Watching TV while running on a treadmill could be bad for you
Gym-goers may be over-exerting themselves and risking injury on treadmills because they change their running style to watch screens, say sports scientists investigating how running styles differed between those who looked towards the floor and those who looked directly ahead.
They found that people who looked ahead while running on a treadmill - as you would when looking up to view a TV screen - attempted to lift their whole body and feet higher during each stride.
They also experienced greater acceleration of the head, indicative of a runner attempting to get their body higher in the air. Prior to the next step, runners then appeared to compensate for the impact they might experience when falling from a greater height by softening their landing, using their ankle and knee joints as shock absorbers.
All the modifications use more energy, which researchers say might be good for runners trying to lose weight, but detrimental for those who are trying to improve their speed. Running experts also said the change in style could potentially cause injury.
"It appears that when you remove a runner's view of the floor, they adopt a different way of moving to avoid tripping or falling over objects which might be outside their vision. This has the effect of making runners less efficient in their movements," said Dr Martin Lewis, researcher at Nottingham Trent - The Telegraph