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running on treadmill in gym or fitness club - group of women and men exercising to gain more fitness

The treadmill can be an extremely effective and useful tool in any workout regimen. However, it is not surprising that there are a large number of myths and misconceptions about this piece of fitness equipment. Here is a look at some of the most common myths about treadmills that can change the way you work out.

Myth 1: You will run outside at the same speed as you do on a treadmill – This is a total myth. You may be able to run a 6-minute mile on a treadmill, but it does not mean that you can do the same outside. The world outside is very different with lots of other variables such as weather, hills, uneven surfaces, headwinds, traffic, and more. Moreover, the spinning belt of the treadmill actually allows you to run a little faster than you do outside. This is especially important to remember if you are training for a competition race.

Myth 2: Calorie counters on treadmills are accurate – Our bodies are very unique. You cannot believe that a treadmill can give an accurate calculation of caloric burn simply with your age and weight typed in. Calories burned given in a treadmill should be used more as a general guide.

Myth 3: Treadmill running is harsher on joints – This is another common myth that many people believe. The truth is that running on a treadmill is actually gentler on joints. This is because its surfaces are padded which helps in lowering the impact when you land on your heels as compared to running outside. This helps significantly in preventing joint strains that are commonly associated with running on a tarmac or concrete surface.

Myth 4: Cardio should always be performed before strength training – If your goal is weight loss or cardiovascular endurance, it may be a better idea to start with cardio – this is when you have a set of legs that are still fresh. If your ultimate goal is muscle strength or size, you should hit the weights first while before your energy levels begin to dip. Actually, the order of strength training versus cardio does not make much of a difference – it is more important to work out in a way that works for you.

Myth 5: You should hold treadmill handles while running – This is a myth. It is dangerous to hold on to the handles of a treadmill, especially when you are moving at faster speeds. It also makes fundamental changes to the way your body moves and can lead to less stability when you are running or walking without a treadmill. Moreover, when you hold on to treadmill handles while moving at an incline, it actually negates the incline.

Myth 6: Outdoors running is simulated when you run at a 1% incline – Due to the fact that it is easier to run on a treadmill, adding a 1% incline can help in increasing energy output and it can also help in better simulating outdoors running. However, you need to keep in mind that the 1% incline is very general and is an oversimplification; this has been found to be accurate only when you run at speeds of 7 mph or faster.

Myth 7: Treadmill running results in less knee injury – Treadmills have padded surfaces that soften the impact and in regards to running outdoors, running can be tougher on the legs and knees. However, researchers have found that treadmill runners use a stride that is slightly modified as opposed to when they run outside. They tend to have a bouncier run and may also over-stride. Such differences in running form actually may have an impact on the knees.