Declaring War On Treadmills
The most popular cardio equipment in gyms all over the world is the treadmill. Sorry cross-trainer, you are a close second. The treadmill is the go-to thing for both men and women when they feel they need to get the heart rate up and burn some fat. Now some people may enjoy it and good on you, we say. There is, however, a big, big problem with treadmills and it's enough for TDL Fitness to declare war on it.
To understand why we at TDL Fitness don't like treadmills we first have to deconstruct the thing. The treadmill is a roll of rubber or some sort of equivalent on two rollers and a motor making those two rollers go forward. You press a button to make the rollers go faster or slower and for a lot of treadmills you can make them slant up a bit. There are a few programs you can find one some versions of treadmills to make them change things automatically. That's it.
So why do we have such a problem with them? Well to sum it up in a few words, treadmills are just glorified hopping machines. The idea that you are actually running on a treadmill really isn't the truth. It's like suggesting that you are actually rowing when on a rowing machine. Yeah, you look like you are doing it but there are very few similarities with the more natural activity of running.
On a treadmill you can just hop and get into a good rhythm and you can apparently run miles in a small space of time. On a treadmill you do NOT create your own momentum. You basically just push yourself up and forward enough for you to stay reasonably in the middle of the rubber belt. If you naturally slow down that's fine but the belt won't slow down with you. If you speed up then you will soon run out of treadmill. And those shock-absorb-ers in some of the treadmills might be a good thing if you have sensitive joints but if you run outside you will find the ground is not so forgiving. The more you think about it the less natural treadmill running really is.
Another big problem with treadmills is that they can do damage to you. If the treadmill is going faster than you can actually 'run' then what you might do is lean forward if only a bit. This puts a major strain on your back and can do a fair bit of damage. This can happen if you are pushing yourself. It can also happen if you are one of the bizarre people who hold on to handles on the treadmill whilst running or walking. Things like this really can do damage to your body especially if you do not correct it.
The biggest problem with treadmills is that it gives people an unrealistic idea of effort. This is more of a problem with a lot of cardio machines but the treadmill is the worst of the lot in that it does not offer resistance aside from trying to push the belt manually when the actual machine is off. If you do a cardio session on the treadmill you are of course burning calories and you it's great. However about 15 minutes after you get off the treadmill you are burning calories at a normal rate similar to when you get up in the morning. But you feel tired for longer. It is an inefficient and unnatural way of exercising.
There are much better options out there. The Woodway curve which is a sloped treadmill which only goes forward if you actually push with your legs. It offers resistance to pushing and if you slow down then it slows with you. If you speed up it speeds up with you. It is very much more natural. The reason why gyms don't get them in is because treadmills are a dime a dozen for big gym companies. This doesn't mean you have to use them though. There are a few different versions out there. These are much better alternatives.
The treadmill is an outdated method of hopping on the spot thinking you are running. It is time gyms updated themselves and made gyms more natural so you can take your fitness out to the real world without being shocked that what you have been doing in the gym has little real world application. Let's get back to being natural.