Pure Gym Limited

The Beginners' Guide To The Treadmill

Your first time at a gym or using a new bit of kit can feel quite scary. While most gyms have staff, and even members, who are happy to help out, knowing what to do before you go can alleviate those new gym nerves.

In this blog, we share everything you need to know about using the treadmill for the first time.

What Are The Benefits Of Using The Running Machine?

Treadmills are a very popular piece of gym kit, and it's easy to see why. They're easy to use, accessible for all fitness levels, and often readily available at the gym -- ideal if you want to scope out the gym on your first visit!

Some of the benefits of using a treadmill include:

  • Improved cardiovascular health. Whether you prefer an incline walk or to run, using a treadmill increases your heart rate and strengthens your cardiovascular system.
  • Joint-friendly. Treadmills offer a cushioned surface that makes it a lower impact option to walking or running outside, making it easier on your ankles, knees, and hips.
  • Easily adjustable. You can change both the speed and incline on a treadmill at the touch of a button. This means every workout can be different, and makes it simple to do interval runs on the treadmill.
  • Burns calories. Using the treadmill helps to burn calories, which is useful if you're trying to lose or manage your weight. To increase the calories burnt, increase the incline or speed. Take a look at our article on treadmill workouts for weight loss for more information.
  • Once you've set the speed and incline, using a treadmill doesn't require much thought. Many people enjoy listening to podcasts or even watching TV while on a treadmill.

You can read more about the benefits of using a treadmill here, and about the benefits of treadmills vs the cross trainer here.

How To Turn On A Treadmill At The Gym

While different treadmills may have slightly different options, you'll typically find it easy to spot the 'on' button. Usually it's green, and will be labelled 'Go', 'Start', 'Begin', or something similar. Most of the treadmills at PureGym will have a green 'Go' button.

Before you start, attach the safety clip to your top. This will turn the treadmill off if you fall and help to prevent injuries. You can then turn the treadmill on. Once you've pressed the button, you may need to wait a couple of seconds for the treadmill to start up.

How To Use A Treadmill Or Running Machine At The Gym

Most gym treadmills have pre-set programmes to choose from, as well as an option to manually change the speed and incline. For beginners, we'd recommend using the speed and incline so you can get a feel for the pace and difficulty.

  1. Start by walking at a moderate pace for a few minutes to warm up the body.
  2. If you want to make this more challenging, increase the speed or incline.
  3. Cool down by walking at a slow to moderate pace for a few minutes.

When using the treadmill, keep your core engaged, shoulders relaxed, and torso upright, allowing your arms to swing naturally. Keep your gaze forward.

How Long Should You Run On The Treadmill?

There is no set time to aim for when running on a treadmill -- it really depends on your own ability and goals. Some people enjoy a 10-20 minute run as a warm up for their workout, while others prefer a longer run as their sole workout.

If you're new to running, you could start by alternating 30-60 seconds of running with 60-120 seconds walking, for a total of 15-20 minutes (plus a warm up and cooldown). As your fitness improves, increase the time spent running and decrease the time spend walking. Check out our jogging tips for beginners here to get started.

You can also get a good treadmill workout without running - try one of these challenging treadmill incline workouts.

What To Do If You Fall On The Treadmill?

Treadmills normally have two safety features; a safety clip, and an emergency stop button. Attaching the safety clip to your clothes is the best way to prevent injuries on the treadmill, as it stops the treadmill if you fall. If you stumble or find you're unable to keep up the pace and need to stop the treadmill before you fall, pushing the emergency stop will also bring the treadmill to a sudden halt.

One of the best ways to prevent falls is by changing the intensity of the speed gradually, and only running at a pace you feel in control of.

Should You Hold On To The Bars On The Treadmill?

The safety bars on the treadmill are primarily for assisting with getting on and off the treadmill safely. We don't recommend using them during your workout for a few reasons:

  • They make your workout less effective. People often use the handrails as it allows them to walk faster or at a higher incline, but it shifts the work from your legs to your upper body and reduces the calories burnt.
  • They impact your walking gait. Walking on a treadmill should mimic walking in real life. Using the bars alters your gait and posture and can put you at greater risk of injury.
  • They encourage you to use a pace you can't control. Holding onto the bars might seem safe, but it's actually safer to select a speed and incline you can control without the bars.
man running on treadmill

Do You Need To Clean The Treadmill After Use?

It is considered good manners to clean your equipment after you've used it, so that the next gym member arrives to a clean machine. At a minimum, you should use a towel to wipe off your sweat, but ideally you would also sanitise the station too. We've shared how to clean cardio equipment like treadmills here.

Can You Run Barefoot On The Treadmill?

It is not recommended to run barefoot on the treadmill, and many gyms have rules against doing so. Running barefoot on the treadmill is unhygienic and can also open your risk to friction burn. If you're interested in running barefoot, you can purchase barefoot shoes to get the benefits of running barefoot, without the risks.

Are PureGym Treadmills In Km Or Miles?

PureGym treadmills have the option to toggle between displaying the distance in km or miles, so you can choose which metric you want to display.

Now you're ready to use a treadmill, you can find your nearest gym here and get going! Make sure to check out our other beginner gym guides here and get more running advice here.

Thinking about trying out an alternative to treadmill exercises? Or maybe you want to know if an exercise bike is better for you? Take a look at our exercise bike vs treadmill guide and our guide to the treadmill vs StairMaster.

To help with your fitness, you can download the free PureGym App, which includes a range of workouts and classes to keep you on track.

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