Learn How to Turn On a Treadmill and Run Safely At the Comfort of Your Home

Running is my passion, and although I prefer running out in the fresh air while enjoying all the benefits of being outdoors, sometimes that is not possible, and this is why I own a treadmill. Being able to run whenever you feel like it without leaving your home is exactly the reason why people invented treadmills in the first place.


Every local gym has one, as well as most of the homes here in the USA (if you do not own one yet, be sure to check our best treadmill under $500 suggestions); but, unfortunately, this does not guarantee that people know how to use the treadmills the right way. There has been a great number of injuries connected to using these fitness machines reported in recent history. For this reason, I want to inform you in detail on how to turn on a treadmill and use it safely and properly.

Read on and avoid any risks from utilizing this otherwise very useful piece of fitness equipment that can help you get into the great shape (or keep one!)  in no time!

Treadmills in Short

Although most of the people reading my blog are running enthusiasts like myself, and thus know at least elementary things about running and equipment connected to this sport, I cannot help but remember that we were all beginners at one point. At that time we knew very little (if anything) and relied on other people’s experience and reading informational texts such as this one.For such people, I will shortly explain what treadmills are and what purpose they serve.

Treadmills are in essence man-made exercise machines designed to allow people to mimic running or walking long distance without leaving one place. For this reason, they are an excellent choice for all of you too shy to run outside, but also great for avoiding clashes with unfavorable weather elements such as ice or scorching heat.

The term treadmill is made from two words- tread and mill, and while most of you know that to tread means to walk, word mill can be a bit confusing. Well, a mill represents a structure with a large wheel that needs to be moved by a treading motion in order to make flour from the grain.

All treadmills have the conveyor belt used for runs or walks. It is important that this belt be wide, allowing that even large and muscle-bound people can use it comfortably. Most modern machines also have an electric motor which runs the treadmill at the pace you feel comfortable with. The belt always moves towards the rear part of the machine while in use so that you can walk or run in the other direction. The principle is quite simple- the faster the belt moves, the faster you have to run.

Most treadmills are also equipped with heart rate and pulse monitors. They will show you not only the speed you run and the distance you have covered but also how many calories you have burnt in the process. Monitoring your progress is important for your motivation as well, and this is why you should opt for a treadmill with a built-in LCD monitor too.

Once you get comfortable with the basic functions, you can move on to set personal goals for the distance you want to cross or calories that you want to burn. There are also different types of workouts you can choose from. Isn’t it amazing how much this single machine can do?

I will offer you one more advice to conclude my story about treadmills and their use and importance- buy one, use it as often as you can for the cardiovascular exercise you need to stay fit and healthy (at least 3-4 times a week for an hour or more) and you will look and feel better in no time at all! Be sure to find the best app for treadmill running  as well!

How to Turn on a Treadmill

Not knowing the brand or type of treadmill you have, it is quite difficult to answer the question how to turn on a treadmill, but I will offer some general guidelines that work for most of the up-to-date treadmills.

First of all, you have to plug in the power cord. Most treadmills feature a reset/off circuit breaker on their frame, and you should locate it. It is usually positioned near the power cord. When you find the circuit breaker, switch it to the reset position.

Some of the treadmills will automatically turn on to a “demo” mode designed for use when the treadmill is displayed in a store at this point.  If all the displays light on as soon as you connect the machine to the power and switch the circuit breaker to the reset position, your treadmill is set on the demo mode too, and you need to turn it off. To turn off a “demo” mode, simply hold down the Stop button for a couple of seconds.

It is now time to get on the treadmill and prepare yourself for the running (or walking) session. Never step directly onto the conveyor belt, but rather stand on the foot rails of the treadmill first. Most models have a key that is needed to start the machine, and most of the times it comes with a clip that you can use to attach the key to your clothes for safety reasons.

Attach this clip to the waistband of your clothes and then insert the key into the console. The displays will light, and you will be able to set the desired parameters. I want to use the time to stress the importance of attaching the key properly as it is actually a very important safety feature. Namely, in emergency situations (for example, when you trip or fall), the key will be pulled out of the console, and the treadmill will slow down and stop preventing any further injury.

For this reason, run a test to make sure that the clip is in the right place. Do this by taking a few steps back to see if the key will fall out of the console in a timely manner. If not adjust it properly.

I recommend choosing the manual mode, especially if you are a beginner as the automatic programmes can be quite intense.  So after the steps already explained, select the manual mode.

A track should appear in the matrix unless a preset workout has already been selected, in which case you should remove the key and insert it again.

It is finally time to start the walking belt by pressing the Start button (sometimes it is labeled as the Go button). Some treadmills can be started by directly pressing the speed selection or the speed increase buttons too.

The walking belt will start moving at minimal speed (usually at 1 mph), and you can now safely stand on the belt and start walking slowly. At the same time, you can increase the speed by pressing the appropriate speed increase button. If you want to slow down, do the opposite- press the speed decrease button.

In most treadmills, each time you press a speed increase or decrease button, the speed setting goes up or down for a 0.1 mph. Some treadmills allow for a speedier change of speed if you hold down these buttons (usually that changes the speed in increments of 0.5 mph). Note that it will surely take a moment for the belt to respond to speed changes so be patient. Certain models offer the numbered speed buttons with pre-determined speeds to choose from.

Although the subject today is learning how to turn on a treadmill, it is equally important to know how to stop it. No one can run forever, and believe me you will want to know how to end the agony once you get all sweaty and tired up.

The solution is rather simple- press the Stop button, and the walking belt will stop too. Almost all treadmills have this button clearly labeled and well positioned so that it can always be reached with ease. The treadmill will slow down and come to a halt. It is recommended to get off the same way you got on- by stepping onto the foot rails of the treadmill first and then on the floor.

5 Extra Tips On How To Use a Treadmill Safely

I have already warned you that you should start slowly and do not risk any injuries right off. This is why I have suggested that you should always position one foot on each side of the belt before you turn on a treadmill and move onto the belt only once you are sure that it’s moving slowly enough. There are a few more things I would like you to pay attention to:

1. Never rely on the handrails.

Holding on for balance will give you a sense of false security. It is ok to use handrails in the beginning, while you are getting used to the machine and the speed, but you should let go once that is done. You will move more naturally when your arms are free. Holding on to the front rail is also bad for your elbows and the treadmill itself. It will also reduce the number of calories you will burn (the readout will be incorrect too).

2. Always look straight ahead.

Concentrate on what is in front of you as feet tend to go where the eyes tell them, and you will decrease the chances of  veering off to the side. Do not turn abruptly, even if someone calls your name, as that can cause you to lose balance and trip over.

3. Feeling a bit disoriented is normal

It is perfectly normal to feel a bit disoriented the first couple of times you use a treadmill. Most people feel dizziness when they step off the treadmill. It is a natural response of your body when the ground that moves comes to an abrupt stop.

4.Wear appropriate running shoes

Do not use your treadmill barefoot but rather invest in a good pair of walking or running shoes. A rule of mine suggests that the shoes that are good for you when running outside are good for running on a treadmill as well.

5. Stay focused

Do not read, use your phone, or watch TV while on the treadmill. Any distraction brings on a greater risk of an injury. You can lose your balance and stumble off the side or back simply because you are trying to read a text or a tweet- is it worth it though?

Bella Williams

Hi! I'm Bella. I love running. I write this blog to share everyone about running.

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