Running on a treadmill is slightly easier than running outside for several reasons: you don’t have to deal with changing terrain, wind resistance, and the ground moving underneath you.
Do not hold dumbbells to make your workout more difficult.
Though I applaud the desire to work harder, this is one instance where it can be too much. Holding weights while walking or running on the treadmill can throw your natural stride off. Your body will be forced to compensate in a negative way, which can lead to injury. Stick to increasing the speed and/or the incline to make your cardio sessions more challenging.
Ask before changing the channel on a shared TV.
Many gyms have rows of cardio machines with numerous television monitors in front of them. You plug your headphones into a box on your machine and then tune in to the channel of the TV you want to watch during your workout. Usually this is a monitor relatively close to the machine you will be using. If the channel on the TV in front of your treadmill is set to the Food Channel and you’d like to watch Law & Order, you have to check to make sure no one is watching how to make a raspberry sorbet.
Here is the proper protocol: Stand under the TV and face the cardio equipment. Point up at the monitor and ask if anyone minds if you can change the channel. Scan the room while waiting for a response. If anyone says yes, he or she is watching. Then move to another machine. If no objection is made, feel free to turn on your show.
Running Does Not Cause Osteoarthritis
Shocked to hear this? Most people are. There now exists definitive empirical evidence in the form of longitudinal studies that show that runners have a lower incidence of osteoarthritis than their nonrunning counterparts. One of the main reasons for this is that runners weigh significantly less than nonrunners. You know what is really tough on the joints? Carrying twenty, thirty, fifty excess pounds around twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Don’t forget to wipe.
Wipe down your cardio machine after you use it. You might think that this tip doesn’t need mentioning, but it most certainly does. Cardio machines are constantly left covered in sweat by inconsiderate gymgoers. It’s just gross. When you are finished with your workout, just take your workout towel or a few paper towels and wipe away all the sweat. Some gyms have spray bottles of products that you can use to clean the equipment.
My sweat rate is so high that not only is my treadmill completely coated with sweat, I also hit the treadmills on either side and the one behind me as well. I’m pretty much like Shamu at SeaWorld; there is a “splash zone” all around me. Suffice it to say that people who know me avoid being anywhere near me during my cardio sessions. But I wipe up every single drop of sweat I create. It just takes a while.
The Stationary Bike
For those who either can’t or don’t want to use the treadmill, the stationary bike is a great alternative. Your body is supported, and there is much less impact on the joints. Just as with the treadmill, you want to vary your workouts on the bike. Some days just ride easy, other days do short intervals and long tempos, and throw a hill workout in every now and again as well.