Treadmill Running – All You Need to Know (Step-by-Step)
Planning on treadmill running or already bought one but confused about your little friend? If so, we are providing you with the answers to the questions that are wandering in your mind like actually what a treadmill is, how it works, benefits and pitfalls of a treadmill, what precautions you should take for treadmill running or keep it idle in your house or gym etc. Again many of people think a treadmill is bad. You will find answers to questions like actually is it bad for you or how long should you run on a treadmill?
What is a treadmill?
A treadmill is a special type of cardiovascular exercise equipment generally perfect for running in the same place. The machine works with a moving platform which is covered with a wide conveyor belt. The rate of walking or running of the runner is exactly the same at which the belt moves. Thus, you can control and measure the speed of running. There is a wide variety of treadmill which is expensive and heavy-duty that is driven by an electric motor. But there are some other lighters and simpler versions which are cheaper also but not allowing you to get so many facilities like the professional treadmills. You only can push the belt with your feet and it travels to the rear as there is no electric motor used.
The treadmill is typically used for running or walking, in some models, you can set the treadmill at an incline to increase the intensity of the workout as normally there is no wind resistance while running indoor. While the treadmill is a useful piece of equipment that can assist in personal fitness, it is also the piece of fitness equipment that is most commonly associated with injuries. But in this article, we will provide you with some guidelines that will help you get a maximum of a treadmill and reduce injuries. We also discuss some precautions that treadmill users and fitness facility operators can follow to promote safety.
Features of a treadmill
A treadmill is a machine built specially for cardio exercise. It helps you run, walk or jog without going outside. In most of the treadmills you can adjust speeds and increase inclines to match with the resistance of wind and you can simulate hill training just with the push of a button. With most of the professional treadmills, you can run at the rate of 12 miles per hour and increase inclines to 10 percent or more. But the features vary with their price. But less expensive treadmills are lighter and they are not automated rather manual while heavier and automated versions are more costly.
Misconceptions about a treadmill
Some people believe that the treadmill training is inferior to outdoor running. But truly, treadmills can help elite athletes train more precisely. Treadmills help runners better perform specific types of training drills like tempo and interval runs. In a treadmill with the help of technology, you can set your speed as you choose and ensure that you are maintaining it for the duration you desire.
Is Treadmill Running Bad for You?
Treadmill Running is not an alternative to running outside. But it can help you in many ways. It is a great exercising device in an adverse weather no matter you are a professional runner or not. Again, if you are very busy or parent, a treadmill can best serve you to run when you get time. It is convenient, easier and able to control the pace. Even a treadmill can simulate hill training which is helpful for you if you are supposed to race on a hilly track as it is nearly impossible to replicate a hilly track in your training session.
How long should you run on a treadmill?
Actually the time you will spend on treadmill running depends on your purpose, expertise level, and eating habit. If you are a beginner and have a little running experience, healthy eating and strength training, you can start running at a slow pace that is comfortable for you for 15 minutes at a time and three days a week. When you will be easy with your current pace then increase the amount of time to 30 minutes at a time and four days a week to maintain a healthy weight. For developing your overall fitness, you need to exercise 150 minutes each week at a moderate level of pace or 75 minutes each week with a higher intensity level, especially with double pace. If you focus on training for longer distance then run longer periods of time on the treadmill according to your goal.
Running Outside VS. Treadmill Running, Which is Better?
The treadmill is a great cardiovascular exercise equipment that can serve you the same workout if you adjust some simple things. Normally, treadmill helps expend less energy as there is no wind resistance but you can do the same like outdoor by simply raising the treadmill incline to at least one percent.
But the case for preparing yourself for a race is different. The treadmill will not provide you with the actual race environment. Different terrain and weather situation require different preparation. But treadmill will help you to maintain a certain pace no matter the weather is. In the case of professional running, it is not a complete substitute but it can alternate the outdoor running in case of bad weather. Again, there is no arrangement of downhill running on a treadmill which is an important factor to be considered if your race requires downhill running.
Benefits of Treadmill Running
Being an indoor exercise equipment, the treadmill has several important advantages.
Bad Weather! No Matter!
It’s an indoor equipment. So, you don’t need to worry about the weather, whether it is so hot, humid, and rainy or anything unfavorable. You can run in a controlled environment where you need not worry about overdressing or putting sunscreen before you run.
Safer and Easier for your body
Treadmill running will keep you safe from potential hazards like falls, cars, cyclists, dogs or other attackers. It is safer running on a treadmill than running outside alone. The treadmill can reduce stress on your feet and knees by offering a better shock absorption rather than on asphalt and concrete surfaces. It provides you with an easier run due to having extra cushioning and smooth surface.
Better control over your race condition, race course, and pace
If your race requires running on a hilly track, you can practice alike on your treadmill by increasing the treadmill incline. Again you can control the race weather to a great extent. Even you can control the pace and track your mileage.
What can a treadmill do for you?
- A treadmill can help the runner to set up an environment for running which can be helpful regardless of the weather.
