Is it time to change things up a little?
Chances are you’ve used a treadmill before. It may even be your favorite piece of exercise equipment. And you’re not alone.
Offering a great cardio workout, the treadmill outsells any other piece of fitness equipment. There are many benefits of using a treadmill. When the weather is bad, you don’t have a safe neighborhood to exercise in, or you prefer the privacy of working out in your own home, the treadmill is a great option.
But your treading doesn’t have to be the same-old thing, day after day. Walking and running may be the only two forms of exercise you can do on a treadmill safely, but the way you do these activities can boost your workout and your benefits.
So if your treadmill workouts are getting boring or you don’t feel like you’re being challenged enough, it may be time to add a little variety to your workout.
With the right techniques, a workout on the treadmill can be one of the most efficient ways to burn calories and improve your fitness level. Here’s how to get started.
It’s All about Intervals
A great way to get more out of your treadmill workout is by using interval training. It’s easy to get bored walking or jogging at the same pace, at the same incline, for your entire workout. You’ll burn more calories in a shorter period of time, improve your fitness, and not get bored with interval training.
This form of exercise alternates between moderate and high intensity exercise by increasing and decreasing your speed or incline. The treadmill makes this easy on you. All it takes is the push of a button to increase or decrease your speed or incline for an interval-rich routine.
Before your workout, spend about five minutes warming up at a slow pace at a 1.0 percent incline to get your blood flowing and muscles ready. Use these techniques to introduce intervals into your workouts and watch your workout become more effective and interesting.
Interval training with hills keeps you moving at the same speed, but increases the incline for one-minute intervals. Walking or running hills is a great way to work your hamstrings and glutes. After your warm up, increase your speed to a pace that’s comfortable but still a challenge. You’ll want to keep this pace for the duration of the workout unless you feel you can push yourself harder after a few of the hills.
After one to two minutes, it’s time for hills! Increase your incline to 5.0 percent for one minute. Then drop back down to 1.0 percent for another one to two minutes. Repeat this sequence and for each hill, but raise the incline by 0.5 or 1.0 percent until you reach 7.0 or 8.0 percent. Then start back at 5.0 percent. Toss in a five-minute cool down at the end of your workout and you’re done!
A second type of interval training you can perform on the treadmill involves sprints instead of hills. Use the same timing as the hill workout, but instead of increasing the incline on which you’re running, gradually increase your speed by 0.5 to 1.0 percent for each interval. Challenge yourself, but go at a pace that fits your ability. Each week you’ll probably notice you can go faster.
Ready for a greater challenge? Combine both hills and sprints during your one-minute intense intervals. During your low intervals, you may need to drop down to a brisk walking pace. Each interval, increase both your speed and incline by 0.5 percent until you reach 8.0 percent incline and 8.0 miles per hour. Then decrease both by 0.5 percent or mph each interval for the rest of your workout.
For maximum challenge, increase your speed and incline to a full 8.0 percent each interval for one minute or less then decrease down to a brisk walk.
When doing a workout like this, be careful and listen to your body. If it feels like too much, slow down or take a break. Your goal is to improve your health, and you’ll only bring harm to yourself if you overdo it.