When initiating a novice client to the treadmill, please review the following
- START BY STRADDLING THE DECK
Before starting the treadmill, have your client straddle the deck (feet 4-6″ on either side of belt, client holding on to handrails). If your treadmill has a safety cord, you may attach this to your clients clothes in an area that will not interfere with their arm movement.
- INCREASE EITHER SPEED OR INCLINE FOR WALKING SPEED
While continuing to hold onto handrails, have client gauge the speed of the belt by first taking test strides with a single leg, then graduating to both legs. Once client is comfortable with the speed of the belt, have them release the handrails.
- CUE YOUR CLIENT TO LOOK FORWARD AND STAY TOWARDS THE FRONT OF THE BELT
It’s not uncommon for novices to watch their feet, if they are new to using a treadmill. Unfortunately, doing so often leads to a loss of balance and increased risk of falls. Not only that, but if a client is looking down, they may be more likely to start to drift towards the back of the treadmill, again putting them at risk for falling off.
- USE HANDRAILS ONLY FOR QUICK POSTURAL CORRECTIONS
You should remind clients to initially step onto the treadmill while holding onto the handrails, however, holding onto the handrails is not advised. Not only does holding onto the handrails decrease the amount of calories burned from a workout (or is a sign the client has set either the speed too fast or incline too high), it almost can negatively impact a client’s balance and gait.
- DON’T LEAVE A MOVING TREADMILL
Although more experienced clients may step to either side of a moving belt, it’s safest to instruct novices to either hit the emergency stop button or to manually power down the treadmill before getting off the best. And never leave a treadmill running unless you are about to get back on to the belt!
- LEAVE PLENTY OF SPACE
Even experienced clients can lose their footing and fall off a treadmill. Therefore, it’s best practice to ensure there is nothing placed behind the treadmill that an exerciser could hit their head on if they fell off the back of the machine.