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Avoid excessive exercising, pace yourself & strengthen your core to avoid a treadmill injury during lockdown

Some experts believe that excessive running on a treadmill can be harmful to your joints and bones.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jun 03, 2020, 04.12 PM IST
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According to Dr. Gulati, excessive running on a treadmill can cause wear and tear, especially on the knees.
According to Dr. Gulati, excessive running on a treadmill can cause wear and tear, especially on the knees.
When the nationwide lockdown began, a number of Indian lamented the loss of their morning walks. Some took to exercising on the terrace, some paced around their buildings, and a few invested in treadmills.

It’s the last group that Dr Yash Gulati, Senior Consultant - Orthopedics, Joint Replacement & Spine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, is concerned for.

“Though treadmill provides a uniform, predictable surface in relatively confined space for controlled exercise, there are some disadvantages associated with excessive training on a treadmill, especially if this is the only form of exercise done or if it is used out of proportion, as unfortunately it is being done during this period of lockdown. The human body needs a range of exercises and not just one type of exercise to stay agile and fit,” he told ET Panache.

Watch Your Bones
According to Dr. Gulati, excessive running on a treadmill can cause wear and tear, especially on the knees. Knee damage is commonly seen in people who over-exercise, he said.

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Though treadmill provides a uniform, predictable surface in relatively confined space for controlled exercise, there are some disadvantages associated with excessive training on a treadmill.
Though treadmill provides a uniform, predictable surface in relatively confined space for controlled exercise, there are some disadvantages associated with excessive training on a treadmill.

“Although shock-absorbing surfaces are available on modern treadmills, excessive exercise on the treadmill still transmits an unacceptable level of vibrations up the joints and lower back, leading to pain and ultimately some early wear and tear in the bones. Continuous stress on the knees while training on a treadmill can cause problems in the normal functioning of a knee,” he added. “It is therefore important to split the exercises into various stretching and standing exercises and the treadmill should only be a part of it.”

Pace Yourself
Reebok master trainer Vinata Shetty agrees. “Excessive running (over 90 minutes long), can take a greater toll on your joints and soft tissue structures when performed frequently. As muscles start to fatigue, they are less capable of generating force that can withstand the high impact forces generated by running. If your running gait or biomechanics are not very good it compounds the problem. Not to mention the lack of sufficient leg and core strength. This in turn affects the tissues and joints, leading to shin splints, stress fractures etc.,” she explained.

To avoid this, Shetty recommends pacing yourself. “One should be careful about placing too much stress and progressing too fast, too soon. Gradual increments of about 10 percent in either speed or mileage and at appropriate intervals would help the body adapt to the increased stress. (Only) when you are able to do your current time with great ease on several occasions, increase that time by 10 percent for a while. And repeat the process.”

Strengthen Your Core
“Even if running is your preferred choice of physical activity, you need sufficient leg strength and most importantly, a strong core to absorb the ground reaction forces close to 3 times your body weight,” Shetty added.

“Focusing on strength training, as well as mobility and flexibility drills would be a great adjunct to treadmill running. Yoga and Functional Training, Circuits training along with HIIT type of training protocols can easily be performed at home. The more varied your workout routine, the broader the stimulus and adaptation thereof along with a reduced risk of overuse related injuries.”

Find A Coach
Rishabh Telang, a fitness expert at cure.fit, agrees that although the treadmill is not necessarily harmful for either the bones or joints, excessive training (whether on the treadmill or off) can have many disadvantages like muscle atrophy, weakening of bones or degrowth.
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According to Telang, a strength and conditioning coach can help with a lot of these issues.
According to Telang, a strength and conditioning coach can help with a lot of these issues.

“People need to be sure that they aren't overtraining and the best way to avoid such a situation is to work with an expert coach who can give feedback in real-time, watch out for the signs of overtraining and program work to rest intervals and the overall frequency of training accordingly,” he said.

“With respect to overtraining, people need to watch out for signs such as disturbed sleep cycle, feeling sluggish through the day, not recovering fast enough between training sessions or falling sick too often. These issues could happen due to overtraining and are clear signs of the need to cut down on training intensity,” he added.

According to Telang, a strength and conditioning coach can help with a lot of these issues. “A lot of times people getting injured during exercise or while running on a treadmill could be due to a predisposition to an injury which users aren't completely aware of.”

“We end up sitting long hours and living a sedentary life due to many reasons and it leads to imbalances in muscles which can have a negative effect on posture during exercise. A strength & conditioning coach can spot such imbalances and help with drills that can improve mobility and stability in the body so that it's prepared for functional movement patterns such as running or playing a sport. ”

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