The first time you step onto a treadmill you can be forgiven for not performing gracefully or even well. It is, after all, your first encounter with a moving foundation, one that you are attempting to run on without falling on your face. But after that initial stumble, you should improve, becoming more adroit with each workout. You should have to increase the incline, up the speed and move a little more as your ability rises. If that doesn’t happen, if you continue to struggle, you may have a problem, and I’m not talking about a lack of coordination.
Individuals who have difficulty running on a treadmill are at an increased risk of cardiovascular complications. This was determined after following 9,191 adults, who had previously taken a treadmill test, for 2.7 years. Those with low exercise capacity were more than two times more likely to suffer from a heart attack or similar heart condition, and had a significantly heightened risk of dying. They tended to be female, have additional health problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and often experienced chest pain while running.
Now you may think that you’re in the clear because you’ve never stepped so much as stepped onto a treadmill, so there’s no way of knowing if you would fail, but you’re not. The test wasn’t simply a measure of treadmill capability; it was a measure of exercise capacity. Can your body handle cardiovascular activity without going into overdrive? Can your heart take a little exercise-induced stress, or will it cave under the pressure? If you have difficulty performing even the slightest of aerobic activities, you may have a heart problem and you may want to talk to your doctor about risk management. Then, you may want to step onto a treadmill.