Ask a Professional - Richmond News

Q: Do you burn more calories not holding onto the treadmill while walking?

A: While walking on the treadmill, there are certain pros and cons to using the handle bar for support. Aside from holding on to the bar to temporarily check your heartrate, holding on to the bar can also be a great way to add some support and help you keep your balance if some assistance is necessary.  However, there are many benefits to not holding on to the bar, no matter if you're walking on an incline or on a flat surface. Without the bar, you will be able to maintain a more natural walking stride and will have to rely on your core muscles to maintain proper posture. As a result, the training benefit that you will receive from your workout will be more closely related to walking or jogging or activities of everyday life.  

If we are looking at it in terms of energy expenditure, you will expend more energy throughout your workout if none of your bodyweight is supported by the bar, especially when walking on an incline.  My recommendations would be to not hold on unless you need to for a quick second or minute and if your incline is at a height that you cannot maintain a walk on without holding on.....well then it’s just too high. Lower it and walk naturally at a speed and incline that you can actually maintain.

Taken from page 18 of the Wednesday, August 2nd 2017 Edition of the Richmond News.