Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
Can I hold on to the Side rails of the Exercise Machine?
October 10, 2006

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When I began to exercise, I started on a stair-stepper, which I don’t do anymore because I found it to be hard on my knees. I’ve switched to a treadmill and alternate it with an elliptical machine. I was told not to hold to the side rails. Does it matter? (Linda, Freeport)

Yes, it does matter. By holding on to the side rails you are supporting the majority of your body weight. Also, the intensity of your cardio –workout is sabotaged because the workout output is less intense. The side rails should be used only for balance issues or a quick rest to grab water or regain your mental focus. If you need to hold on to the side rails, it is a sure sign to lower the speed or level of the machine that you are using.

Maintain natural body posture, relaxing shoulders and keep your head looking over the horizon for good body alignment. Walk or run yourself to a new you. The weather is crisp, so mix up your gym workout with walking or jogging outdoors. You wouldn’t use a walker outdoors, so don’t hold on to the side rails indoors!

Listen to Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel's Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on