Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hold On!

by Kris Pitcher

I see this a lot. I've seen it in every gym I have ever been at. It's in every city, in every state, and it stands the test of time. It's bad behavior, it's poor, poor posture. Now, hold on!

That's right! Holding on. What? Holding on to the hand rails of the cardio machines. Did you know that was bad behavior? I've seen such poor ergonomics that I have had graphic fantasies of ladies arms being riped from their shoulder sockets and blood spurting every direction and covering all of the other patrons. Cartoonish fantasies.

You know who I'm talking about. She's got the treadmill up to incline level 12, and she's walkaling about 4.2 mph, but she is holding on to the handrail for dear life and it is rocking her body side to side so violently I'm afraid her arms are going to pull off her body.

Here's why it's bad behavior. Not because of my graphic novel, Itchy & Scratchy style imagination, it decreases intensity and energy expenditure by approximately 30%. 30%!!! That's one third! The reason is we are no longer bearing our body weight.

So while the calorie count on the machine might boast that she's burned 350 calories during her exercise...she's really only burned 245. And she's going to need new shoulders.

Handrails are important and should be used for balance, any time you are new to a machine, or if you have balance issues. They are also the place where heart rate sensors are placed. But you should not be holding on during your cardio.

What we need to do is slow the machine down and walk at a pace that we can keep up with, at an incline that doesn't make us slide off the back. We need to be able to keep up with the machine. Make sense? Once we can with no problem, go up a level.

No leaning, no holding on...unless you want to give up 30% of your energy expenditure. No thanks! You won't see me leaning on the stairmaster, or holding on to the handles of the treadmill. I need every bit of expenditure I can get. Now, stand up and get your cardio in!

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