Look at you, keeping your resolutions! We’re psyched you’re still going to the gym, jumping on the treadmill and actually running (well, most of the time). But there’s always room for slight improvements. Avoid these six treadmill pitfalls and you’ll stay healthy, injury-free, and burn more calories. Really.
1. Twisting Your Neck To Watch TV
Or eating ice cream. Or basically just multitasking too much. We know that How I Met Your Mother episode is really thrilling. You know what isn’t? Straining your neck and spending the rest of the week in bed with a hot water bottle.
2. Holding On To The Handles
As long as you keep running, you can do whatever you want with your arms, right? Nope. When you hold onto the handles or sides of the treadmill to give your legs a break, you’re cheating yourself out of burning 20 to 25 percent more calories, according to personal trainer Tom Campbell. Let go and slow down your pace if needed—just engage your whole body.
3. Staying Too Close To The Front
Yes, we know you’re afraid of falling off. So are we. But that doesn’t give you an excuse to run on the front half of the belt. You’ll end up taking smaller steps, which can actually increase the risk of injury, not decrease it. Lengthen your stride and stick to the center of the belt for a faster and safer run.
4. Putting Weight On Your Heels
As you run, make sure you’re hitting the treadmill belt with the middle of your foot, then rolling up to your toes. Landing on your heels puts unnecessary stress on your knees and could cause shin splints. Ow.
5. Setting The Incline Too Steep
If you run at the maximum incline, you’ll get a great workout—for a while. But if you’re running at the max every single time, you’re also working the same muscles every time. Run at a variety of settings to burn the most calories and keep all of your muscles moving.
6. Never Setting The Incline At All
It’s still better than sitting on the couch eating Doritos, but running at a zero incline every single time stops being challenging for your muscles after a few weeks. Also, aren’t you bored?