Save Your Joints With A Treadmill
One of the big advantages of using a treadmill, instead of running on hard surfaces, is that almost all treadmills now have cushioned belts. People who run consistently for ten or twenty years will probably be glad to tell you about their feet and knees. Over time, the jarring effect of running can lead to joint pain. The cushioning mechanism on a treadmill is designed to reduce this jarring effect by reducing the impact of each step. Research shows that running on a treadmill reduces impact on joints by as much as 15% compared to hard surfaces.
Extended rest may allow joints to heal. It also can actually strengthen them. No one would argue with that, but few actually do it. This seems to be because runners feel so good when they run, and it does them so much good, that they find if very difficult to lay off very long. People tend to go back too soon.
Treadmill Cushioining and Running Impact
Running with a cushioning mechanism can also make the running easier than running on a hard surface. When running on a hard surface, a certain amount of effort is required to propel yourself forward with your calves and to absorb the impact of the landing of your feet. Treadmills reduce this effort because runner can exert more effort with the larger quadriceps muscles. This burns calories more efficiently.
Treadmill manufacturers naturally claim that their form of cushioning is the best. Tradenames further the impression that that company's cushioning is unique. It is difficult to determine the truth behind these claims and impressions since manufacturers typically give few details on how their cushioning mechanisms actually work. Most of the mechanisms do provide an adjustment that allows the user to choose a lever from rigid to very soft. On more expensive machines, this adjustment can be made while using the machine. On others, the user must make this adjustment while off the treadmill.
Fortunately, this is one instance where consumers are not hurt by what they don't know. Nearly all cushioning mechanisms adjust the tightness of the belt by increasing or decreasing the tension of a form of spring that applies pressure against the underside of the belt. Many suggest that treadmills owners adjust the tension to a level where they can feel the spring, but their footing stays solid. This makes sense for most people.
By Robert Braun