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Do you recommend using a treadmill?

Do you recommend using a treadmill?

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A treadmill is supposed to help simulate walking and running; however, it alters movement mechanics. A treadmill is essentially a surface that continuously moves beneath your feet. When you walk or run on the ground, the ground is not moving – you have to move yourself across the ground. This difference is paramount, as the treadmill scenario changes the interaction between your feet and the surface of support in relation to gravity. As a result, most people are doing (much) more harm than good when using this kind of machine.

Does this difference of the ground moving instead of you moving really have that big of an impact on your structure? Yes. Something as simple as footwear can drastically impact your movement. The more a pair of shoes alters the natural mechanics and function of your feet, the more likely you will experience pain throughout the kinetic chain (feet, knees, hips, lower back). Using high heels as an example – by restricting the foot’s natural range of motion, they force the feet to work differently and destroy the foot’s natural architecture in a short amount of time. Likewise, most walking/running shoes are designed to offer excessive comfort, which only make your feet weaker and further expose you to injury and chronic pain.

Many people walk and run using poor mechanics, a result of modern lifestyle impacting the human body’s structure in various ways (e.g. modern footwear, excessive sitting). If running is not effortless and pain-free for you, lacing up sneakers with overly cushioned soles to run on a treadmill is not the wisest idea. For most, a treadmill will only add unnecessary stress on your joints, and one day you will feel it, if you aren’t already.

There is an ideal way to run on a treadmill which will reduce the stress and minimize the common issues and injuries associated with treadmill runners, but that is for another article. For now, ditch the treadmill and get outside for some natural outdoor activity. Do something that is nourishing for your joints. Take a joint prep class, learn proper strength training, learn how to run more efficiently. These are some of the areas that Athletic Engineering and The Strength Cave (thecavesvg.com) focus on to help people walk/run and move more easily, naturally, and pain-free.

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