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Going Hands-Free on Treadmill and Stair Stepper Burns More Calories Than Holding On

Cardio Rules: Another Reason to Let Go

I am a fan of cardio workouts and cardio machines, but the handles on those machines — not so much. When you're stair-stepping and walking on the treadmill, holding on is not only bad for your posture and body mechanics — folks tend to slouch when they use the handles — but hanging onto the rails actually reduces the total number of calories burned by 40 to 50 percent. Talk about taking the wind out of your sails win out of your workout. When not supporting yourself using the handles, you force your body to expend more energy and burn more calories. Going hands-free also kicks your core into action.

So let go! Or at least alternate every minute or two while you become accustomed to not holding the rails. If you feel a little unsteady read this post: Why Feel The "Y": Core Concepts. It will help you connect to your center and sense of balance while you move.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
angelofsorts angelofsorts 6 years
Balance, that is a great point! I also think that a part of holding onto the rails is an insecurity issue. I held on because I was convinced if I let go that I was going to get thrown 2 mph. (insecurity not speed people) Im not a huge fan of cardio equipment, mostly because I have the attention span of a gnat, but when I do go..I have to make a very conscious effort to not hold on. That and some of the treadmills and ellipticals at the gym I go to insist you do so it can count your heart rate.
bethinabox bethinabox 6 years
I don't use a treadmill or stair stepper, but I love going hands-free on the elliptical! I generally can't do it the whole time, but I do try and do it at least part of the time. :) And when I do put my hands on the handles, I don't really use them, I just rest them there for balance.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I don't hold on to any except on that stairmill thing, otherwise I practically fall off!
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