When you head to the gym, treadmills are often the most popular destination, occupied by everyone from the first-time exerciser to the focused athlete. If you were to watch these people, you would likely see someone make a mistake, however inadvertent, while running. Regardless of your skill level and intensity of workout, educate yourself by learning about common mistakes to avoid when exercising on a treadmill.
Running on a treadmill is clearly different than setting pace on pavement; however, many people overcorrect their form due to the change in terrain. One of the most common mistakes is shortening your stride and running in shorter choppier steps due to a fear of falling off the machine. You can overcome this concern and maintain your usual stride length and form on a treadmill by making sure you keep your position near the front of the belt.
Using bad posture
Rather than giving into the temptation to look at your feet while you run, stand tall and look straight ahead so you have good alignment and your whole body can be engaged during your run. Having a focal point can help you with your gaze, whether you’re watching a television program or letting a piece of art hold your attention. Always avoid holding onto the handrails. Instead, swing your arms naturally at your sides so your legs do all the work.
Neglecting to warm up and cool down
Because it is easy to just hop on and off a treadmill, you may be tempted to skip the ‘boring’ stuff and get straight to your workout. Warming up and cooling down, however, are critical for your body. Start off with a brisk walk or slow jog and slowly increase your speed over five to 10 minutes until you are at your desired workout pace. Reverse the process when you are finished; prevent dizziness and lower your heart rate and blood pressure slowly by returning to your jog or walk for another five to 10 minutes.
Failing to vary workouts
In outdoor conditions, it’s very rare to run at the exact same speed and incline for an entire workout. That changes when you run indoors. People on treadmills can get stuck in a routine by setting the machine to a specific pace and staying there for miles. Vary your workout by changing the speed and incline once or twice during your workout. You can accomplish this by engaging in interval training, a chance for you to burn more calories and push your body by adding sprints to your routine.
Avoiding common mistakes such as these can help you decrease the chance of injury while on a treadmill and give you the maximum benefit from the time you spend running. Although using a treadmill is definitely different from running outside, you can still get a great workout if you are attentive to your habits while you exercise.