How to use a treamill

Are you looking to begin a workout program but are not sure where to start?  After consultation with your physician, you may want to begin your quest for fitness on a treadmill.  The concept and use of these machines is simple but it is important that you fully understand how to use a treadmill before you jump on.

Obviously a treadmill is simply a device that allows you to walk or jog while remaining stationary.  The benefits of using a treadmill as opposed to walking or running outside are many.  First, by starting your fitness quest on a treadmill, you are able to regulate the ambient temperature.  As a beginner, you do not want to fight external factors like heat or cold.  Further, extreme temperatures can kill your momentum.  You need to develop the habit and controlled conditions remove one of the excuses you may use to avoid your workout. 

Secondly, modern treadmills allow you to manage your workout in very discrete ways.  You can tell precisely how fast you are going, how far you have gone, and many even offer resistance and/or incline to help add incremental challenge to the workout.  In this respect, treadmills are of great benefit as you can very easily track and manage your progress.

Finally, most modern treadmill offer some shock absorption.  The softer feel under foot can make a huge difference in comfort and can help avoid injury.  This is of particular importance as you begin working out.  Nothing can derail your great intentions faster than an injury as you are developing your new healthy habits.

With this in mind, these points will help you understand how to use a treadmill:

Begin your treadmill workouts slowly – As mentioned previously, you need to work with your physician as you plan your workout.  He or she can help with these initial efforts and ensure that you are beginning in a safe and healthy way.  That said, you need to begin by going slowly.  Beginning to use the treadmill with deliberate and slow progression will allow you to accomplish two very important goals.  The first is to simply get a “feel” for the machine.  Treadmills recreate the act and feel of walking and running, but they are not exactly the same.  As you walk on the treadmill, you will become accustomed to the slight differences versus walking on the street.  Secondly, by starting slowly, you will not over exert yourself.  Keep in mind, over exertion is not just getting out of breath.  You do not want to start so aggressively that you get overly sore.  If you over do it, you are likely to put off that next workout.

Do not use the handrails on the treadmill – As you are using a treadmill, it becomes very easy to use the handrails to guide you along.  Ultimately, you will begin to rely on those handrails to help carry weight.  This will dramatically impact your workout, and will interfere with your ability to develop a feel for walking and running on the machine.  You will be tempted, but keep your hands off of the rails.

Keep your focus straight ahead - It can be quite easy to start looking around as you are working out on a treadmill.  Generally speaking, your feet tend to follow your eyes, and this can impact your stride or even result in a misstep resulting in a fall.  Additionally, if you begin to dip your head as you get tired, you will find yourself grabbing for the hand rails, which of course is a no-no.  Make sure to keep your gaze straight ahead and walk/run as if you have a target directly ahead of you.

Prepare for the dismount – Often those who are beginning to use a treadmill are surprised when they feel dizzy after a workout.  This is perfectly normal as your body is simply reacting to the fact that the ground is no longer moving beneath your feet.  Don’t worry about some minor dizziness or vertigo as that is a totally normal consequence of getting used to a treadmill.  Of course if the dizziness or vertigo is extreme, you are best served discussing it with your doctor.  Never work out so hard that the dizziness comes as a result of exertion.

Wear good shoes – Make sure that you are wearing a good pair of running or athletic shoes before you start using a treadmill.  Further, never run on  a treadmill barefoot.  You can easily bruise your feet and ultimately deter your progress.

Do not try to read while using the treadmill – You have no doubt seen people at the gym running, walking, stair climbing, etc, while they read a book or magazine.  As you are learning to use the treadmill, you need to avoid any reading.  Not only does it interfere with the development of your technique, but it can disorient you with unpleasant consequences.  As you get more comfortable, you may think about adding some reading during your workout, but even then, your workouts will never be as intense if you are concentrating on a book.  To get the best workout possible, concentrate on the workout, and leave the reading to bedtime.

Learning how to use a treadmill is a fairly simple.  Talk to your doctor, take it slow and follow these steps.  Once you get the hang of things, you body will certainly thank you for the attention.