a man using a treadmill

10 Tips for Using a Treadmill (Without Looking Like an Idiot)

I am not an athletic person by any means, nor am I what you would call “in shape.” However, I've had a few run-ins on a treadmill that deserve some attention. (Get it? RUN-ins!) I would like to think my shame and injuries were not in vain, so I've decided to share my mistakes with everyone. Below are my 10 tips for using a treadmill without looking like an idiot:

  1. Always slow down first on the treadmill before hopping off. In fact maybe don’t hop off.  Your legs still think they are going fast, so when you hit the floor, they will keep going. Better to ease slower and slower until you are almost at a dead stop before getting off of the treadmill.
  2. You don’t have to be competing with the “in shape” girl or guy next to you. Sure, you want to act like you do this every weekday and that your belly rolls are there to keep you warm in the winter. When you try to do too much, you’ll give out earlier. Then you have to play it off like that exhausting sprint was your five-minute warm-up and move on to another machine.
  3. Don’t hold your breath or try to not to breathe loudly because you are out of shape. You will start seeing tunnel vision, pass out, and then wake up to a hot personal trainer giving you mouth-to-mouth. No matter how nice that sounds, do not restrict your air flow!
  4. Ok Go's viral "Here It Goes Again" music video of the dudes on treadmills doing tricks is not easy to mimic. You will bust your ass. I think those guys did some computer trickery for that video. Don’t try it!!!
  5. Those people running on the treadmill reading a book are fooling you. Liars. People can’t read and run at the same time.
  6. Figure out your music situation before turning on the treadmill. Trying to run and scroll through music while your smartphone is strapped to your arm (and inevitably upside down) is just too many things to do at once. Pre-plan your music, people.
  7. Checking out hot guys or girls once you are on the treadmill will also get you in trouble. In fact, try not to turn your head at all.
  8. Incline is for show-offs.
  9. When your brain decides to do 30 minutes on the treadmill, your body is secretly planning to drop that to 20 minutes. Solve this issue by setting a lofty goal and seeing how your body compromises. (It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor about how much exercise you should be doing.)
  10. No one is looking at your ridiculously pained expressions and strange sweat stains while you are on the treadmill; they really aren’t.  (Just keep saying that to yourself.)