With all of the new fancy workout equipment available these days, the treadmill may seem a little outdated. However, this tried-and-true machine has been proven to deliver real results when it comes to both fitness and weight loss. Plus, it’s much more versatile than most people realize.
Benefits of Using a Treadmill
The treadmill has been around for decades, and the reason it remains so popular today is because there are so many benefits associated with using this machine. Perhaps the most convenient feature of the treadmill is that it allows individuals to go for a run without going outdoors – or even out of the house, in some cases. In places where the weather makes running outdoors either an inconvenience or a hazard, treadmills make it possible to still get a great run in. Many people purchase treadmills in their home so that they don’t even have to go to the gym to work out. This versatility and convenience makes it one of the most popular exercise machines.
(For more alternatives to the gym, read Beach Body Workouts Without The Gym.)
When it comes to fitness, treadmills offer a variety of features that can really enhance your workout. Many come equipped with heart-rate control programs which allow you to get the most out of your workout without pushing yourself too hard. They also can be inclined so that you burn more calories and get a tougher workout. You can also increase your muscle tone, especially when using the incline feature on the treadmill, which can increase muscle use by about 9-percent when compared with running on a level surface, according to Men’s Health Magazine.
Weight loss is another major benefit of using a treadmill. Many treadmills now have calorie counters so you know just how much you’re burning off during each workout depending on the length and intensity of your run. In addition, treadmills have been cited as one of the most efficient ways to burn calories when compared with other popular exercise machines like stair steppers and rowing machines.
Using the treadmill definitely does not have to be limited to just a steady jog. You can make your treadmill workouts a lot more exciting and effective when you use different techniques to increase your fitness while using this machine. The following are a few great workout options for when you are using a treadmill, whether you’re at home or at the gym:
The Interval Workout
Interval training is great on a treadmill because you can easily control your pace and time your runs. Start with a warm-up jog on the treadmill, then increase your speed to a sprint for 15 seconds. Step onto the side rails for a 45-second break, then repeat. As you increase your fitness, increase the length of the sprint and cut back on the length of the break. This follows the same concept of high intensity interval training (HIIT).
The Strength Training Workout
You can add in some strength training to increase the effectiveness of your treadmill workout routine. While briskly walking on the treadmill, use lightweight dumbbells to do bicep curls, shoulder presses and other strength-building exercises. Do this for 5-to-10 minutes, then put down your dumbbells and run on the treadmill for an additional 5-to-10 minutes. This pattern can be repeated as many times as you like in one workout.
The Incline Workout Routine
Take advantage of the treadmill’s ability to challenge you by activating the incline feature on the machine. Start off at a level-1 incline to get warmed up, then slowly increase your incline up to a level-6 or level-7. Stay at that incline for at least a few minutes, then return the incline back to level-1 for a few minutes. Continue with this pattern, doing the steeper incline for longer periods of time if possible.
TV Treadmill Workouts
Studies have found that watching television while using a treadmill can improve your workout because it distracts you from what you’re doing. Use the commercials to set your pace with this workout. Run at a steady, somewhat fast pace throughout the show, but slow down to a walk to rest during the commercial breaks. Alternatively, you can use your iPod or MP3 player to distract you while running. Make a playlist that plays about 10-to-15 minutes of high-tempo music followed by 2-to-3 minutes of slower music. The cues in the pace of the song will tell you when to speed up and when to slow down.
Remember to start off slowly if you haven’t been running recently or if it’s your first time using a treadmill. Instead of a sprint in the interval workout, for example, you may want to do a fast-paced jog until you feel that you are ready to go faster. Additionally, remember to step onto the side rails of the treadmill momentarily while making changes to either the incline or the speed of the machine. This will help make sure you do not lose your footing or trip while using the treadmill.