The modern treadmill is found in all gyms, homes, hotels, and even some outdoor venues. It seems like it would be pretty straightforward as to how to use this modern marvel, however, you could be using yours incorrectly. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are getting the most out of your treadmill workout.
Although the basic motion used on a treadmill is simply walking or jogging, there are still a few safety basics that you should keep in mind while using the treadmill. First, remember this is a machine and machines do malfunction so always approach it with due diligence. Stand with your feet straddle the belt when starting up the treadmill and enter all of your preferences before stepping onto the belt.
When you are ready to begin your workout, step onto the belt while holding onto the safety rails. Once you feel balanced and comfortable with your rhythm you may then let go; remembering that if you ever feel light-headed or off balance the rails are there to support you.
As with any exercise or cardiovascular workout, it is important to give your heart and muscles a warm-up period. The treadmill warm-up is about five to ten minutes depending on your physical fitness, of a mild walk to get your heart pumping and notify your muscles that they are in for a workout. After a couple of minutes, you may start to increase speed.
This portion of the treadmill exercise is customized to your level and needs. The basic workout would include increasing speed and incline to create a more challenging workout. You can either choose to walk, jog, run or a combination of the three movements at this point depending on your health and joint issues. The key to creating a challenging yet safe treadmill workout is to maintain a steady level of exertion that is about a six on a scale of one to ten. What this means is, as your workout progresses your body should not feel overly taxed or stressed. On a scale of one to ten, one is no stress easy workout, and ten is overly stressful too difficult of a workout. Maintaining a six will keep you challenged, without causing you injury or worse.
The duration and flexibility of your treadmill workout are completely up to you and your personal trainer if working with a trainer. It is always a good idea to meet with a trainer at least once per year to have your workout routine and physical condition evaluated by a professional who can make modifications where needed.
All cardio routines should end with a warm-down session to help bring the heart back to neutral. This is a slowed pace walk or jog that gradually slows to an almost crawl. Warm-down periods should last five to ten minutes. By including warm-down periods into your workout you avoid heart issues, muscle cramps, and head rushes that could lead to passing out. Lastly, remember to press the stop button after turning off the machine and before stepping off of the belt to avoid any accidental belt movement.
Treadmills are a great way to lose weight and keep your endurance up when used properly. Now that you have the basic treadmill safety tips under your belt, you can take on your workout with a sense of security.