In the fitness world, a treadmill is one of the most commonly used exercise equipment. Treadmills are beneficial, more so to a person’s cardiovascular health. However, most people, especially new treadmill users ask; is running on a treadmill bad?
Generally speaking, treadmill training is an effective way to lose weight. However, it can have its own set of negative side effects too. So, to help you understand whether running/ walking on a treadmill is good or bad for you, it’s good to look at both aspects. That’s why, in this post, I’ve looked at some pros and cons of treadmill training in detail.
That’s said, let’s get into it right away!
Benefits of Treadmills
Using a treadmill as a form of exercise allows you to achieve great walking speed, practice your form, and work muscles. But, the key benefits of treadmills are:
- Cardiovascular Benefits
Treadmill workouts maintain a stable heart rate in your entire exercise time. For that, it’s considered the ideal equipment for cardio workouts. Consequently, it’s important cardio equipment for diagnosing cardiac issues. This may include heart conditions and diseases or coronary artery blockage.
Some cardiac issues don’t have visible signs and symptoms unless you subject the body to extreme stress. Well, this is where treadmills come in! These machines are effective equipment for putting a person under stress. All the while with constant monitoring and checking a patient’s vitals. That’s why doctors use treadmill tests on patients not experiencing heart problems, but showing risk factors like high cholesterol. Remember to follow up a treadmill test with other medical tests for an accurate diagnosis.
Moving on, aerobic workouts on the treadmill lower blood pressure. At the same time, these workouts increase your heartbeat to healthy levels. Not to forget that they strengthen the heart and improve the blood circulation. Besides, they increase levels of good cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins). And reduce bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins). Thus helping to prevent cardiovascular conditions.
Another benefit of treadmill training is that it is an ideal workout for warming up. It will elevate your heartbeat to healthy levels. While ensuring safety when you’re taking part in another exercise like weight training.
Lastly, incline training on a treadmill can be beneficial since it boosts weight loss. An article on Healthline suggests that incline training improves the heartbeat and helps to burn more calories. Also, it is targeted on posterior chain muscles like glutes and hamstrings.
- Controls Insulin Levels
Treadmills encourage regular exercising which is crucial in regulating your insulin levels. Especially among people with type two diabetes. Research studies have established that regular workouts reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. However, keep your routine balanced to prevent raising your blood sugar levels.
Regular workouts on a treadmill allow you to lower the blood glucose level. This may eventually help in eliminating or adjusting your medication. Also, a workout routine helps to regulate hormones thereby facilitating better sleeping patterns. Interestingly, regular sleeping patterns are important in stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Regular workouts keep you in good and ideal shape. And decrease the risk of some diseases like heart diseases. Therefore, for your heart to be in a good condition, it is important to exercise regularly. As I’ve stated countless times, a treadmill is a perfect machine if you’re embarking on a fitness journey. Besides, these workout machines are less strenuous to your body than outdoor running.
- Improves your Pace
With a treadmill, you can customize an exercise plan that suits and aligns with your goals and time. Some of these variables in a treadmill include the incline levels and speed. Moreover, treadmills have pre-programmed workout sessions like simulated hills and interval training. Some treadmills even have digital interphases. They display crucial details like average speed, calories burnt, and heart rate. Not to forget that you can read or watch TV as you walk or jog on a treadmill.
Treadmills are convenient in the sense that you can exercise whatever you feel. And if you have a treadmill at home, you can train very early in the morning or at night time. This convenience will be crucial when planning a workout program that matches your weight loss goals.
- Increases Bone Density
As you approach mid-life, the bone density starts to decrease at a rapid rate. This is caused by the loss of significant minerals in your bones. In women, this may even increase the risk of getting osteoporosis. On the bright side, running or walking on a treadmill helps to increase your bone density. As a result, you’ll start experiencing more mobility and less pain over time.
- Muscle Toning
As with other cardio workouts, treadmills engage several muscles. Hence ensuring full-body muscle strengthening. As an example, your leg muscles are toned, while the upper body muscles are engaged at a lower level. And if you maintain a good posture while using the treadmill, you’ll further engage your core muscles. This will guarantee an all-around workout. Also, like light strength training workouts, treadmill training may engage your arm muscles.
