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Should I Hold On While Using My Treadmill?

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Have you ever been told not to hold onto the hand rails while using the treadmill? Why would holding on be bad?

The original notion seems to arise from the idea that in order to derive the maximum benefit from the motion of walking or running, you should maximize the amount of weight transferred to your feet and thus the amount of effort the exercise requires. That may be theoretically true, but it wouldn’t seem to involve enough weight to make a significant difference.

The broader point is that walking and running require balance. If you are helping to balance yourself by holding on to the rail, aren’t you using the machine as a crutch that inhibits your progress? Sure, help with balance may be needed in extreme cases, but balance is generally developed by requiring its exercise.

That leads to perhaps the real, and most important, reason why people say not to hold onto the rails – safety. If you need to hold on to the rails, should you even be using the treadmill? After all, the moving belt can cause fails even in the most coordinated people. There are special treadmills designed for rehabilitation by walking. An example of this kind of treadmill can be seen at  Endurance T50 Walking Treadmill.They have long handles that run the length of the belt, designed specifically for this purpose. The speed can also be adjusted to very slow and can be changed in very small increments.

But those of us without special needs should train ourselves not to hold on. Holding on is very much like a crutch. That is, you shouldn't use it except when you really need it.

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