While a home treadmill may not appeal to running enthusiasts who thrive on the unpredictability of outdoor weather and terrain, most people who just want to boost their fitness without the added stress of fighting rain, hail or heat will find a lot of benefits in a treadmill. Home treadmills are very popular with people who are just getting into the hang of a new fitness program. There are a lot of benefits to setting up a gym in a bit of unused space in your garage or lounge room. We’ve got some great tips to share with you here.
HOW TO DO A SAFE TREADMILL WORKOUT
One of the best things about working out on a treadmill is that you get low impact cushioning in the belt to keep injuries away and you don’t have to fight the weather while you’re already struggling for motivation in those early days. So if you’ve just bought a new home treadmill, check out these simple tips for how to get started.
First, whether you’re exercising indoors or out, you want to warm up before you get stuck into a new workout.
To get started, you’ll want to do a bit of walking (2 minutes), some light jogging (5 minutes) and stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles (5 minutes) to encourage blood-flow to your legs and lower back.
When stretching, you don’t have to try to imitate an Olympic gymnast either. Simple straighten and stretch the muscle for 10-20 seconds and repeat twice. Light warm-ups are essential to avoiding injuries and enabling your body to recover quicker from even light workouts.
MAINTAINING YOUR BALANCE
Walking or jogging on a treadmill is a lot like taking it to the road, but it is important to recognize that on a treadmill it is the road that moves – not you. Because of the moving track beneath you, there is a higher possibility of injury then being on a stable surface. With this in mind, let’s look at some top tips for maintaining your balance on a moving treadmill.
First, your back should be straight up to keep your spine vertical. Try not to lean too much to one side or the other. Now, relax your shoulders and hands – you don’t want to clench your fists tightly as this will create undue tension in your arms, neck, shoulders and back. For the same reasons, you don’t want to hold onto the handrails on your treadmill except to get on and off the belt.
Your posture while walking or jogging on a treadmill is important for your safety. You want to aim to keep your head stable and your chin up so that you are standing tall on the machine. Try not to look down at the track or the screen while you are moving and keep your eyes forward.
To help you to maintain the right posture concentrate on squeezing your abs and backside and swinging your arms in a steady rhythm. Your elbows should be at right angles. Getting your feet right on your treadmill will also help you to avoid injury and get the maximum benefit from your workout.
Whether walking or running, you should extend your leg sufficiently so that your heel strikes the ground first, with your extended foot lined up with your hips below your center of gravity.
Use your legs to propel your body forward, not your hips. This is done by keeping your knees bent. When using the incline function on your treadmill make especially sure your knees aren’t locked.
ADJUSTING THE ELEVATION ANGLE
Once you’ve started to get into your stride on a slow speed you should make changes to the elevation and speed of your treadmill in small increments to help you maintain your balance and stability. The elevation and speed can be used to improve your cardiovascular workout slowly and some machines have per-programed workouts that will take you through different elevations and speeds. This adds variety and can help you towards your fitness goals. You can also take some light dumbbells in your hands while you’re exercising to boost your upper body workout.
Being able to add incline with your treadmill isn’t always possible (it depends on your model) but where you can do it you will enjoy a more challenging workout. You may need to shorten your striding to be able to endure for longer on an incline. You will also be able to avoid injury this way because you won’t be overstretching your legs. Make sure you swing your arms more vigorously if you want to make a climb more easy to endure.
WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES
If you want to improve your chances of avoiding injury further, make sure you have a good quality, well fitting pair of sneakers with cushioned socks. You can also find some good running clothes that can help with blood flow to your limbs during and after your workout.
Everyone’s feet are different sizes. With this in mind, sneaker manufacturers have a wide variety of models available. Different types of sneakers accommodate different foot shapes as well as running strides.
If in doubt about the kind of shoe that is right for you, visit a specialist running shoe retailer. The trained staff can help you to get the correct model and size for your feet and running style. At the end of the day, it’s important your running shoes feel comfortable. A properly fitting running shoe should feel like a part of your foot. Happy feet make for happy runners.