touched with a disinfectant wipe before you leave. This will help keep the equipment clean for the next person and reduce your risk of getting sick.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I stay on the treadmill?
Most experts recommend 20-30 minutes as a good amount of time to spend on the treadmill. However, it is important to listen to your body and not overdo it. If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous, take a break and drink some water. It is better to end your workout early than risk injury by pushing yourself too hard.
What should I wear while running on a treadmill?
You should dress for the treadmill just as you would for any other type of workout. Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that won’t restrict your movement. As we mentioned above, you may also want to invest in a good pair of running shoes to help support your feet and prevent injuries.
Should I incline the treadmill while running?
Inclining the treadmill can help you burn more calories and tone your legs. If you’re new to running, start with a low incline and gradually increase it as you get comfortable. Remember to warm up before increasing the incline to avoid injuries.
What are some good treadmill workouts for beginners?
If you’re new to running, start with a simple workout that includes a warm-up and cool-down. Try walking for 5 minutes to warm up, then alternate between 1 minute of running and 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes. Finish with a 5-minute cool-down by walking at a slow pace. As you get more comfortable, you can increase the amount of time you run and decrease the amount of time you walk.
Treadmills are a great way to get in a workout, but it’s important to use them safely.
Now that you know some of the most common mistakes people make on treadmills, put them into practice next time you hit the gym!
Avoid these eight mistakes next time you hit the treadmill and we guarantee you’ll have a better—and safer—workout! And remember to have fun – working out should be enjoyable, not something that feels like a chore.