That’s the thing about running on the treadmill: Not only is it the go-to warm-up before your workout, but it can also pump up your heart rate and make you lose weight. That said, there’s a downside of running on the treadmill too.
I say this because I recently had a first-hand experience of it myself. My tryst with the treadmill led to some pain in my ankles, calves, and my precious knees.
Perhaps, God sensed his child was in trouble and sent over his guardian angel in the guise of my gym instructor, who noticed my folly on the treadmill and corrected my ways, relieving me of the unnecessary and harmful pain. This is how he taught me to run on the treadmill properly:
Ouch! Don’t slouch
That was his way of telling me to simply keep my posture right while walking on the treadmill. And the strict man made sure of it by switching on the incline mode and slanting the treadmill at an inclination of two per cent in order to mimic the natural ground-like feel.
“Walking on an absolutely flat surface can strain your knees and ankles,” he quipped while simultaneously hitting my hands that automatically reached for the bar in front of the treadmill for support. And there I was, feeling like a wannabe Milkha Singh struggling to walk straight. Obviously, eventually, I got it right.
Change your step, girl
While walking or running on the machine, I’d jump on my toes and land with a thud, as did most people around me using the treadmill.
The result? A noisy run and well, high pressure on my knees, which had to bend more to keep up with my wrong stance, or so, my instructor pointed out.
“Don’t forget the heel-first approach,” is what he’d yell while I sweated it out on the treadmill. This simply meant that I had to place my heel first and land on my mid-foot without a thud, of course, for the sake of keeping my knees safe.
Another thing he explained to me was that unlike running on the road outside, running on the treadmill means running at a constant pace, which isn’t exactly natural because when we run outside, our pace keeps changing. This also means that if you run in the wrong manner on the treadmill, that too at a constant pace, your knee is also facing constant stress. However, a heel-toe-heel formula can save them from a lot of trouble.
Walk before you run
Being the enthu cutlet that I am, I just couldn’t wait to get my heart rate up from a fast-and-furious sprint on the treadmill immediately after stepping on it. However, I was clearly wrong.
My guardian angel made sure that I walked at a reasonable pace for five minutes to warm up my muscles first before I began running. Doing so, ensured more flexibility and blood flow and prepared me for the run ahead.
Now, since this intelligent guy can’t be present everywhere, you can take a cue from my experience and incorporate these pieces of his wisdom while running on the treadmill too. All the best, girls.