A treadmill is an excellent way to exercise, especially for those who cannot comfortably walk or run outside. However, running on a treadmill is not the same as running on the road. And people who don’t understand the distinctions and make sure they’re safe can damage themselves.
So, if this is your first time using a treadmill or have been experiencing knee pain while using it, here are some tips for using it safely and properly.
Walking posture should be upright, not forward or backwards according to Harvard Health Publishing (2020). To get into the ideal walking posture, take a moment before you go onto the treadmill to examine your posture. Here are some ways:
- Maintain a neutral spine while engaging the abdominals.
- Pretend that you had a string dangling from the top of your head. Pull it up to the point where your upper body is straight up off your hips.
- Make a backward roll with your shoulders to ensure they are not hunched. Then get on the treadmill and walk when you feel your posture is straight.
- As you walk, remind yourself to maintain this upright posture. Check your posture every time you adjust your pace or incline.
Maintaining optimal muscle conditioning requires excellent posture. The body should be in a natural position, and the joints should not be overextended or pressured any more than necessary. A 2% incline simulates the outside ground and gives the treadmill the same sense as being outside. It is not healthy for the feet or legs to have the treadmill set on a very flat setting.
Leaning forward to grab the front of the treadmill’s bar can put an exerciser off balance. As the walker or runner gains up speed, this frequently results in stumbling and falling.
Wear proper shoes
In any workout, wearing the right shoes makes a big difference. While they can be expensive, remember that this is necessary to avoid injuries and you will be able to perform your workout properly. Here are some things to remember when finding good quality shoes:
- Shoes must fit properly to prevent feet injury
- They should be able to absorb shock so that your knee, foot muscles, and joints will not get strained and absorb less. Ordinary tennis shoes are not meant for such strenuous activity.
- Running shoes degrade quickly and should be replaced after 300-500 miles of use. Hence, replace worn-out shoes and avoid using them.
- Compared to ordinary tennis shoes, running shoes are lighter and more supportive. So, it is best to look for shoes that are suited for walking and running.
Pick a Suitable Treadmill & Setting
The majority of treadmills offer an inclination setting. Increasing the incline will give you a better aerobic workout and raise your heart rate. Check your treadmill’s instructions to learn how to modify the elevation and reap the benefits of treadmill incline exercises. But watch out when adding an incline to your workout. Walking uphill on a treadmill too long can cause ankle pains and injuries. This is because the ankle is being flexed repeatedly.
The ankle should be properly supported and if your ankle is weak, further strength training may be required. Gradually increase the incline and don’t overdo it. Don’t use your treadmill without an incline.
At a 0% inclination, the treadmill simulates downhill jogging. Your knees and tendons might be under more stress, and your muscles might have to work harder to keep you balanced and in control. Overuse knee problems can be caused by excessive knee muscular strain. Set the incline on the treadmill to between 1% and 2%. This will give you the sensation of running outside.
If you have any injury while running or walking, be sure to consult your doctor to avoid further damage.
Quick and Short Stride
Keep your strides short and quick as a general rule. When jogging, it’s also a good idea to lift your feet. It will lessen the impact of the treadmill belt on the limbs.
Rotating the pelvis with each stride is an excellent concept for exercisers. Allowing your hip to be pulled back with your leg allows your entire lower body to rotate around the vertical axis. The rotation of the body absorbs the majority of the shock of each foot striking the treadmill belt.
Start slow, Just Walk
Know how to adjust the speed during your workout and how to raise or reduce it. Find a comfortable stride and stick to it. Start slowly by brisk walking at a pace of 3-4 mph to provide a cardio workout that can also strengthen your legs and glutes. Walk for about 20-30 minutes then gradually increase for about 45-60 minutes, 3-4 days a week. You’ve found your stride when you can walk without straining your legs and swing your arms with ease.
To avoid injury, a warm-up for 3 to 5 minutes at an easy pace before increasing to your target workout pace. Finish with a 3- to 5-minute easy-paced cooldown by walking at a slower pace. Cooling down helps your body to transition and recover from pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure. It also helps in preventing injuries.
Again, it is important to consult your doctor before starting any workout especially if you have injuries or weak knees, or other health conditions. Stop using the treadmill if you feel pain in your knees while working out.
The treadmill is one of the most popular equipment that can provide a good cardio workout. It is convenient and eliminates excuses for not doing regular your regular exercise. However, to achieve all the fitness and health benefits, you must use your treadmill properly to avoid injuries. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too fast. Start slow and increase your speed by no more than 15% every week so your body will get used to working out.
1. Why do my knees hurt after walking on a treadmill?
If you are experiencing pain in your knees, you might be doing something wrong. The issue could be due to worn-out or improperly fitting shoes. Your running form, such as posture or stride length, could also be another reason since your muscles are too tight, it may be difficult to distribute the impact of running evenly throughout your joints.
2. Is it OK to walk on a treadmill every day?
Once you get used to walking on a treadmill, you can do it every day. Walking at a brisk pace for about 30-60 minutes per day is recommended to avoid health risks.