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Treadmill exercising is proven to be one of the most efficient means of getting in shape and losing weight. The mass appeal of exercising on a treadmill is anyone can do it. The only skills you need are the ability to walk or run. If you can stand up on your two feet then you can exercise on a treadmill. But that doesn't mean that everyone is using their treadmill correctly, or that they are working out efficiently.

So let's review a few suggestions so you can optimize your treadmill workout:

Holding on to the Siderails

I know the siderails give a feeling of security when you are walking on a moveable surface. There are a couple of problems with holding on to the rails. First, you have to slouch, and ever since we've been a child we have been reminded that is bad. When walking or running you want to be upright, with the best posture possible.

The other problem with holding on to the rails is that you are reducing your weight load, and in the process reducing the effectiveness of your exercising. Imagine that the rails are not even there, and you are walking or running outdoors. If you feel awkward not holding on, then slow down the pace or reduce the incline.

Also, it should be noted that a treadmill with heart rate control, but without the wireless belt, is useless. If you are sold on heart rate control make sure you get a model that is wireless, otherwise you must hold on to the rails to enact the program.

Stepping Off While Moving

Probably the largest source of injuries on treadmills are from people moving off before the treadmill has stopped or sufficiently slowed down. If you want to get a towel, drink some water or change the channel, slow the machine down to a very reduced pace and lower the incline. Jumping off while moving too fast can result in strained joints and injuries.

Not Exercising Hard Enough

When I am at the gym I see numerous people on treadmills who are not even breaking a sweat. Meanwhile I'm sopping wet. Now you don't want to push it too hard and have a stroke, but if you are going to the trouble to get on a treadmill, then get some results. That means push the speed or incline up so you can feel a burn. I recommend interval training, where you alternate from a sweat breaking pace to a cool down pace. The incline control is excellent for increasing your cardio workout.

The Right Stride

People can get nervous on a treadmill and have a fear of falling off. They often use short choppy strides, rather then their natural gate. Walk or run on the treadmill as if you are outside. Feel that natural motion that will result in burning off the most calories.

If you are working out at a gym you may walk to spend a few minutes with a trainer to get the best results from your treadmill exercising.