We asked one of our Personal Trainers, David gordon to look at the impact of correct posture whilst using the treadmill… Here is what he said:
Working in the gym, provides me with a fantastic opportunity to help members deliver their fitness goals. I regularly see members hold onto the front or side handrails of a treadmill, especially when they are walking on an incline. This is common, as walking on a moving belt isn’t really second nature and it can take time to get used to it. However, it is important to note that there are many problems created by holding onto a treadmill most notably: postural problems; reduced balance and a reduction in calories being burned
The only time, when I would hold onto something, is pushing a shopping trolley in a supermarket. It’s not natural is it? Over the years I have seen people press their hands down against the side rails. This causes the body to lift partially off the treadmill, the shoulders begin to move in an unnatural pattern and the hips begin swaying, like those of a belly dancer. The majority of our jobs nowadays are sedentary, in terms of working at desks, driving, lifting item or even slumped at home when viewing a computer/ television screen. Therefore, my job as a trainer is to help you find ways to improve your posture.
Any kind of holding on will eliminate the weight bearing benefits that both walking and running brings. The lower back muscles are called the erector spinae. They keep you erect every time we move in daily life and stabilise our spine. Holding onto the treadmill, will weaken these essential core muscles as they wont be functioning correctly. As some of you may be aware, the moment you increase the speed or incline, your resting hands will tighten. I recently asked a keen member who holds on whilst walking at high speed and high incline, to walk hands off 15% incline but only at 3km/h. Within two minutes, they were too tired to continue and had to lower the incline.
When we hold onto the treadmill, it eliminates substantial workload from the legs. Our leg and gluteal muscles are the largest muscles in our body. Large muscles burn the most calories. So if you divert the work from your legs and put more emphasis in your upper body when walking, you will get minimal calorie burn. The calorie counter on the treadmill is predetermined by our weight. This figure will be inaccurate if we press Quick Start and do not identify our body mass OR by holding on to the treadmill, as this portrays we are lighter than we actually are. In other words, if a member completes a workout on the treadmill, it will show that the same reading as if the tread was left to move without anything on it.