Are Treadmills Bad For You?

In a simple word, no. They’re ideal equipment to get you in shape whilst offering many additional health benefits too!

Are Treadmills Bad For You?

According to a report published by BLS, only 19.3% of the UK population exercised regularly; for males, the percentage was slightly higher at 20.7%, while for females, it was lower at 18.5%. It is a worrying record; exercise has no substitute. You can consume a healthy diet, but your body muscles still won’t enjoy the flexibility and health that can be achieved by regular training.

Why don’t the British exercise?

A recent club history survey in the UK showed that 66% of the British public fail to have free time to visit a gym twice a week. The daily involvements make it challenging to create time for exercise; hence, they have to give up on their cardiovascular health.

It is understandable that going to a gym may take more time in travelling than exercising. Moreover, a gym is usually filled with trainers, and can sometimes be disgusting when having to use sweaty exercise equipment. I know from personal experience that on occasions (although few and far between) I’ve had to wait until a machine dries or is cleaned for further use.

The negative effects of treadmill

Nevertheless, you can still work out in your home on a treadmill. Treadmill running is an effective cardio workout that improves your fitness and helps lose weight. Recently, a popular report has surfaced that suggests treadmill running is bad for your physical health.

The report is based on several heart diseases that running may cause in adults; it also strengthens its claim by talking about knee pain and overuse injuries that may impact an individual’s life.

The report has hindered the confidence of various trainers in treadmill running. Some of them have switched to a different exercise routine or outdoor running. The myth needs to be debunked. The claims mentioned in the report are specific to certain individuals and aren’t “definitely” caused by treadmills. Instead, the health problems are based on the physical health of the individual trainers themselves. 

In this blog, we are going to talk about whether the recent rumours about treadmill running are justified and how to make your treadmill training safe. Let’s go.

Is running on a treadmill bad?

Most users are concerned that running on a treadmill increases their heart rate, and they run short of breath after several minutes of running. Although it is true, the problems shouldn’t worry you; it is what an exercise is supposed to do.

Experts have proven that a heart rate close to 67% of the maximum increases your metabolism, which results in higher weight loss. Similarly, once you start running, your body exerts effort under strain, which results in mild exhaustion. Thus, several long breaths will fix the problem.

However, it is advised to seek professional medical advice before starting a HIIT workout routine. As the workout demands varying heart rates, it is essential to ensure you are safe for it. Usually, people with chronic heart diseases aren’t advised to practice HIIT workouts regularly, as it may lead to unwanted results.

Another highlighted problem from a treadmill is knee pain. It is the most legit concern amongst treadmill trainers. Still, it needs some clarification. Manual treadmills require force from your body to turn the belt. As the machine gets older, friction between the belt and track increases; thus, it demands more effort to rotate. The increased power may result in joint pain for aged individuals. Nevertheless, you can fix the problem in three ways.

  • An electric treadmill: it has an electric motor that rotates the belt. So, you won’t need to apply external efforts to move it.
  • Running shoes: wearing soft grippers will ease the rotation of the belt; hence, you would require less force.
  • Lubricating the running surface

Advantages of treadmill

While we have already talked about treadmills’ disadvantages, you might have noticed that the problems are merely excuses to not work out. They have little reality in them; nevertheless, the treadmill has some great advantages that will help you improve your health.

Weight loss

A WHO research showed that 39.8% of the world population had a BMI index of more than 24, which means they lie in the overweight category. 19.8% of the population had a BMI index of more than 30, which indicates they are suffering from obesity. The proportion includes more than a hundred million people at an increased risk of heart attack, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

Their health can only be improved by changing their lifestyle and introducing a weight-loss routine. A treadmill can help you increase your calorie burn. It provides you the opportunity to enjoy a better quality of life. A survey showed that one hour of treadmill running can burn up to 1000 calories; it is probably the most effective equipment in losing weight rapidly.

A treadmill allows you to practice high-intensity training. It puts your body in the fat-burning zone that increases your metabolism, thus helping in weight loss. There is a wide range of HIIT workouts detailed on our website; you can look at our previous blogs to find out more about them.

Improving muscles

While the treadmill is usually perceived as weight loss equipment, it is equally effective in building your muscle and improving your spine health. Health researchers have proven that exercising regularly in the correct running form can strengthen your back muscles that help in improving your body fitness. Similarly, running on a treadmill requires higher efforts from your lower body muscles. The strain results in fat loss from the regions, and the muscles look more prominent.

Proper running can help your calf and thigh muscles. With every footstrike, the soft impact will be translated to your lower body. Similarly, you can use an incline running track to improve your glutes. Longer strides will help your calves and ankles.

A treadmill’s results on your muscles would depend on how you use it. If you are aiming to work out for lower body muscles, lateral walking and ladder workouts can be of great help. On the other hand, if you wish to focus on your abdominal muscles, strength training would bring better results.

Before you start working out on a treadmill, you should ensure that it has a cushioned belt. Better cushioning would reduce the impact of each footstrike; hence, you would be able to avoid injury or joint pain.

Building endurance

Endurance is often an overlooked advantage of treadmill training, mainly because few people aim at building endurance. Nevertheless, if you want to train for a marathon, treadmill running is a great idea. You can set the treadmill at a specific intensity, and it will run at the same speed as long as you want. Your high-intensity periods must be longer than rest intervals to have the desired benefits.

However, it is important to ensure that you imitate an outdoor environment before running on the treadmill. Outdoor runners have to face wind resistance, which slows their speed and results in more effort. To account for wind resistance, you can run at a higher incline level. Angular running would demand more energy from your body that will eventually help you on the final day.

Training on a treadmill will help you improve the strength of your muscles and would also train your body to slow the exhaustion process. Hence, on the competition day, you will be prepared to run consistently with a higher heart rate without getting tired.


The purpose of the blog was to address the concerns of trainers regarding the disadvantage of treadmills. After reading the blog, you would have learned that the risks involved with the treadmill aren’t severe and can be reduced to a minimum by taking the necessary steps. The opportunity of losing weight and building muscles provided by the treadmill is second to no other workout equipment.

Nevertheless, I still recommend that you consult your GP or physical therapist about any health issues related to running on a treadmill. You need to ensure that your body is ready to take on the training strain.

Remember, good results take time, and it is important to stay consistent and determined towards your goal.


Is running outdoors healthier as compared to treadmills?

No, it is not. Often pavements / public tracks are made of cement bricks that induce a higher impact on your feet while running; it results in joint and knee injuries. On the other hand, a treadmill contains a cushioned track that cuts the impact to a minimum and helps in avoiding damages.

Is treadmill running bad?

In the light of the evidence presented above, it is safe to say that a treadmill is a great tool to help you get into a better physical version of yourself. It provides an authentic running experience in the comfort of your own home. The health concerns regarding a treadmill are based on special cases of individuals and don’t apply to everyone.

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