YMMV

YMMV….these simple initials, meaning: Your Mileage May Vary, cover a very wide territory. When learning something new, facts and information are given in the most general sense to cover the widest scope possible, so many times it isn’t always a perfect fit.

While studying for my personal trainer’s certificate, we were taught to encourage clients to use a treadmill over running or walking outside. As a runner, this goes against my very core, no my heart.

I understand why the educational system does that. They’re teaching students who most probably will be working at big gyms with lots of clients using lots of equipment and they want those clients to stay in those gyms using all that equipment.

But treadmills? Ug. No wonder people hate running if they’re subjected to those things. A mile on a treadmill feels like 10 miles outside. Treadmills were first designed as torture devices for prisoners and for me, it feels just like torture to run on them.

Running, first and foremost is about freedom. How is it freeing to be stuck on a machine going nowhere? That seems to me to be more like trapped. It’s the opposite of the emotions I want. Even walking isn’t pleasurable when spent on a small, movable surface inside. It just isn’t the same as being outside.

I walk every Saturday with a small group of senior ladies. I couldn’t imagine doing the walk on treadmills. It wouldn’t happen. Part of our fun and joy is being outside, seeing the lovely sights of the city and the togetherness of the walk. We’ve seen some great things too. Sea lions, wind surfers, brown pelicans and sail boats all have been part of them. We’ve watched the exciting ending of a swim race from Alcatraz to Aquatic Beach, we’ve wandered through massive wooden sailing ships docked permanently at Hyde Pier.

“Watch TV while you’re on the treadmill!” People suggest. No. I run or go walking to get away from television, to get away from drama, current events, advertising.

I think if I asked the ladies they’d say the same thing; they wouldn’t go walking if they had to do it on a treadmill. We love the feel of the breeze, even if the weather isn’t always the greatest, but it is our release for the built up stress of the week.

Many people enjoy the treadmill, and I understand that. Maybe they don’t particularly like running, so they can get it done quickly without going outside. Maybe they’re nervous about running outside. These are understandable concerns. But I say to this, just once a week, step outside and go for a run or walk. Find a nice place in your area, listen to music quietly if you like, or if it’s a trail, listen to the birds and the rustle of the wind. Just try it. Once a week. You might find it more pleasurable than you ever thought.

Keep moving forward! Cheers!

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2 comments

  1. Wow! The argument you’ve suggested about why PTs are told to encourage their clients to use treadmills seems logical… But it’s depressing. I can’t run more than a mile on a treadmill because of boredom (and overheating). I love being outdoors. I’m returning to college (in the UK) next month to become a personal trainer. I’m really interested to find out whether there is the same bias.

  2. It is depressing to me. They gave me the reasoning that outside is uncontrollable, while inside the gym is. But realize, that most personal trainers are not runners. Distance running is a foreign animal to them. They don’t get us. They still called it “jogging” in the textbook. LOL

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