- Increases Joints Flexibility
A treadmill is a piece of practical equipment even for those with mobility challenges. If you’ve got arthritis or any other flexibility condition, treadmill training can be very beneficial. Moreover, walking on a treadmill every day will improve your overall mobility. At the same time, walking will strengthen your ligaments and bones.
Disadvantages of Treadmill running
- Treadmills aren’t wholly low-impact
Compared to running outside, treadmill workouts have less impact on the joints. However, treadmill running is still a form of running. Such high-impact workouts may result in hip, knee, and back problems. So, if you want more cushioning, get a treadmill model that includes an extra rebound.
- Some treadmill models are expensive
Before embarking on a treadmill shopping spree, there are some factors you’ve to consider. This will include; associated costs, price, and posture. Are you working on a tight budget? Well, you’ve to be prepared to spend some money since some treadmill models can be quite costly. Especially if the treadmill model is fitted with advanced or smart features.
However, ensure you get a treadmill whose features and programs complement your needs. That aside, treadmill training is quite expensive in comparison to outdoor running. This is because purchasing one is expensive and paying for a gym membership can be costly too.
- Treadmills are Cumbersome and loud
Most treadmills are huge and cumbersome, thus occupying much space. Before ordering a treadmill, make sure you check its dimensions. Otherwise, you may end up with cardio equipment that doesn’t fit in your home.
In addition, an electric treadmill is motorized. For that reason, they tend to make a loud noise. This may interfere with the activities of other persons in your surroundings.
Treadmills should be maintained regularly. This will help to prevent problems that may lead to any accidents. Also, look for a model that comes with a treadmill magnetic key to reduce the risk of injury.
- Designed for Lower Body Exercises
In essence, treadmills are designed for running, jogging, or walking. Ideally, they’re designed for lower body workouts. So, although treadmill runs aren’t complex workouts, your body will need more workouts. Hence the need to look for a treadmill that’s fitted with resistance bands, when buying on. Alternatively, use hand weights when using your treadmill. Or do upper body training after the workout.
- Limited Exercises
Treadmill exercises are limited. That’s because the only options allowed are walking, jogging, and running. Many people find this routine boring after some time.
- Few Downhill Options
When preparing to take part in long-distance races, it’s important to strengthen these muscles. Luckily, many treadmills have the incline option which is ideal for quadriceps muscles and glute.
However, this can have certain incline treadmill disadvantages too. As an example, only a few settings replicate motion that strengthens anterior tibialis & soleus muscles. To ensure you strengthen all muscles, ensure you train with both the downhill and incline workout options.
- Few calories are burnt
Another treadmill drawback is that they don’t have varied landscape and wind resistance. As a result, the body expends less energy, helping it burn a few calories. Moreover, holding handrails while running further reduces burnt calories. Not to forget that it may also affect your walking posture.
Conclusion-Is it bad to run on a treadmill?
To sum things up, there are many treadmill pros and cons. To minimize the side effects of treadmill training, settle on a machine that will align with your needs. Also, this fitness equipment should leave you fit and healthy. Other advantages of these machines are; increased flexibility, toned muscles, and enhanced endurance.
As is the norm, the cons are inevitable. That’s why you need to have a smart workout plan and avoid being hard on yourself when working out. Instead, challenge yourself based on your fitness level. At the same time, make sure you do upper body fitness exercises. More importantly, always enquire about how a treadmill is used before you make a purchase.
- Is running on a treadmill good for weight loss?
Jogging or running on treadmills provide an effective workout that helps with weight loss and burning calories. Using a treadmill is ideal for losing weight as it’s easier on the body in comparison to exercising outdoors.
- Is the treadmill a good workout?
Treadmills support multiple workout programs. However, the ideal workout will be determined by your goals. Incline training and HIIT workouts are perfect for weight loss and strengthening lower body muscles. Preloaded workouts programs and fitness apps can guide your workout sessions.
- What are the side effects of treadmill walking?
Walking/ jogging on treadmills can result in various negative side effects. The most common ones are; knee pain, slow movement, muscle spasms in the legs, and shortness of breath.
- What does the treadmill work on?
Treadmill training mainly works the cardiovascular system and the lower body. At the same time, it engages the thighs (hamstrings & quadriceps), glutes, and calves. Especially when you increased the treadmill incline. However, treadmill running may also engage the abdominals.