You’ve been away from the treadmill for a while or perhaps your new to this form of exercise, and you’re beginning to wonder if your knees and ankles will keep up. While it is an excellent form of exercise, especially when the weather outside isn’t ideal, it’s good to have an understanding of how you can look after your joints from the intensity of the treadmill.
Start with walking
Rather than breaking out into a run straight away, walking is a lot kinder on your knees and ankles because you tend to walk more accurately than when you run. The natural heel-to-toe motion when you are walking gently absorbs the force through the hip, ankle and knee joints which is a lot kinder on your body.
Warm-up and Cool Down
A lot of treadmill ankle and knee injuries are because of poor preparation and lack of cool-down exercises. Before putting your body under the stress of exercise, especially those first runs on the treadmill, it is essential to warm those muscles up. Slow walking is a good warm-up routine to start with, as well as performing some simple stretches.
Additionally, at the end of your run on the treadmill, cool down those muscles by running or walking at a slower pace and do some simple stretches so that the muscles don’t tighten.
A lot of issues on the treadmill happen because of poor posture. It is easy to get caught up in the run and forget about how the whole body is affected. Keeping your core engaged and your posture tall will help keep your entire body aligned and in turn have less impact on your knees and ankles.
Listen to your body
While having fun and enjoying your exercise is essential, perhaps the most important part of it all is listening to your body. If it is telling you to slow down, then make sure you do slow down. If something is hurting, stop, assess the issue, use some sort of brace or support if need be and don’t start again until your body is telling you it is ok. When you do begin again, ease your way into it and give your body time to adjust, especially if it has been a while.
Be mindful of the incline
Sometimes it can feel like you are only working out if you have your treadmill set to walk uphill on a steep incline. While overall, you may feel fantastic and feel like you are reaching some goals, this is actually a sure way to cause ankle and knee injuries. Walking on a slope causes the ankle to over flex which causes the muscles in the ankle to become weak. Try getting a steady rhythm between using the flat surface and heal settings to get a balance that is kinder on your joints.
Wear proper shoes
Good quality shoes are a must if running on your treadmill. While they may be expensive, the long term investment is that your ankles and knees will thank you if you buy shoes that:
- Fit Properly – Get a proper fitting for your running shoes as it will help prevent injury and help avoid any long term injuries.
- Designed for running – If possible, invest in shoes that are actually designed for running. They tend to be a lot lighter than other activewear shoes.
- Absorb Shock – Most other shoes aren’t designed to absorb the shock your ankles and knees undergo when running on a treadmill. It is best to go with a pair of joggers that absorb the impact.
Whether you’re new to the treadmill or just jumping back on after time away, remember to take it easy for those first runs so that you’re looking after your ankles and knees.