Why it's crucial to clean your fitness machine
For some, it's the go-to piece of home workout equipment that keeps them in tiptop shape or the cardio machine that they love to hate. For others, it's become a clothes rack. Yes, I'm talking about your treadmill. No matter how many times a week or year you use it, proper upkeep and maintenance can make a big difference in the longevity and performance of your machine.
Fitness equipment expert Hunter Bludworth of highly rated Texertex-Texas Exercise Technicians in Austin, Texas, says the dust and debris that build up on the foot rails on either side of your treadmill's moving belt can cause friction and could overwork the motor. To avoid having to call for maintenance, he suggests following the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning your machine and doing it weekly.
Before performing any maintenance or cleaning, always be sure to unplug your machine to avoid electrical shock. After unplugging the treadmills at the Angie's List fitness center, I use compressed air and a shop vac to keep the motor control board, foot rails and the area beneath them clean.
Some experts also recommend making a solution of mild antibacterial soap and water, and using a damp rag to wipe sweat and grime from your machine. But avoid using harsh chemicals like ammonia or bleach, and make sure you ring out any excess water from your rag, which could ruin your treadmill.
If you own an elliptical trainer, follow the same guidelines above for keeping your machine in good condition. When it comes to lubricating, Mike Bland of highly rated Fitness Equipment Express in Atlanta warns against using over-the-counter petroleum-based products such as WD-40 on the pedals, pivot points and bearings. These products can cause harmful buildup and swelling of any plastic components. Instead, use only manufacturer-recommended lubricants like Teflon or silicone.
At the first sign of a problem with your machine, contact a few fitness equipment technicians to get estimates for fixing it. Bland says your service tech should buy replacement parts from your machine's manufacturer to guarantee they'll be compatible. If you begin noticing wear on your treadmill's running belt, have it replaced.
Taking care of your cardio equipment will keep it operating smoothly and give you many years of use. Plus, it will save you from having to purchase a brand-new machine. And if your machine has become a clothes rack, now's the time to dig it out, dust it off and get back to using it.