A home treadmill stands out as a beneficial and effective replacement for outdoor walking – an affordable, gym-like machine that can help reach cardio goals from the comfort of our home or office.
But is walking on a treadmill good for you? Are there any bad sides to it?
Here are the most important facts and useful info on treadmills, their advantages and possible disadvantages, including the most commonly asked questions answered.
How can a treadmill improve your health?
Ask any nutritionist and health expert – walking at least 5 km a day is a prerequisite to longevity and a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the greatest benefits of walking on a treadmill:
1. Easy to use
There’s not much to a treadmill since it mimics the most intuitive activity in the world – walking. The simplicity of it means you can easily multi-task and get things done while at the same time work on your stamina, muscle toning, and strength – a fantastic way to stay motivated for regular exercising.
2. Better control of the external factors
Unlike the outdoors, the treadmill offers you the perfect conditions for effective walking. Firstly, you’re not restricted by the weather conditions or inconvenient terrain. You can control the speed, incline, easily track the distance, calorie burn, heart rate, and get detailed feedback on your progress.
3. Improved weight loss
Walking, jogging, and running are the most comprehensive cardio exercises that are best for burning calories. Regular daily walking contributes to even and consistent weight loss, burning fat while building muscle. Controlling the incline level and speed while walking can also speed up the weight loss process and bring the results faster.
4. Heart health
A regular walking regimen on a treadmill is a low-impact, aerobic exercise, which means it brings more oxygen to the circulatory system. Cardio exercise improves heart rate and breathing, boosts blood circulation, and strengthens your heart.
5. Joint flexibility and safety
Most home treadmills come with shock-absorbing cushioning beneath the running belt that reduces impact and evenly distributes pressure on your joints and knees. Unlike outdoor walking, treadmill walking is much safer for people who suffer from cartilage-wear diseases like arthritis, ligament tears, and other degenerative joint issues. Most rehabilitation programs include treadmill walking as a safe and healing physical activity for fast and proper recovery.
Side effects of treadmill walking
Since they don’t put you in any awkward positions, include weight lifting, or make you use potentially dangerous attachments or parts, treadmills are incredibly safe and straightforward to use.
The only possible scenario in which you may have problems with treadmill walking is when you don’t use it correctly and consider the safety rules. Note some of the usual mistakes to avoid when using a treadmill:
- Stepping on a moving treadmill – is extremely dangerous and can lead to serious injury. Always start with a low-speed rate while holding on to the handles. Use the safety stop switch in case you stumble.
- Using the handlebars too much – although they are great for stability, you should try to leave them out as your body then stays in a pretty uncomfortable position for walking or running. It can cause back pain and dizziness after a longer period.
- Looking down and leaning forward – the moving belt may urge you to look down and try to remain balanced by leaning forward, but it can also cause neck pain, muscle stiffness in the back and neck area, or make you dizzy. If you can’t seem to follow the pace, reduce the speed and slowly work on stability.
- Extremely long strides – If your strides are too big, you may hurt your heels and put more pressure on your knees.
To sum up, If you’re a conscious user who follows all the recommendations and carefully reads the instructions, you shouldn’t experience any significant side effects.
Is walking on a treadmill as good as walking outside?
Yes, if not better! Treadmill walking allows you to control everything, from speed and incline to your entire body condition, by measuring heart rate, calorie burn, distance, time, etc. It also eliminates any outdoor challenges like bad weather or uneven terrain. It provides perfect conditions for low-impact walking.
Is walking on a treadmill good for sciatica?
Yes. As long as it’s moderate and on low speed, regular walking on a treadmill reduces inflammation and promotes endorphin release, which reduces pain and muscle stiffness. Reduced impact and high-tech cushioning on tread belts also minimize the chances of injury.
Is walking on a treadmill good for lower back pain?
Yes. Low-impact walking is a low-intensity activity that strengthens the back muscles but doesn’t put much pressure on the loins and lower abdomen in general. The controlled speed, incline, and handlebars all serve to reduce pressure to the lower back yet keep you active.
Will walking on a treadmill tone my legs?
Yes, high-pace walking is an excellent workout for toning thighs and buttocks. Start with a slow walk to get into the pace, then increase the speed to 3-5 mph. Set the incline around 4 percent or more to reactivate as many leg muscles as possible.
Is walking on a treadmill ok when pregnant?
Yes! Treadmill cushioning and pressure absorption systems are easy on the joint swelling that commonly occurs in pregnancy. Treadmills also help pregnant women track their metrics in detail or use pre-set workout programs suitable and safe for their sensitive condition.
Whether you’re looking to take up exercising or work on weight loss, muscle toning, and health, treadmill walking is a fantastic activity that offers much more than classic outdoor striding. It is undeniably more beneficial for joint problems, minimizing impact, and giving you an enhanced walking experience, and being in full control of your body and progress.
If you pay attention to the safety measures and focus on properly using it, a treadmill is one of the safest home exercise machines that works for all ages and fitness levels.
Sofia Alves is a fitness enthusiast who loves running and motivating others to adopt and stick to healthy habits. She is always learning, searching and investing in further education to build her knowledge. She strongly believes the worst workout is the one you didn’t bother to do.