There is no doubt that cardiovascular exercise is good for everyone. But sometimes it can be difficult to stay motivated when the cardio becomes monotonous. Not to worry though, there are many ways to combat boredom while putting in time on the treadmill.
Put Your Laptop to Use
What better way to beat the treadmill boredom than to multitask? This is popular with many busy professionals who find it difficult to make it to the gym during the day.
There are specially designed desks and shelves available that allow people to use their laptops, or even their desktop PC, to do their computer based work. Now people can't be running at a full sprint when they do this, but it's a totally viable option for those who jog at a slower pace or walk.
This is also a great option for those who work at computers all day long, such as those in tech support or in internet based occupations. These people usually spend long hours sitting at their desk, which can contribute to a number of health problems. But by walking or jogging on a treadmill, they can get much needed exercise while being productive.
If you find that a combination of school and work, or just a heavy haul of classes are hurting your workout schedule, why not study while you exercise? One of the great things about treadmills is exercising during your study time is a viable option.
Reading your text book or notes from class isn't the only educational thing you can do on a treadmill. Thanks to something called iTunes U on iTunes, those who are running or walking on a treadmill can download podcasts on a variety of subjects and learn while they do their cardio. Podcasts are available from many major universities, some of them ivy league schools like Harvard, and the best part is that most, if not all, are completely free. Now no one's going to get college credit for it, but it just might help to pass that history class.
Interval training is a common suggestion for breaking up treadmill boredom. The standard suggestion is to vary the speed and incline for 30 seconds to a minute at certain intervals. But who says that you have to simply run on a treadmill?
Interval training can also be done by varying the movements used. For example, after running for 5 minutes, slow the speed down and do some lunges or lateral squats for 30 seconds to a minute. Then go back to running. Next time, try walking backwards with the treadmill at an incline. The muscle groups worked, while they are still mostly in the legs will be different and it will be more challenging.
Another way to use interval training on the treadmill is to do stretching to strength training. Let's use the same interval as above. After running for five minutes, slow the treadmill down and use some free weights to do upper body exercises such as curls or triceps presses.
One move that is particularly beneficial is a modification of a kettle bell swing, except instead of standing in one place, it's done while walking forward and not swinging as high as the standard kettle bell swing. This one movement activates nearly every muscle group in the body and is an extremely effective way to not only get a whole body workout, but also stave off the treadmill boredom as well.
Make Phone Calls
This is one that every mother of a busy adult child can appreciate. Time spent on the treadmill is time that can be used to make phone calls that might otherwise not be so convenient to make.
While spending half an hour on the treadmill is good for the body, that time can be used to call family and friends and catch up. If the pace isn't too strenuous, the time can even be used to make business calls or schedule appointments.
People should be able to talk when doing their cardio anyway, according to most exercise guidelines, unless they are doing a particularly stressful part of interval training, which only lasts a short period of time. If they can't, it's time to bring down the intensity, because that means that they can't move enough oxygen throughout their body.
These are just our top five ways to beat the treadmill boredom. There are many more ways that are just as creative that will keep people motivated, challenged and entertained.
Hit the Trail
What's one of the best ways to combat boredom on the treadmill? Get off of the treadmill. Instead of walking or running on the treadmill at the gym and seeing the same people day after day, opt instead for a local nature trail. The new scenery will be visually stimulating and the change in the terrain will keep the body challenged.
It's a fact that running a trail with varying grades offers more of a challenge and burns more calories than just a straight, flat run. Plus, people stay more alert since they have to look out for hazards and obstacles such as stones and tree roots. Don't live near the woods? No problem. Many, if not most, metropolitan cities have nature preserves or trails scattered throughout the city. A check with the city's parks and recreation department should provide a list.
Another thing to think about is the increased calories you're burning when running on actual terrain. Sure you have different incline settings on a treadmill, but there's nothing quite like hiking a steep trail or jogging the hills of your local neighborhood. Some may not realize that the obstacles they hate when running outdoors are actually providing a better workout.