Don’t want to run outdoors or the weather is just simply too bad to get out during the winter? Then using a treadmill is a great alternative, especially for those who want a really good cardio workout. Treadmills are a popular exercise machine for home gyms and also frequently used in health clubs. Here are 10 tips to get the most from a treadmill, whatever your fitness level.
1. Warm Up
While it’s tempting to just jump on your Treadmils Technogym and start your workout it’s important you warm up beforehand. Not only does a warm-up raise your heart rate, it sends oxygen to your muscles and raises their temperature so they’ll be more efficient. Start with a gentle 5-minute walk or an easy jog before picking up the pace or increasing the incline. Stopping every ten minutes or so to stretch is a good practice for older people or those who have muscle issues.
2. Get to know your treadmill
To maximize your workout, it’s a good idea to learn its different functions. If you are using a treadmill at the gym, ask a trainer to walk you through its functions beforehand while if you have one at home consult the instruction manual or online guide. Many treadmills have a heart-rate monitor to help you gauge the intensity of your workout although a wearable monitor will be more accurate, and won’t require you to hold the handrails. Also a calorie burn calculator is usually onboard although. However, again readouts aren’t very accurate as they don’t factor in your age, weight or sex. Other basic features include:
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.
3. Mix it up!
Muscles adapt to an exercise routine, so doing the same workout may stop producing results after a few weeks. Plus it can get pretty boring! Putting some variety into your workout is a great way to get through a plateau and decrease boredom. Many treadmills have pre-set workouts or intervals to help you vary your run. These can be handy because they allow you to set and forget so you don’t have to make adjustments while you are running which can be quite dangerous.
4. Use a slight incline
Since there’s no wind resistance indoors, a gentle uphill incline better simulates outdoor running. Set the treadmill inclination to 1 to 2% when you start and try to increase either your speed or incline for at least part of the work out. Interval training, where you run hard for a period of time and then cool down, is a good way to push the pace but you should only do this once or twice a week and not every day.
5. But don’t make it too steep!
While a gentle incline is a good idea, it’s best not to set the incline too steep (more than around 7%) as this places too much strain on your back, hips, and ankles. Some runners assume they’re getting a great workout if they challenge themselves to complete their entire run on a steep incline, but that much straight hill running is never a good idea and could lead to injuries. Instead it’s always best to mix up steep inclines with some flat running either manually or ideally through one of the treadmill’s programmes.
6. Add weight
Adding weight forces the body to work harder and increase the amount of calories burned. That’s why heavy people tend to burn more calories than lighter people when they exercise. 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.
7. Don’t let the machine do all the work
You should be running on the treadmill the same way you would run outdoors. Try to run with your natural gait, but keep you stride short so that the belt is not doing the work of bringing your 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.
8. Listen to music
Listening to music or watching videos while exercising can help relieve boredom and make each workout more effective. In particular, listening to upbeat music is great to get you in the mood for exercise and encouraging you to work harder. A study published in 2014 showed that the best music tempo for enhanced performance on the treadmill is between 123 and 131 bpm. You can see more information in this feature, Can Listening to Music Improve Your Workout?
9. Don’t hold on to the handrail!
Some people assume they need to hold onto the handrails when walking or running on a treadmill. But the handrails are only there to help you safely get on and off of the treadmill. Using the handrail forces you to hunch over which can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain. Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level.
10. Cool Down
Ever felt a little dizzy after taking that first step off the treadmill? It’s probably because you didn’t cool down at the end of your run. While you may feel like jumping off the treadmill as soon as the timer hits your goal, stopping suddenly can cause light-headedness, because your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly. Cool down by walking or slowly jogging for 5 to 10 minutes and don’t end your cool-down until your heart rate goes below 100 beats per minute.