The mere mention of the word “treadmill” may bring to mind thoughts of hours of seemingly endless walking. However, treadmill workouts don’t have to be boring. In fact, they can be downright exhilarating with the right approach. Whether you’re a gym newbie or a seasoned runner taking your workout inside for the cold weather, these five tips can help you make the most of your time on the treadmill.
1. Plan ahead.
Walking or running on the treadmill may not seem as exciting as taking to the streets, but you can still expect to work up a sweat. In addition to dressing in layers which can be stripped away as your pulse races higher, bring along a water bottle for easy access during your workout and a hand or face towel for wiping down, as needed. Lastly, inspiring music can turn minutes into seconds, so don’t forget earphones to keep things entertaining.
2. Warm up and cool down.
Whether you’re planning to walk or run on the treadmill, warming up and cooling down are essential for both effectiveness and injury prevention. Start at a gentle walking pace and build to brisk walking or jogging from there. Reverse at the end of your workout. Experts recommend at least one minute of easy walking for every mile run.
3. Tune in.
Think a treadmill workout is a mindless form of exercise? Think again. Paying attention to your cadence can help you better your form and improve your pace.
Advises Active.com: “There are two ways to run faster: longer strides or more of the same length strides. Increased cadence is the easier part of the “running faster” equation, and a treadmill is the perfect place to get this done. You have a timer right in front of you and little else to occupy your attention. You can actually hear your foot strike and will be able to find the sweet spot for your foot placement (hint: it’s pretty quiet). And you can begin working on a cadence of about 180-foot strikes per minute (about 90 for just one foot).”
Wondering whether your running form is on point? A personal trainer can offer useful insights. Sign up for a personal trainer session today to get started.
4. Mix things up.
Running on a treadmill is not the equivalent of running on a road. Why? Because while a road has gentle hills, a flat treadmill has none. In other words, if you don’t adjust the incline, you’re challenging yourself less than you would if you were running outdoors. Active.com recommends setting the incline of your treadmill to one percent as your baseline.
Many treadmill runners only challenge themselves by adjusting the speed. However, alternating between adjusting the speed and the incline not only more closely approximates road running, but delivers a more effective workout. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Researchers from the University of Colorado have determined that a nine-degree treadmill incline leads to a 635 percent increase over the muscular activity of level walking while boosting glute activity by a staggering 345 percent!
5. HIIT the road.
HIIT is one of the hottest fitness trends out there, and all of its benefits can be put to work during a treadmill workout. To that end, Nutrition Nut on the Run has rounded up not one but six HIIT treadmill workouts. Ranging between 20 and 40 minutes, these “quick ‘n’ dirty” workouts are guaranteed to produce results while keeping boredom at bay.
We’re also fans of PopSugar’s treadmill workouts for any mood, from walk-jog routines to pyramid intervals. If you’re looking to build endurance, train for a race, or simply trim down, there’s something for you here.
While treadmill workouts may be tiring, they don’t have to be tiresome. With these five tips, you can take your time on the treadmill from dull to dynamic while maximizing your performance at the same time. For more amazing ways to pump up your fitness routine, download our free ebook: 20 Best Tips for Gym Newbies today.