Every so often (really it’s closer to once a day) I encounter a list, or an article written by a professional regurgitating information on the latest trends in fitness, specifically for the sake of this article, it’s been a list of over-rated/useless/don’t do this fitness equipment.
Admittedly, when this particular type of list started circulating, I found myself agreeing with many of the claims as a fitness professional and the logic behind the claims as they were already opinions I had myself.
That being said, there is a certain belief being stated over and over again that I think is a bit misguided and very unfair to a very versatile piece of gym equipment that is getting a bad rap.
What is this piece of equipment you ask? The Treadmill.
In the fitness world, a lot of emphasis is put on losing weight, and what is the most efficient and effective way to do this.
It had always been a long held belief that the Treadmill was the sure fire way to get your heart rate into the “fat burning” zone and walk / run yourself skinny.
We have come to understand that that is simply not true.
From this discovery, a lot of misplaced hate has been thrown at the Treadmill for no other reason than it simply is not the most effective or efficient tool for weight loss and management.
While this is true, by jumping on the hater’s bandwagon and discrediting the treadmill, an unfortunate side effect is that a great piece of equipment becomes the enemy, simply because it is not as effective at ONE particular aspect of fitness as other measures.
As fitness professionals, it is important that we tread carefully when deciding what fads to jump behind and support. One thing to understand about the science behind fitness is that it is constantly changing and evolving as we understand it more and more and studies that have been long standing continue to wrap up.
So as I continue on, I want to make two things absolutely clear.
The Treadmill is not the most effective or efficient means to lose weight and maintain fitness.
The Treadmill is a very useful and versatile tool for several aspects of fitness.
So here’s my defense of the misunderstood Treadmill:
For an endurance athlete that does not have easy access to a safe running route, the Treadmill is perfect for allowing you to push the limits of your distances on a stationary surface free of traffic.
Live in a relatively flat area? The Treadmill can allow the endurance athlete to perform hill training where hills may not be easily accessible.
Is the weather inclement? Live in a snowy region during the winter? The Treadmill can be your friend for these occasions!
Want to push yourself to new distances without potentially stranding yourself far from your origin? Treadmill!
Shin splints bugging you from a rough run? Did you know that walking backwards can help alleviate that stress? Try walking backwards on the Treadmill on a low manageable speed setting. Safer than on an unpredictable surface.
With the above in mind, the Treadmill can also allow you to shuffle sideways for set increments if you feel like trying something new.
With all that being said, the last point to take into consideration is that some people simply enjoy the Treadmill and by calling them out on it for nothing more than “Because it’s inefficient” can seriously alienate a demographic. Fitness is fitness at the end of the day and as long as someone is doing something about their own health, why chastise?
Remember friends. Try to always be open minded, about all things. If we limit our minds, we limit ourselves.