It’s time to let go – of the handrails that is…
I’m guilty of this too especially on the stairmaster…holding onto and/or leaning on the handrails.
“Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding on to.” ~Anonymous
It’s time to go hands free!
Holding onto the handrails makes it easier to use the treadmill or stairmaster and therefore lowers your heart rate. This is not a scientific test, but I’ve checked my heart rate both when holding the handrails and hands free. Depending on the level (stairmaster) or mph (treadmill) my heart rate is anywhere from 5-20 higher when I’m hands free. This makes for a better workout.
Holding onto the handrails (for dear life) on both the treadmill and stairmaster also has the effect of reducing the body weight (on your legs). Less weight results in less of a workload and minimizes the benefits of the workout.
When using the treadmill holding on to the handrails increases the risk of injury due to the impact (jarring) on the upper body.
Bottom line…if we let go, we’ll have to work harder. Isn’t that the point? Increase our heart rate and burn calories? I’m going to make an effort to hold on less. It’s my goal to not hold on at all.
“Change is never easy, you fight to hold on, and you fight to let go.” ~The Wonder Years
The spin instructors give the same advice during class. The goal is to have the big leg muscles do all the work, by keeping our upper body relaxed and not putting our weight on our arms (and hands). As a result our legs work harder and it reduces the risk of injury.
With all this said…I have a hard time letting go when I use the elliptical. The elliptical is new for me and I’m not even sure it’s safe to let go. I tried googling it but I couldn’t find any sites that comment on whether you should or should not hold the rails.
Most elliptical machines have handlebars that move with the feet pads. What I did learn, from the little bit of info I could find, is that we should burn more calories due to the arm movement. So for now…I’m going to continue to hold on when using the elliptical.
A little advice…if you can’t let go of the handrails slow down, lower the incline, or lower the level so you are able to let go. You will get a better workout. Just because you are running (while holding on) doesn’t mean it’s a better workout. Think about it…if we ran outside (which I personally do not do) there are no handrails…so let’m go…I am! For those of you that might have another reason for holding on…let’s just say it’s not safe for you to let go…by all means do not let go!
For the rest of you…take those training wheels off and let go!
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu
Until next week! Kathi