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Ask the Expert

Q: During Treading, why are we encouraged to pump our arms instead of holding onto the machine?

A: Great question and one that we all must understand! First look at it like this, there’s only so much time for exercise in a day so it’s crucial to take advantage of every minute. Remember that when the going gets tough the tough get going, (they don’t grab onto the treadmill). Sounds cliche, however why do something one way when we can get more bang from our buck another way? I mean you wouldn’t take just one pineapple if you can get the second one for free. Exercise is all about minimizing the duration, maximizing the workout, and above all keeping it enjoyable! (Yes, pumping your arms to the music is pretty fun!)

With that said, it is way better for us to pump our arms rather than to grasp on to the alluring treadmill handles. Why? Well I’ll give you five critical reasons why NOT to hold on. Below are five things we’ll let you hold onto:

  1. You are minimizing the caloric expenditure! In some studies it has shown that hanging on to a treadmill during your workout burns up to 20 percent fewer calories than simply letting go. By pumping your arms instead of clenching on your double timing the workout!
  2. Let’s avoid injury please. By hanging onto the treadmill you are putting your body through unwarranted stress and possible RSIs (Repetitive Strain Injuries). You become more susceptible to hip and shoulder casualties and may even aggravate a pre-existing back or knee problem.
  3. Depletion of your balance skills! Gripping on basically tells your mind and body that there is always a support system by your side. Self-support and your ability to balance goes out the window and you’ll soon lose your ability to perform basic stretches like standing quadriceps.
  4. Ruins your posture. To get the most out of every workout it’s important to maintain good posture – stand up straight and keep your chin parallel to the belt. Make sure to relax your shoulders and tighten those abdominal muscles. Belly button in spine tucked is impossible if you’re hunched over hanging on to the mill.
  5. In all honesty, holding on to the rails creates a no-win situation. When we walk, jog, or run we never have anything to hold. For instance if you are in that H3 treading class hanging on at a steep incline sends your body perpendicular. In effect, eliminating the incline. Any kind of holding on cancels out the action of free bearing body weight benefits.

All and all – remain fearless. It is better to keep the hands off and drop back the speed or incline. Treading is all about building up that personal cardio stamina. So the next time you begin to reach for the machine – cling onto these five reasons instead.

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