Should You Walk on a Curved Treadmill?

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Walking on a treadmill can be a great way to improve cardio fitness and power weight loss, especially when it’s too cold or dark out. Now, many gyms are offering an iteration of the popular machine in the form of a curved treadmill.

Here’s what you need to know before trying it out:

WHAT IS A CURVED TREADMILL?

Unlike most standard treadmills, newer curved treadmills are self-powered and don’t have a motor — they rely on the user’s body weight to power the belt. The unique curved shape is said to provide a more natural stride, promoting proper form and foot strike. The further out you step on the curve, the faster the belt moves. If you want to occasionally use the treadmill for running, the design also encourages users to strike with the ball of the foot, which can help to reduce the impact on your joints.

HOW IT DIFFERS FROM A TRADITIONAL TREADMILL

Curved treadmills don’t offer pre-programed workouts. That means it’ll be up to you to add in any HIIT intervals. Also, while curved treadmills are equivalent to walking on an incline somewhere between 6–8%, you won’t be able to adjust this much if you want to walk on less or more of an incline. Because curved treadmills are self-powered, you’ll likely feel slower and tire more quickly. While this makes things efficient, you can expect to see a smaller step count for a workout.

THE BENEFITS OF A CURVED TREADMILL

When compared to flat, motorized treadmills, curved treadmills offer many advantages for walkers and runners:

  • It uses more muscle groups
    The self-powered nature of curved treadmills makes it similar to walking outside, requiring the user to recruit more from the hamstrings, glutes and core to propel the body forward.
  • It increases calorie burn
    Studies have shown curved treadmills can help you burn about 30% more calories than you would doing the same workout on a flat treadmill.
  • It improves endurance
    Pushing the belt requires more energy expenditure, which in turn elevates your heart rate and improves your VO2 max.
  • It rewards good form
    A curved treadmill requires you to take shorter steps, use your core for power and speed up your cadence to keep the belt moving.
  • It’s easy to use and safe
    No buttons or gadgets make hopping on and getting started super simple. Not having to worry about delays in belt speed (it doesn’t move if you don’t move) also make it safer.

THE BOTTOM LINE


Curved treadmills can be a great way to burn more calories, work on your form and build strength in your legs, glutes and core. Try incorporating them into your routine as a way to keep walking fresh.

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