Effective cardiovascular exercise is essential for optimum health, and you can’t beat the benefits you’ll get from a treadmill.
The only issue that people experience with treadmills is that, while walking and running are necessary to strengthen our cardiovascular systems, the experience isn’t as interesting as other forms of exercise.
Finding a few great ways to use your treadmill will allow you to maximize the use you get from your equipment while preventing the monotony of repetitive workouts.
Many newer models of treadmills offer a ton of cool features that never existed with previous exercise equipment.
For example, the majority of high-tech treadmills now come preloaded with onboard sound systems that allow you to listen to your favorite music as you run.
Some top of the line models come with large LCD screens on the dash that use real imagery to simulate walks in exotic locations, motivating you to push forward by rewarding you with an interactive experience.
Outside of all these cool features and the undeniable health benefits of cardiovascular exercise, there are plenty of reasons why adding a treadmill to your home gym is a wise decision.
You’ll see more benefits with treadmill running than you will with traditional running, and it’s simple to understand why.
Why Use a Treadmill?
You need more than just anaerobic exercise to be healthy.
Lifting weights and building strength are undoubtedly good for you, but if you limit yourself merely to lifting, you’re neglecting one of the most important parts of your body.
Weight lifting doesn’t burn as many calories as you may think, and cardiovascular exercise is necessary for weight management.
Cardiovascular exercise also creates a stronger heart and stronger lungs, and these are among the most important parts of your body.
You can’t afford to neglect your cardiovascular system, and it’s for more than just the health of your heart and lungs by themselves.
A stronger heart and stronger lungs means increasing the intensity and duration of your weight-based workouts will be easier. An increased lung capacity also has undeniable benefits for swimming and diving.
Better oxygen circulation means your body will be able to repair your muscles much faster as well.
Is a Treadmill Better Than Outdoor Running?
Most people skip purchasing a treadmill because running outside is free.
The only problem with running outside is that you’re a lot more limited in what you can do.
You’re stuck with the terrain in the area that you run, and you can’t adjust incline the same way you can with a treadmill.
Running on uneven or paved surfaces can cause premature aging to your joints, as the impact is much harsher.
With a treadmill, you’re getting a lot more versatility and convenience than you are with outdoor running. When you’re exposed to the elements, the weather affects your workout.
When it’s very hot outside, running can even be dangerous.
It may be impossible to run in snowy weather, and nobody wants to run in the rain. When you’re running in your home, you don’t have to worry about the weather and plan accordingly.
It doesn’t matter what things are like outside.
It’s also easier to use running as part of an interval workout, or to squeeze in a quick run when you’re pressed for time.
If you only have an hour between activities to get in some cardio, being able to run in your home makes the process much quicker and easier than going for a run outside.
You can hop on your treadmill for a few minutes, grab a quick shower, and get ready for work faster than you would be able to if you relied on running outdoors.
Can a Treadmill Help Me Reach My Goals?
Running outside will burn calories, but do you know how many?
What if you’re tired of the same routine, and your body is ready to increase the intensity?
You can’t do that when you’re outside.
Treadmills come equipped with heart rate monitors, speed trackers, distance trackers, and estimates of the calories you’ve burned.
When you’re running outside, it’s harder to keep track of the variables that will allow you to determine the efficiency of your workout. (of course, you can always buy a fitness tracker).
The ability to change your incline will help you turn a basic run into a challenging run.
When you want to make the most of your workout or set more ambitious goals, all you have to do is adjust your treadmill.
Most treadmills use programming functions to track your progress, allowing you to see how far you’ve come and set goals based on your desired skill level.
Some even recommend workouts for you and come preloaded with options designed by personal trainers.
The Best Treadmill Workouts
Treadmills are so much more than a basic walk, run, or jog.
You can do so much more with your treadmill than the basics, and planning out some workouts for yourself will keep things exciting.
Alternate your workouts on different days of the week, giving your body a better range of activity and engaging all of your muscle groups evenly.
1. Uphill Running
Hiking burns a lot more calories than running on flat turf, and it also has endurance-boosting benefits. Not everyone lives near large hills or mountains, so hiking outdoors isn’t a viable option.
But adjusting the incline on your treadmill, you’re able to mimic the effects of hiking. Start with a slight incline, and gradually increase your incline as you gain experience.
Eventually, running uphill on your treadmill will produce results on-par with hiking the steepest cliffs.
2. Interval Training
Personal trainers love interval training.
Essentially, interval training is a workout that replaces a resting break with less intense exercise. In doing so, you’re preventing your heart rate from completely returning to normal.
This means that when you go back to your workout, you won’t have to try as hard to get your heart rate back up. Start by warming up with a light jog for about ten minutes, and then add in one minute of intense running.
Return to your light jog for one minute, and then pick up the pace for one minute. Anywhere between 8 to 10 bursts is ideal.
When you’ve done all your bursts, slowly decrease your speed over a five minute period before you end your run.
3. Tempo Bursts
Tempo bursts are similar to interval workouts, but they’re better for beginners.
An effective tempo workout takes about half an hour to complete.
Warm-up for 10 minutes at a light, comfortable pace. Then, kick into a medium intensity for ten consecutive minutes.
Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion, but run significantly faster than your starting speed. Then, spend ten minutes slowly decreasing your speed until you’re back at your starting pace.
4. Endurance Training
It’s important to incorporate endurance training into your workout schedule.
You won’t be able to progress very far if you haven’t trained your body to endure more.
When it gets to the point where your regular activities are becoming a little too easy, and you’re seeing less results, you need to prioritize endurance training.
Warm-up at a slow pace for three to five minutes. Then, go for 20 to 25 minutes at a comfortable, but steady pace.
Don’t take breaks, and maintain a speed somewhere between 5 and 6 miles per hour.
After you’ve kept going at a constant speed for a significant period of time, cool down for 2 to 5 minutes.
Switch-offs are one of the simplest things you can do to implement more cardio into your routine.
Between lifting, stretching, and squatting, replace light running with your usual rest time. Once you’ve completed a full set of chin-ups, lateral pulls, or barbell lifting, hop on the treadmill for anywhere between two to five minutes.
Cool down for a minute or two, and then take on your next set of anaerobic exercises.
A treadmill is a one-time investment that will make your life easier and your workouts better.
No home gym is complete without one, and no workout regimen is well rounded without the benefits your body will receive from using your treadmill.