5 ways to make the most of your exercise equipment

Keep treadmills and other exercise equipment in shape, so they can help to keep you in good shape.

5 ways to make the most of your exercise equipment

1. Dust off your treadmill

  • Accumulated dirt and grime often result in an early demise for treadmill belts.
  • You can easily avoid this problem, however, and maximize your machine's longevity, simply by giving it a thorough dusting each week.
  • Also, be sure to keep the machine's deck (the two metal strips on both sides of the belt) dry and dust-free.
  • You can clean it with a damp rag, but be sure to dry it off immediately afterward.
  • Don't wax the deck (unless the manufacturer advises it); pretreated decks may react to the wax and result in a sticky surface.

2. Get in the grooves of your ski machine

  • Many ski-type and aerobic-walking machines are kept in motion by a drag strap wound around a flywheel (typically located between the foot grips).
  • Remove the strap a few times a year, and clean out the grit that accumulates in the grooves around the rim of the flywheel.
  • A little rubbing alcohol applied to a rag or towel will do the job. This will extend the life of the strap and keep it moving smoothly.

3. Finish with a rubdown

  • It's great to work up a good sweat when you work out, but never leave your perspiration behind on your exercise equipment (especially on metal parts, where it can cause rusting).
  • Always use a soft, dry towel to wipe down stationary bikes, weights, treadmills, rowing machines, ski machines, benches, and other gear when you're done with your workout.
  • You might also want to place plastic drip mats under your exercise equipment to prevent perspiration drips from staining carpeted and hardwood floors.

4. Get more mileage from running shoes

  • Running shoes are impermanent by nature, but you can still get your money's worth from them by exercising a little care.
  • Don't keep shoes in cold environments (such as an unheated porch) during winter or in direct sunlight during summer.
  • Also, never wear your running shoes for anything other than running, and be sure to thoroughly dry them off when they get wet by placing them near a heat source (though don't put them in a clothes dryer).

5. Picking shoes for the long run

  • The most durable running shoes have polyurethane midsoles and carbon-rubber outsoles.
  • The trade-off is that these shoes tend to be heavier than other varieties and usually don't offer maximum cushioning.
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