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Treading Rightly: The 10 Best – and Worst – Ways to Use a Treadmill

The treadmill is to the gym as the Shakespeare is to English literature; both are foundational, but how well does the average person know each of their intricacies? Since you’ll be on intimate terms with your treadmill throughout the course of your workouts, we thought we’d share our Coles Notes treadmill DO’s and DON’T’s with you.

WHAT TO DO

1. Walk outdoors – indoors.Set your treadmill to 1 or 2 to mimic outdoor terrain. If your treadmill’s at 0, using it will be easier than walking on the sidewalk because the moving belt makes you do less work propelling yourself forward than when on still ground.

2. Go for a hike – indoors. Mimic an outdoor hike with this workout from Rebecca Rusch, world champion endurance mountain biker. Start walking at 3.5 mph on a flat belt. Raise your incline each minute until you get to 5 percent and stay for 3 minutes. Then lower and raise the belt every 2 minutes until you reach a total of 25 minutes. Decrease your speed and lower the belt slowly over a 5-minute cool down.

3. Use calorie counters as a benchmark of progress, but nothing more. Don’t trust your machine when it tells you how many calories you’ve burned. Most machines can only guess this information based on your age, sex and weight. Instead, use the calorie count as a benchmark of your progress and try to outdo yourself week after week.

4. Lace up your new shoes every 4 to 6 months, if you walk 30 to 60 minutes 4-5 times a week. When you only use your shoes indoors it’s easy to forget how old they are. Indoor walking and running causes wear, too, though it might not show on your clean runners.

5. Skip the commercial break. Take a hint from Tom Holland, triathlete and physiologist, and watch a 30-minute program during your workout, increasing your speed so you’re running hard (almost at your max) during commercials. Go back to an easy jog when the commercial ends.

6. Double up with weights. Grab some weights to make your workout go twice as far. Use 2-5 pound dumbbells and alternate between bicep curls and military shoulder presses, doing 10 of each. To do a military shoulder press hold your dumbbells at shoulder height, palms forward. Press your dumbbells overhead and bring them back to shoulder height.

DON’T

7. Squeak. When your feet hit the joint where the tread belt meets the machine’s base, a squeaky sound ensues. This happens most often when you hold onto the rails. If you’re not doing this but your treadmill is squeaking, the machine needs servicing. Let our staff know and move on to the next available machine; we’ll get it fixed up ASAP.

8. Stomp. Running on the balls of your feet can cause a racket. Tread lightly and your fellow gym-goers will thank you.

9. Leave souvenirs. – Your treadmill’s cup holder should be empty when you get off the machine. Take any tissues, bottles, etc. with you when you go.

10. Make the next person climb the CN tower. – You might have enjoyed a high incline, but give the next person the option by resetting the treadmill to zero.

Treat your treadmill like a Shakespearian tome – and read up. A wealth of treadmill tips
are available online. These 5 treadmill workouts that you can do in an hour or less from
WebMD.com
are a great place to start.