Treadmills are the most popular exercise machine for home gyms. They are also frequently used at health clubs for a great cardiovascular workout. Many exercisers give up on using the treadmill because they become injured or don’t burn as many calories as the machine says they do. Here are five ways to get the most from a treadmill, at any fitness level.
1. Mix It Up
Muscles adapt to an exercise routine, so doing the same workout will likely stop producing results after a couple of weeks. Putting some variety into your workout on the treadmill is a great way to get through a plateau and decrease boredom. It is easy to change up your workout by adjusting factors such as;
- Speed — the pace you walk or run directly affects the calories burned by your body.
- Incline — increasing the incline makes your body work harder, just like walking uphill.
- Time — varying the amount of time you spend on the treadmill helps keep your muscles guessing and inhibits muscle memory.
2. Add Weight
Adding weight forces the body to work harder and increases the amount of calories burned, which is why heavy people tend to burn more calories than lighter people when they exercise. Each pound is harder to lose when an exerciser gets close to their goal weight. Wearing a weighted vest is a safe way to add weight to the body and make your workout more difficult. The weight is spread out evenly in a vest, so it won’t affect the exerciser’s stride or throw them off balance. Hand weights can be used, but may add stress to the arm joints. Keeping the weights close to the body is a good way to minimize this stress.
3. Don’t Let The Machine Do Too Much Work
When walking or running on a treadmill, it’s easy to hang on to the machine with your arms instead of swinging them, but exercisers burn calories much more efficiently when using their whole body when they workout. Some people keep weights in their hands to help them remember not to hold on to the machine. Other people put their hands on their hips or at their sides. This aids good posture, which is essential for the body to work efficiently at burning calories and avoid injury.
People who run on a home treadmill should keep their stride short so that the belt is not doing the work of bringing their feet forward. Using a metronome can be very effective in setting a rhythm for your steps. A large percentage of exercisers set their running or walking pace too slow on the treadmill and don’t get their heart rate up enough to burn calories efficiently.
4. Keep It Up
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy adults should exercise at least five days per week, for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. This exercise doesn’t have to be on the treadmill, but working out on a treadmill is convenient for many people because they are used to walking or running and can do it while watching television or listening to music.
About 33% of American adults don’t get any exercise during their leisure time. Everyone needs to find an exercise routine that works for them and stick with it. Changing your workout every week or two helps get the body into a routine of exercising while decreasing the boredom that often occurs with exercise. Joining a friend at home or the gym is a wonderful way to keep up motivation.
5. Warm Up and Cool Down
Injury and pain are often caused by not stretching before and after exercise. Many exercisers warm up by walking for five minutes so their muscles are warm when they stretch. Stopping every ten minutes or so to stretch is a good practice for people who are older or have muscle issues. Stretching keeps muscles limber and helps them to work properly. Cooling down after working out is also just as important as warming up.
Exercisers who become injured cannot work out until their body heals and should see a doctor for advice about avoiding further injury. Many people who have become injured while exercising have trouble being motivated to begin exercising again and may never restart.
Listen to Music
Listening to music or watching videos while exercising can help relieve boredom and make each workout more effective. Researchers at Elon University in North Carolina found that runners who watch videos or listen to music tend to run faster and burn more calories than people who are running with no distractions. Listening to upbeat music is great for getting people in the mood for exercise and encouraging them to keep up with the music’s fast pace. Most exercisers are motivated to run until they get to the end of a certain song or video, no matter how long it takes.
Everyone wants to burn as many calories as possible when they work out. Avoiding injury and weight loss plateau is important for keeping up the motivation to exercise at least five days per week. These tips can be used by exercisers at any fitness level who want to get more bang for their buck on the treadmill.