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Treadmill Walking Mistakes to Avoid


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Treadmill Mistake - Not Using Your Arms
Treadmill Mistake - not using the arms

Not Using Arm Motion

Wendy Bumgardner ©
What do you do with your arms if you aren't holding onto the handrails? Your arms are the key to a great walking workout. With proper arm motion, you can go faster and burn more calories. You can help correct some of the shoulder and neck problems you may be developing sitting in front of the computer or TV all day.
  • Bend your arms 90 degrees and hold them close to your body.
  • Relax your shoulders - this is critical, you want your shoulders to be relaxed.
  • Now try a little choo-choo train motion, forwards and backwards.
  • Your arms move opposite to each leg, one arm forward when the opposite leg is forward, while the other is back.
  • Concentrate on keeping more of your arm motion in back of your body, like you are reaching for the wallet in your back pocket.
  • When your arms come forward, keep that forward stroke fairly short. Forget any "speedwalking" you have seen with people flinging their arms from side to side or up in front of your face.
  • Your arms can come forward diagonally, but shouldn't cross the midpoint.
  • Your hands shouldn't come up any further than your nipples.
The secret is that your legs only move as fast as your arms do. To speed up your legs, first speed up your arm motion and they will follow.

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