Treadmills: General Info

Treadmills are pieces of indoor fitness equipment used for running or walking without having to move any physical distance. The main feature of the mechanism is a rotating belt system that moves to the rear of the machine and allows a runner or walker to move at an equal speed. As such, a runner’s speed can be easily set and measured.

Benefits of a treadmill

These include the following:

  • a runner or walker can remain in the same location for the duration of the training session without having to go outdoors, and can enjoy such activities as watching television and reading while exercising
  • the stability of the running or walking surface remains constant, and the machine permits the exact adjustment of gradients and speeds
  • the exact energy expended can easily be calculated and presented in the number of calories burned
  • some treadmills even offer special features like step counts and heart rate monitors

Disadvantages of treadmills

However, there are drawbacks to using treadmills including:

  • noise pollution from loud motors
  • boredom from having to run in place
  • and the ease associated with lack of wind resistance for runners training to run outdoor races

How to use a treadmill

Remember to experiment with the controls on a treadmill before you get on. Make sure to speed it up and slow it down. You can also increase and decrease the incline and test the functionality of the emergency off button. While running and walking on the machine, hang your shoulders back, hold your head and chin up and slightly forward, then pull-in your abdominals. You should be looking forward and not down at your feet. Maintain a relaxed stride that isn’t choppy. Your normal stride should be maintained, just as if you were walking on the ground. Pay attention to where your body (especially your feet) is positioned on the treadmill. Do not allow yourself to drift away from the center of the belt or towards the back of the machine.

How effective is using a treadmill?

Treadmill exercise is only effective if you frequently engage in it. Make it part of your routine by choosing a particular time of day when you get on, and a set amount of time for exercise.