Running on a treadmill is a convenient, easy way to strengthen cardio and lose weight… But, you have heard all that before, and everyone knows how valuable a treadmill is. However, are you aware of treadmill technique?

There is a technique to running on a treadmill, and if ignored there will be consequences. Whether you are running at the gym or in the living room while watching “Days of Our Lives”, keep these techniques in mind.

–Handle Bars are Not Meant for Holding.

Yes, I know it is tempting to grab on to those handlebars especially after running a few miles, but this is a great big no-no.  The only time you should grab the handle bars is when you are checking your heart rate— that is, if it has a heart rate monitor— or if you need to regain your balance.

Never should you for any reason be resting your weight on the handle bars of a treadmill, not while you are running. It makes the exercise less effective.  Resting your weight on your arms takes tension off your legs, which leads to less muscle contraction and, subsequently, less caloric burn.  This isn’t the worst of it through.

Holding the handle bar offsets alignment.  Throwing your posture out of alignment to grip the handle bars is going to create a jarring motion on the spine, which could lead to back problems and scoliosis.

So, when you catch yourself slouching on a treadmill remind yourself to shape up.

–Forefoot Running

With all the advancements in treadmills and footwear, heel striking is not as big an issue as it would be, say, if everyone was barefoot.  Interestingly enough, this is where barefoot running gets some of its hype.  When your feet are unprotected while running, one naturally runs with a forefoot step rather than striking the heel against the ground. Of course, you do not have to be barefoot to run with a forefoot step.

There is little chance that running with a heel strike is going to dislocate your knees or anything like that because the soles of shoes are more than capable of protecting from jarring impact.

Though, running with a forefoot strike doesn’t just prevent jarring impact on the knees and legs, it’s also all-around better exercise.  The jarring impact of the foot hitting the ground is taken from the bones and absorbed by the muscles instead, which stimulates muscle development.