Make the most out of your sweat session. By Alex James
Photo: arthurhidden / www.123rf.com
On days where it’s scorching (or raining) outside, get your cardio fix in with a quick treadmill run. Using a treadmill can seem deceptively simple, but doing so wrongly could result in a less effective workout. Heed these seven tips to run better.
1. IF YOU DON’T WARM UP
Warming up is so essential for preventing injury, and it really doesn’t take up too much time. Stretching and warming up preps your body for running on the treadmill by gradually increasing heart rate and blood flow into the muscles, and also helps loosen up and stretch the joints and muscles. With an exercise like running on a treadmill that can go on for a long period of time over a far “distance”, prepping your body is a must. This will improve your performance and will reduce the possibility of you cramping up, and it really takes a maximum of five minutes. Also, when starting your run, build up the speed gradually!
2. KEEP YOUR EYES UP HERE!
There is a tendency to look at our feet when we run, and granted, it’s kind of fascinating for some strange reason! But not only will this make you lose your balance (which is dangerous when you’re on a fast moving machine), you’ll stress out your neck and spine. You have to look straight ahead of you so that your body will naturally align itself into a better posture.
3. YOU DON’T STICK THE LANDING
It’s surprising but a lot of people aren’t aware of how to land correctly on their feet when running. When running, land on the front of your foot, not your heel. Landing on your heel is almost the equivalent of landing flat footed, which just makes a lot of noise and is bad for your calves! Landing hard on your feet can potentially damage the machine as well.
4. YOU’RE DOING THE CHICKEN DANCE
By this I mean that your arms flap around when you’re running, but you wouldn’t want to hit the front or sides of the treadmill by accident! The trick is that once you’ve hit a good speed, keep your arms bent at a roughly 90 degree angle and make sure your shoulders and arms are as loose as possible. Imagine that there’s a line running down the middle of your body. Your arms shouldn’t cross that centre. Remember, moving our arms this way is just to help our upper torso rotation.
5. YOU AREN’T INCLINED TO TURN UP THE INCLINE
Many of us forget that along with speed, incline is a setting that’s available for you to use. The problem with treadmills is that you don’t need to run over uneven terrain that trains up your muscles and requires more effort, which may be a good thing for you at first but takes away from your workout. If you’ve been using treadmills for a while, this is a good way to mix things up and challenge yourself. Did I mention that running on an incline tones your butt muscles for a firmer and nicer shape?
6. YOUR BODY GETS BORED
Have you found a speed, time and distance that you’ve stuck with from the beginning and you’re comfortable with it? That’s nice… but wrong. Mix it up a bit! It’s easy to go back to routines that have worked for us, but our muscles need to constantly be shocked by new workouts for them to develop. If a particular routine isn’t challenging anymore, try extending the time, incline or speed at which you’re running. Feel the burn, babe!
7. KEEP IT HANDS FREE
You might be tempted to hold the side bar handles of the treadmill while you run, but that’s actually detrimental to your routine. Supporting some of your body weight with the bars will lessen the exertion on your legs, which makes your workout less effective.
A version of this article first appeared on www.herworldplus.com.