- The runner can have a lower impact of training on his/her body than running outside. There is some treadmill which is fabricated with cushioned belts. But some treadmills are made of rubber or urethane deck elastomers that can provide superior cushioning and durability than normal cushioned belts.
- Professional treadmills allow you for uphill training facilities that you can’t do while running on natural track if the track is not hilly.
- In a treadmill, a runner can see the rate at he/she is running but running outdoor doesn’t provide this feature.
- Some programmed treadmills have special features where you can simulate terrains like rolling hills.
- A treadmill can help you watch TV at the time of running and you don’t need extra time for watching TV.
- You can monitor your progress lick the distance you have run, calories burnt and your heart rate with a treadmill alongside running on it.
How can a treadmill harm you?
A treadmill can harm different users differently.
As a cardiovascular exercise
- It is seen that many a time, runners run in such a bad way that it becomes a habit then the runner feels uncomfortable while running outside in a natural environment.
- For more comfort, sometimes runners run at a particular pace over and over that provides the runner an unnatural feeling. As a result, a runner can lose balance in outdoor running.
- Treadmill running is not alternative to any particular outdoor sports. Even you will find no sport that exactly uses the mechanism of running a treadmill. A competitive runner can feel better off running outdoors as it is more specific and helps match with the actual event.
As an indoor activity
- As treadmills are kept in the same place and feeling of running is not different at different times, runners may find it monotonous and lose eagerness on it after few days.
- Runners may not find top notch psychological satisfaction in a treadmill.
As a machine
- A treadmill must be used with proper care otherwise it may cause severe injuries. You must keep it in a safe place and safe mode out of reach of children as children may suffer from acute friction burns required several skin grafts leading to lasting disability. You can avoid injury to the children just removing the safety key when you are not using your treadmill as, without the safety key, the machine will not start running.
- Obviously, running outside is not so costly like running on a treadmill as it requires purchasing a treadmill, maintenance costs, and electrical costs.
- It also takes up some spaces in your home where running outside doesn’t require extra space.
How to Prevent Injuries Associated with a Treadmill Running:
For Equipment Users
- Stand on foot rails when starting the belt.
- Hold onto the handrails until comfortable with the use of the treadmill and as needed.
- Set the speed and incline which is appropriate to your personal fitness level.
- Wear appropriate athletic footwear (Try our article TOP 5 SHOES FOR RUNNING ON A TREADMILL)
- Only one person should be on the treadmill at a time.
- Look forward, and only run/walk/jog forward on the treadmill.
- Attach the safety clip/lanyard to your clothing.
- Do not step off a moving treadmill.
- Keep treadmill out of reach of children.
For Facility Operators
- A treadmill deals with a better orientation to club members or users to clearly explain the proper use of all equipment.
- Signage should be used to provide directions, issue instructional or safety information.
- Follow Manufacturer recommendations in terms of maintenance, inspection, and documentation.
- Keep the area behind the treadmill clear.
- Clearly, mark broken treadmills or remove them from the floor.
- Paint white lines on the belt of the treadmill to show belt movement.
- Provide active supervision around the cardio equipment.
- Consider using surveillance equipment.
Running one of the ideal aerobic exercises that are healthy for adults. Running keeps your heart pumping more that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease like coronary thrombosis, heart attack etc. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also assist the runners to control weight, strengthen their bodies and improve the overall fitness of mental health. So, you are thinking to start running. Wait, before you proceed on, consider some important factors like how often you should run, how long to run, how fast to run and the place where you are going to start your running. Many of you think, running outside can be more enjoyable where running outside is a monotony. Just consider a bad weather like rain! That’s why some professional runners also go for treadmill running sometimes at home or at the gym.
How to start with a treadmill?
Before starting treadmill running, you must know some important things. It’s very important to know how to control the speed and increase the incline, as well as when and how to use the emergency shut-off button.
Step on the treadmill and stand with your body straight. Start off with a five-minute walk at around 2 to 2.5 mph to warm up, so that your joints, muscles, and bones can loosen up and your heart rate starts to gently rise.
Increase the speed of your treadmill to a comfortable state, around 4.5 miles per hour to start out and start running for 20 to 30 minutes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should run on your treadmill a minimum of 150 minutes each week. But you have to run total 150 minutes at your convenient time. It may be running 10 minutes at a time and thrice a day or running 30 minutes once a day.
Give some time to your body to cool down after you run to prevent dizziness and allow your body to adjust. Stop running slowly decreasing the speed to 3.5 mph for two to three minutes and then move on to a slow walk around 2 mph speed for another two to three minutes.
For a better workout, run on your treadmill just three days per week as you are a beginner. After you get habituated to treadmill running, you can increase the day to five days per week if you feel comfortable.
Sometimes a treadmill makes you bored. To prevent monotony, you can listen to music through your music player making a playlist that can motivate you or you can watch television.
Some Factors You Should Take Care of:
- If you have a physical disability or other health concerns, please consult with your health care provider or personal doctor before stepping on a treadmill.
- Keep cold water within your reach to rehydrate yourself during your workout.