are treadmills bad for you

Are Treadmills Bad for You: Benefits & Disadvantages Revealed!

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Hi friends, it’s your favorite cardio fanatic Kathleen here, and today I want to talk to those of you who are thinking about starting a running (or walking) program on a treadmill.

I’m betting that most of you have already spent at least a little time treadmill running or walking, but if you’re on the fence about whether you should invest in a treadmill for running at home, this article is for you.

Running outdoors and running on a treadmill aren’t really the same thing, although you are doing the same exercise. We’ll talk more about this later.

It seems that a lot of people have heard that treadmills aren’t good for the body. I’ve never heard that myself, so I wanted to check into this rumor and was really shocked at what I discovered.

By the way, I want to mention that while I may discuss certain benefits or health problems in this article, this shouldn’t be considered professional medical advice.

If you want to know more about running on a treadmill, as well as what the pros and cons are, then keep reading. You are going to find this super interesting.

Let’s tackle this question first.

Do Treadmills Cause Injuries?

Yes, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, treadmills cause more injuries than any other type of exercise machine. Overuse injuries are the most common, whether it’s running outdoors or indoors on a treadmill. Typical injuries include the knees and the Achilles tendon, but runners also experience hip and ankle pain.

lady showing how you can injure yourself on a treadmill

Important Note: The treadmill itself doesn’t cause these injuries – overuse does.

That being said, you can easily slip, fall, or lose your balance on a treadmill, which seems to be what most people go to the hospital for.

Where does this leave you? Basically, if you don’t run to excess, you give your body time to rest each week and use safety measures while using a treadmill, you should be fine.

Tips for Using a Treadmill Safely

You can avoid most injuries by using the following tips:

  1. Straddle the treadmill belt and have it move very slowly so you don’t get knocked off your feet.
  2. Never play around on a treadmill.
  3. Keep your head up while running or walking so you don’t lose your balance (don’t look at your feet).
  4. Always use the safety clip provided.
  5. Progress your speed and distance slowly. This means adding no more than 10 percent to your running routine.

You should also wear good quality running shoes and make it a habit to listen to your body before and after every run. If you already feel exhausted before you begin, take the day off.

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Is Using a Treadmill Every Day Bad?

Running every day, whether it’s outdoor running or treadmill running, is not good for your body.

You should always give your body one day each week to rest and repair itself.

man trying to be safe on a treadmill at the gym

Of course, you may know people in their 20’s, who run no more than 30 minutes a day, every single day, who are at a normal weight and have been running for months or even years. I think that for those young, healthy people, 30 minutes every day isn’t a problem.

Unfortunately, that’s not true for most of us.

You might get away with walking for 30 minutes every day, but if you plan on running, you really should give your body at least 1 day per week to repair itself and rest.

While it’s true that a treadmill has a slightly cushioned surface compared to running outdoor, the wear and tear on your joints is pretty much the same.

Do your body a favor and give it a rest!

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Is a Treadmill as Good as Outdoor Running?

In many ways, the running surface of a treadmill is better for you than being outside.

Treadmills allow you to control every aspect of your exercise routine, including the incline, speed, and intervals. For those recovering from injuries and who need a more controlled environment, treadmills are a great tool.

Modern treadmill belts are also designed to absorb some of the impacts of your footfalls, which can help protect your joints to a point. It’s not like running on a mattress, but any little bit helps.

lady realizing that the treadmill can be bad for her workouts

One of the main problems with treadmill training is that people find treadmills boring. SUPER boring. I know I’ve tried all kinds of distractions, from music to audiobooks, I watch television sitcoms and game shows, but it’s still a bore.

I do love being able to watch my running form in the mirror, something you can’t do outside, and when the weather conditions outside are frightful, running on a treadmill is so delightful! (Hey, a rhyme!)

Many people find that running outside offers diversions so you don’t get bored, but we all agree that it isn’t always possible to run outdoors.

What Are the Side Effects of Treadmill Running?

While most people who get regular exercise from running on a treadmill never experience anything more than tiredness and sore legs (read more on treadmills for sprinting ), there can be some ugly side effects, such as:

  • Dystonia (involuntary twitching of the muscles)
  • Pain in the joints, including the knees, ankles, and hips
  • Paresthesia ( a burning or tingling sensation in the feet or legs)
  • Shortness of breath

There are plenty of good reasons to get your cardio workout from a treadmill, but you should be aware that you can experience some ugly side effects that will affect your health.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Using a Treadmill for Your Exercise Routine

If your doctor or physical therapist has recommended running or walking on a treadmill, it’s because most treadmills have health benefits that outweigh any of the possible side effects listed above.

trainer showing lady how to use a treadmill safely

The Benefits of Using Treadmills

Some of the best benefits for treadmill running include:

  • Superior cardiovascular health
  • Weight loss
  • Improved fitness level
  • Burns a high number of calories for weight loss or for maintaining a healthy weight
  • There is nothing to learn, just get on and go
  • Treadmills offer a variety of custom programs or you can use manual controls
  • The cushioned belt offers some joint protection
  • Treadmills are available at every gym
  • You can own your own treadmill for about the space of a love seat
  • It’s safe to run indoors (as opposed to being exposed to criminals)
  • You can use a treadmill anytime, day or night, rain or snow, hot or cold

The Disadvantages of Treadmill Running

So, with all those advantages, what makes a treadmill bad? Here are a few drawbacks to running on a treadmill:

  • Depending on the treadmill you buy, they can be expensive (you can extend the life of your treadmill by using a treadmill mat)
  • Even well-cushioned treadmills can cause injuries to the joints
  • Boredom, boredom, and boredom
  • Treadmills can be loud, which might disturb neighbors or others in your home
  • Treadmills require maintenance and sometimes repairs, which can be expensive

Generally speaking, there are more advantages than drawbacks to jogging or running workouts on a treadmill.

The Final Takeaway

While running outdoors is nice, personally, I’ll take the benefits of using treadmill any day.

Running on a treadmill might be boring, but you can always find ways to help make things more interesting, like using some of the new smart treadmills.

I think that the health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, are well worth the boredom you might experience.

Did you know that heart disease still kills more people around the world than any other health problem? Treadmill running will eliminate that worry in a matter of weeks.

Yes, while there is some risk to using a treadmill, the same is true with driving your car, and I bet you haven’t sold your car, have you?

Take care, start slow, and never play around on your treadmill, and you should be fine.

Stay happy and healthy, friends. Life is too short for anything else!