We put together our tips for treadmill workouts in response to many of you who have a treadmill collecting dust after a few months. Some of you just don’t seem to get an optimal workout from it.
You may have bought a treadmill and then quickly got bored; or maybe you haven't seen the results you were expecting. In both instances, the problem isn’t the machine itself. The problem is understanding treadmill exercise and staying motivated.
One common mistake with treadmill exercise is simply stepping on and walking or jogging at the same speed for twenty or thirty minutes. This will quickly make you very tired and very bored. It also doesn’t make for an efficient workout.
Another common mistake is starting out at the pace you want to maintain without warming up and without pacing yourself. Treadmill exercise like this will quickly lead to sore muscles and possibly injuries, not to mention frustration. It also means you aren’t using all of your lower body muscles effectively.
There are several important elements to effective treadmill exercise. A few things to keep in mind are:
Here are some helpful articles on safety, accidents and knee pain:
Now let’s talk about getting results – safety is fine, but we know what you really want are tips for treadmill workouts that will help you lose fat and sculpt your body efficiently.
One of the keys to efficient workouts on a treadmill is varying your speed. This not only provides a better cardiovascular workout, it will work different muscle groups as your stride changes.
No matter what kind of treadmill exercise you decide to pursue, always do a warm up, cool down and some stretching. In between, you can choose between different types of workouts depending on the results you are looking for. While all of them will yield results in each area, you can certainly target your approach.
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Cardiovascular exercise depends on your heart rate – you want to focus on keeping your heart rate up without pushing it too high. Heart rate monitors are important with this type of workout. Ideally, you want to spend most of the time on the treadmill breathing hard but not gasping for air. You should be able to talk, but not as easily as if you were simply standing around.
Walking is the key to good cardio treadmill workouts. For the first four weeks, you should try for twenty minutes of walking at a pace of about 4-8 mph, depending on your comfort level. Adding ten minutes for the stretching, warm-up and cool-down, you’ll spend a half-hour each time. For the next five weeks of treadmill exercise, add ten minutes to your walking time. Do this until you are spending a total of sixty minutes on the treadmill at a time. To keep it interesting, you can change the incline slightly but adjust your speed accordingly to stay in that target heart rate range.
You will get cardio benefits from these treadmill workouts, but they will also give you a more effective calorie burn and work more groups of muscles.
Studies have shown that varying your heart rate and the intensity of your workout actually increases your metabolism more than exercising at the same rate for a prolonged length of time. What that means for you is that you should vary how fast you are walking or running when you are on the treadmill.
The intervals can last anywhere between one and five minutes each, but each interval should be either faster or slower than the interval before. Here are some examples of incorporating interval training in your treadmill workouts.
You may have to slow down slightly when the incline is raised, but you will be working harder. Alternate your treadmill exercise until you’ve worked for a half-hour plus your cool-down. Every four weeks you can increase the incline by a few percent. With this type of exercise, you don’t lengthen the time you spend working out (unlike the Sprint and Cardio Workouts), but you will be increasing the difficulty.
After three or four months of following these treadmill exercise guidelines, you should be experienced enough to begin varying them yourself. Some ways to “mix it up” include:
Personal trainers are always an option for a custom-designed workout, but most of us can’t afford one. There is an alternative solution that you can now use online that provides a very good set of treadmill exercise guidelines tailored to your needs.
If your treadmill is iFit compatible, you can let your VCR, CD or MP3 player automatically control your iFit compatible fitness equipment. If your treadmill is not set up for iFit, you can exercise with the help of this treadmill workout DVD. You will get the most out of your workouts and enjoy the motivational coaching.
The most important tip for treadmill workouts we can give you is this – keep at it every day! In a few months, you’ll look in the mirror and realize that it was worth every minute.
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