Why You Should Stop Holding Onto The Handrails On The Treadmill

Why You Should Stop Holding Onto The Handrails On The Treadmill
There is a time and a place for you to use the handrails on your treadmill. Namely, it should happen when you step on or off of your treadmill, and to catch yourself if you trip. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be holding onto your treadmill handlebars.

Yet, from comments we have received here on Treadmill Reviews, a significant number of people hang onto the handrails of their treadmills for most of their workouts. If you are one of these handrail holders and don’t know why you shouldn’t, here are some of the top reasons why you should let go and allow your arms to swing free.

Holding Handrail Messes With Correct Running Form

One of the first things you should know is that by holding onto the handrails while running, you are throwing off your gait. This altered gait leads to poor running form, which in the long run, can lead to a variety of common running issues.

Even if you stick to walking or power walking, having the right walking form is important. You don’t want to unconsciously strike too hard or lean toward one side, which is far more likely to happen if you are leaning on your treadmill handlebars.

Can Lead To Pain Points Due To Misalignment

A good workout session on your treadmill will likely leave you a bit sore, but that soreness shouldn’t last or cause any sharp pain points. By holding onto the handrails, you are shifting your weight away from your lower body and onto your upper body. This shift misaligns how your body would normally compensate for your running or walking and places the strain on other areas of your body, from the upper back and onto your hips.

Even with one of the best treadmills of 2020 that has superior deck cushioning can’t save you from the impact pain of a misaligned body. It may protect you for longer, but eventually, the poor mechanics will catch up as you hang onto the handlebars.

Burn Fewer Calories By Holding Onto Handlebars

Many individuals resort to holding onto the handrails because they are going too fast to maintain their balance otherwise. They often think that by going fast, they are improving their speed and burning more calories, as the treadmill data will show a higher calorie burn. But that doesn’t factor in the lost effort of holding the handlebars.

By putting weight onto the handlebars and losing the natural motion of your upper body, you are losing out on that calorie burn. Also, you aren’t exerting as much effort as you run if you are hanging onto the handrails, making the counter on the screen inaccurate.

Causes Issues With Your Treadmill

Leaning onto the handlebars of your treadmill can cause problems for your treadmill in the long run. For one thing, there is a tendency to drag the tips of your feet while leaning against the arms of your treadmill. Even if the drag is slight, it can cause a skip in your treadmill belt that can be tough to correct without having the entire belt replaced.

Since holding onto the handrails can also cause changes in your stride, as well as slight drags, it can cause problems with the motor. If the speed setting is at 6.5 MPH but it is occasionally forced to go slower, your treadmill motor can burn out.

Works Against Your Natural Balance

While the handrails can be helpful when it comes to catching yourself when you lose your balance, holding onto them continually can interfere with your natural balance. Instead of having your arms swing normally and rely on your internal balance, holding onto the handrails shifts your center of gravity forward. With the forward shifted balance, you are far more likely to stumble when holding onto the handlebars than when you are not.

What To Do Instead Of Hanging Onto The Handrails

Okay, now that you’re convinced that it’s a bad idea to hang onto the handrails of your treadmill as you work out, now let’s go over what you should do instead.

  • Slow down your treadmill speed. If it is so fast that you have to hang onto the handrails, it is too fast and you aren’t really benefiting.
  • If you feel like your pace is too slow, but you can’t effectively go faster, use the incline feature. Increasing your incline will help keep you challenged without going too fast.
  • Work on your running and walking form. By improving your overall running and walking form, you can feel more confident when working out and not feel like you need to hang on for dear life.

By releasing your hold on the handrails and trying out some of our suggestions on what to do instead, you can better protect your body and get the fitness results you are looking for as you work out.

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