If you have ever experienced knee pain from an injury, tendonitis, or arthritis, you know it can be a nuisance. Short walks and exercise can improve your strength and lessen your pain. But sometimes, outdoor exercise may not always be possible, so a treadmill may be your perfect solution. It can help you stay active and stimulate a walking motion.
How to Prepare For a Treadmill Workout
Before starting your treadmill workout, you need to relax your knee muscles first and minimize aching. You could do this by applying heat 15-20 minutes before a workout, wrapping a heated towel over your legs, or getting a warm shower. In addition, you could do the below actions to minimize injury and lessen your knee pain when using a treadmill.
Wearing Proper Shoes
Don’t just grab any shoes but invest in quality sports shoes for working out.
- The shoes should be light and offer support when walking or running.
- Make sure the shoes fit properly to avoid foot and knee injuries.
- Avoid worn-out shoes; ensure you often replace your workout shoes.
- Shock absorption-only workout shoes can help absorb shock by reducing the impact on your knees and feet muscles. For example, if you are a tennis player, avoid using your tennis shoes to work out, as they are not built for a strenuous workout.
Maintain a proper posture for optimal muscular conditioning. A 2% slope assists the treadmill in mimicking the outside ground and having the same experience as an outdoor exercise. Running or walking on a treadmill with no inclination forces your knees to be quite stiff instead of naturally relaxed and slightly curved.
This motion might result in knee and foot discomfort and muscular tension. You should also avoid leaning forward to grab the front-of-the-treadmill bar as it will affect your balance and lead to stumbling and falling.
Observe the Incline
Stepping uphill on the treadmill for extended periods might result in ankle discomfort and injury due to your ankle being continually excessively flexed. If you’re already dealing with knee pain, this may worsen your situation. So it’s good to support your knees properly since your ankle muscles are already weak. In addition, you may need extra strength training activities that are recommended by your doctor.
Warming-up & Cooling-down
It’s good to ensure that you warm-up and cool down your muscles to prevent your knee pain from intensifying. Stiff muscles lack flexibility and blood circulation, so it is critical to warm them up before throwing them under stress through exercise. You could do this by a solid warm-up of walking gently for 5-10 minutes, followed by static stretches plus range-of-motion exercises.
Muscles tense fast when activity abruptly ceases, so cooling them down is important for injury prevention. To cool down your muscles successfully, you should run or walk slowly for the last 10-15% of your treadmill time. Ensure you extend your hips, feet, and back muscles.
Working Out on a Treadmill
Working out is something you should carve some time for. First, it’s critical to listen to your body, whether you’re dealing with kneeling pain or injury. Then find a routine that works best without causing discomfort or damage.
Treadmills are ideal for indoor exercise but ensure you keep your knee issues in mind so you can customize the workout to fit your needs. If you’ve never used a treadmill before, it’s best to consult with an exercise professional for a demonstration.
How to Choose a Treadmill
Before you begin walking on a treadmill, make safety a primary consideration. You don’t want to endanger yourself or aggravate your knee’s condition.
- Use a full-size machine with a belt of at least 50 inches long and 22 inches broad. Get a padded tread belt to protect your joints.
- The treadmill should have handrails on all sides and not just the front.
- There should be a safety clip that you can fasten to an item of your clothes to stop the treadmill if you fall.
- It should have a stop button for emergencies. Ensure you learn how to utilize the buttons to use them appropriately.
Signs That You’re Overdoing Your Workouts
Before you start complaining, you should know that any workout may feel stiff, especially if you were not recently active. A new training plan may take your body six to eight weeks to adjust to. It’s common to get some stiffness, discomfort, and inflammation during this period, but it gets better.
During this time, you can take shorter walks or even do them less frequently throughout the week to settle in.
Muscle pain after an exercise is normal but if you believe you went overboard and your knees begin to pain and swell, apply a cold compress for 15-20 minutes.
Benefits of a Treadmill for Knee Issues
A moderate workout may benefit your painful knee in the following ways:
- It increases blood circulation towards the cartilage and gives nutrients to keep it healthy.
- It strengthens the muscles surrounding your knee and minimizes joint strain and wear and tear on your cartilage.
- It may promote weight loss which minimizes pressure on your knees.
Treadmills are great for your knee pain and may promote your muscle health. But you need to ensure you use the treadmill correctly, have the right aerobic shoes, and follow the above ways to ensure you’re not worsening your knee issues. Failure to do this may result in injuries that may not be good for your condition.
For better and effective results, you may consult with a doctor and an exercise specialist on using treadmills for knee pain.