Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Treadmills kill your spirit

By using a treadmill you may be putting your body through more stress than it needs.

I am reading a fascinating book at the minute called Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss and I came across this quote from a fitness professional he was interviewing which explained, “Treadmills kill your spirit. There are reasons and times to do treadmills, but if that is your only way of moving your body you’re selling yourself short”.

Such a simple but very valuable message.


When I first went to the gym I always used the treadmill at some stage in my workout now I wouldn’t even entertain the thought of jumping on one.

Why you would come into an environment that offers you so much opportunity to move in different ways, instead you hop on a treadmill for 20 minutes or longer and in some cases watch TV as you do so.

There are many more ways to move your body, and more importantly there are a lot more fun ways to do so.

Firstly, let’s look at what you are actually doing to your body when you are running on a treadmill for an extended period of time.

You may be putting your body through more stress than it needs, you are constantly bounding on a hard surface step after step and if you have any slight body dysfunction or your stride is over compensating on one side then that’s a lot of repeated stress you are placing on yourself.

Slow steady state cardio will not help you lose fat as effectively as interval, strength or HITT activates so why run on a treadmill?

But the biggest problem I have with a treadmill is that it is boring. You wouldn’t go for a run outside and jog on the same spot for 20 minutes so why do it in the gym?


If you enjoy running then get outside and receive the added physical and physiological benefits that come with the great outdoors, even run in the rain.

I love running in the rain there is something refreshing about it – especially in the summer months.

If you feel that running on the treadmill is the only exercise you know then it’s not a lack of knowledge but a lack of imagination that is holding you back.

Exercise doesn’t always have to follow sets, reps and times, mix it up and make it fun. Recently I have been adding a lot of carries into my workouts.

These range from different kettlebell carries including farmer walks, suitcase and waiter carries to bear hugging a sand bag and walking the length of a football pitch. People ask me how far and how many, I always quote Dan John here and say “There and back”.

Make it up yourself, even sprint the distance you have just carried and walk back as your recovery.

The best thing with these exercises is that you can do them anywhere and you’re not stuck in the one spot or position.

The other way to move better is play. If you are fortunate enough to have a young family get your exercise by playing along with them, if not then just play anyway.

Crawl, jump, push, pull, throw, play tag do whatever you enjoy and more importantly what makes you laugh.

Don’t take exercise so seriously and make it so uninspiring as running on a treadmill.

Move better, move often and have fun when you do it – it can be as simple and as brilliant as that.

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I have to admit over the past month or so, my eating habits have been all over the place.