After working in Perth gyms for over a decade – I have witnessed thousands of people using the treadmill every single day. Starting off as a Personal Trainer fifteen years ago, I would commonly prescribe the treadmill as a part of a clients gym program.
After completing an Exercise & Sports Science degree and a Physiotherapy degree with first class honours – I changed my attitude towards using the treadmill.
I now ban my clients from using the treadmill, unless they are madly in love with it and won’t move their body without using it.
Here are the 3 major reasons why:
PUSH OFF PHASE IS LOST
To move forwards on planet earth we have to either push backwards using muscle force or lean and fall forward letting gravity do some of the work.
Our natural movement involves a big push off backwards – involving the lateral hip muscles, gluteals, and hamstrings.
To push backwards, the ground needs to be fixed. The belt on a treadmill is not fixed.
When your body is on a treadmill – instead of your muscles firing to push back – your body is forced to play catch up to the moving belt – meaning you actually have to lift your legs up in front of you.
UNHEALTHY MOVEMENT PATTERN
Even though walking on the treadmill and the ground look the same to an untrained eye – the pattern of muscle recruitment is completely different.
The movement pattern on the treadmill is a common reason for injury and muscle imbalances (when used frequently). Repetitive hip flexion on the treadmill combined with the repetitive catching stress on the legs creates a few issues that keep us physiotherapists busy.
KEY MUSCLES UNDERNOURISHED
You miss out on great benefits when walking or running on a treadmill. These include having strong gluteals that help support the pelvic floor muscles. It’s common in todays sedentary culture for key muscles like the gluteals to be undernourished – hence using a treadmill is further starving them of important movement nutrients that we need to function at our optimum.
If you are experiencing any musculoskeletal issues around the lower back, hip, pelvic floor, or knee joint – doing thousands of ‘hip-flexing’ steps could exacerbate those issues.
To get your body sorted – book in and see one of our expert Physio’s. Call 92727359 today.