Personally, I’m in favor of getting my daily run in on concrete and an open road. There’s nothing like hitting a new trail, discovering new routes and getting to know my neighborhood in an intimate way. But when winter hits and that East Coast chill comes to rear its ugly head all bets are off and it’s straight to the gym I go for some one on one time with the treadmill.
If you’re an avid treadmill runner I’m sure that you appreciate the benefits of tracking your miles, incline, pace and caloric burn during your cardio workout. But keep in mind that your numbers are way off if you’re committing the egregious act of holding on to the handrails and compromising the quality of your workout. (Not to mention exposure to potential germs and bacteria that may have been left by the person before you.)
Here are a few reasons why you’re cheating when you keep a grip on those treadmill bars:
- You’re encouraging shoulder pain as your arms are unable to sway naturally to the pattern of your body.
- Your posture is off as you angle your body over the arm rails. With your posture imbalanced you your back muscles aren’t engaged and you create improper spinal alignment resulting in an increased risk for stress injuries.
- You’re burning 20 percent fewer calories by under-exerting yourself, decreasing actual arm movement and adding a percentage of your weight to the machine itself.
- You’re not getting an accurate reading of your workout by underperforming.
Are you a treadmill holder? Are you convinced to let go?
No, I never hold on, ever. I only did that when I wasn’t a real workout junkie, back in the day. Now, if I feel like I’m getting tired, I slow it down to 4.0 or 3.5 for a couple of minutes. Holding on feels like I’m cheating myself and burning way less calories and not working my heart hard enough. The whole point of my cardio workouts is to give my heart a workout and to burn some extra calories.