I’m actually amazed at how often I’ve come across the question, “Is it OK to Just Use the Treadmill at the Gym?”
I know you may feel that if you’re going to the gym then you should perhaps be lifting weights.
Maybe you should be taking part in a class.
You probably feel a little embarrassed about simply using the treadmill.
In fact, you could even be avoiding any form of physical activity altogether because of how you feel.
Well, stop worrying.
I’m all for you just using the treadmill and I’ll happily explain why now.
Is it OK to Just Use the Treadmill at the Gym?
It is perfectly acceptable to just use the treadmill at the gym. It’s your gym membership, so you can use it how you please. Don’t worry what other gym members may think of you, as most people are solely concentrated on their own workouts. Depending on your level of fitness you’ll typically find treadmill walking or running easier on the joints. Plus, you have more control over factors like speed and terrain. Furthermore, using the treadmill allows you to work out on cold, wet, and miserable winter days when you may not have otherwise.
1. It’s YOUR Gym Membership
I’m just going to put this out there – it’s your gym membership, so you can use it however you want.
There are no specific rules as to what equipment you can or should use, the choice is entirely yours.
Admittedly, there are some things that you can’t do in the gym.
However, these are more in line with using gym equipment inappropriately.
Then again, there are even entire commercial gym groups that have banned particular exercises, or perhaps don’t have the necessary equipment.
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With that being said, the vast majority of commercial gyms will have plenty of treadmills.
So, if you want to turn up and simply walk or run on a treadmill, and then leave, that’s your call.
2. Most People Won’t Pay Any Attention to You
I would hazard a guess that the main reason you want to know if it’s OK to just use the treadmill is because of what other members may think or say.
However, in truth, this is mainly down to your perception of others.
The vast majority of people in the gym have no interest in what you’re doing.
And most won’t even pay any attention to you.
You may get the occasional snide look or comment, but this is extremely few and far between.
Just as with everyday life you’ll get your random idiot, but try to not let it spoil your workout.
As I say, most of the gym population won’t even notice what you’re doing, and they definitely won’t judge you.
Plus, there are even those who may be congratulatory towards you for actually turning up at the gym and using the treadmill.
It’s a simple fact of life that most of us are far too engrossed in our own problems and activities to pay attention to someone else.
Don’t sweat it, if you want to go to the gym just to use the treadmill I salute you for making the effort.
3. A Treadmill is Easier on the Joints
There could be many reasons why you simply want to use a treadmill and nothing more.
However, one thing’s for certain, walking or running on a treadmill will be easier on your joints.
Perhaps you’re returning from a lower body injury.
Maybe you’re carrying a few extra pounds.
Either way, the last thing you want to do is to cause yourself a mischief.
Pavement pounding is hard on the ankles, knees, and hips.
You may find that you take longer to recover from running outdoors.
Then again, you may even start avoiding exercise in general because of how it makes you feel.
One thing I will say is that running on a treadmill with no incline will cause you to run with your knees straighter than they should be.
So, you should always add an incline on the treadmill, which allows for a slight bend in the knee.
This is naturally much softer and will help you to avoid an injury.
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4. A Treadmill Offers Easier Terrain
Something else to consider is the difference in terrain between using a treadmill and running or walking outdoors.
You’ll typically be greeted with various hills, ditches, cracks in the pavement or road.
Perhaps, you’ll have to duck under the occasional tree branch, while also being wary of potholes.
I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, but you’ll require a certain level of fitness, as well as being more aware of your surroundings.
So, if you’re just starting out with exercise, or once again, returning from injury, a treadmill will be the better option.
You also have the ability to make your treadmill run more difficult.
Obviously, you can add an incline, take on a hill run, as well as varying your speed.
Additionally, you have more control of various factors, such as speed and distance.
More often than not, you won’t have a clue as to exactly how fast you’re running outdoors.
It’s actually very easy to speed up without realising it, which generally makes your run much harder.
Once again, I don’t always view this as a bad thing, but it depends on your fitness levels.
At least with a treadmill you have everything you need to know right in front of you without having to constantly look at your watch or smartphone.
Plus, this also makes it easier to increase the intensity of your runs when you feel ready.
5. You Can Still Work Out When the Weather’s Bad
Another great benefit of using a treadmill is that you don’t have to worry about inclement weather conditions.
Yes, I agree that many runners will often exercise when there’s a force-10 gale blowing, or torrential rain.
However, this isn’t for everyone.
In fact, I’m sure you have had plenty of days when you’ve looked out the window, seen the terrible weather, and decided to do something else other than exercise.
At least if you go to the gym and jump on the treadmill you’re still going to get your workout in.
I would also hazard a guess that many regular runners do exactly the same.
I’m talking about those of you who look at long-distance running as more of a sport.
Perhaps you even take part in competitions and races.
A treadmill offers you the opportunity to continue training on those horrible, dark, cold, and miserable mornings or evenings.
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So, from a personal perspective I think it;s perfectly fine to turn up at the gym and just use the treadmill.
In truth, you are probably worried about other members judging you.
However, most regular gym-goers have absolutely no interest in what someone else is doing for their specific workout.
Furthermore, if you’re returning from injury or are a little overweight then treadmill running will be far easier on your joints.
Plus, you have more control on a treadmill over things like terrain and weather conditions.
If going to the gym and just using a treadmill is the difference between you exercising or not, then go for it.
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Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.