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Treadmill Walking Tips for Beginners

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Updated February 15, 2014

woman on treadmill

Treadmill walking is a great way to keep your walking routine on-schedule regardless of the weather.

Image: © [2009] Jupiterimages Corporation
Treadmill walking is an easy way to move your walking routine indoors. Even beginners can take steps to make their indoor walking workout safer, more enjoyable, and more effective. Consider these pointers to "step up" your treadmill walking habits from average to ideal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • If you run too close to the control panel of a treadmill, you may hold your arms too high, causing your neck and shoulders to get sore -- and believe me, too much soreness may lead you to avoid your next planned walk altogether! Instead, position yourself in the middle of the treadmill band and you will be less likely to have aches afterwards.
  • Leading with and landing on your heel can do damage to your knees, a problem area for those of us who are overweight. Try to land on the middle of your feet and roll onto the balls of them. It will be easier on your knees and, perhaps just as importantly, you will feel like your walk is easier on your body as a whole, making you more likely to keep it up.
  • Move your arms back and forwards rather than across your body and make a point to keep the motion fluid. Once you get the hang of it, it will actually improve your coordination and keep you balanced. Hold your arms at a 90-degree angle and keep your hands around hip level.
  • Looking up at the ceiling, an overhead poster or a mounted television may cause you to tip your torso back and puts pressure on your hips. That makes it even harder to take a step forward with every stride. Try to always look straight ahead to keep yourself from leaning back.
  • You should never actually slouch walking indoors or out, of course, but leaning slightly toward the control panel (from your ankles, not your torso) will create a shift in gravity that helps propel you without any additional effort. (Basically, you can walk faster without putting more energy into it.)
  • Outdoor walks often burn more calories thanks to hills, wind resistance and uneven terrain. If you aren't seeing results indoors, set your treadmill to a 1% incline. It will make your walk more challenging and as a result you will burn more calories.
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