The treadmill is one of the most used cardio machines at the gym and one of the most common for at-home equipment. Not only is it great for weight-loss, running on a treadmill can also help you tone-up, get lean, fight cellulite and keep your heart and joints healthy.
The next time you jump on the treadmill at the gym, keep these tips in mind for the most effective workout (these tips are not for those training for a marathon):
1. Crank up the incline. You don’t walk on a zero incline outside in your daily lives (the Earth isn’t flat, remember?), so why do it in the gym? Use at least 1 incline for walking or running.
2. Instead of using the programmed “weight-loss” or “heart health” charts on the treadmill, opt for manual programming. The key to burning calories and effective weight-loss is high intensity intervals. So keep that in mind as you workout and gradually up the speed/incline, then lower back down for a brisk walk, then quicken again. Vary the speed and intervals so your body would be pushed to work harder.
3. Make sure you’re maintaining the right form on the treadmill: good posture, shoulders back, and your head looking forward, not down at the floor. Relax your hands or keep a loose fist and let your arms swing naturally. Keep a steady, long stride and consistent pressure on both feet. Refrain from short and choppy strides. Also beware not to drift to one side or backwards on the belt.
4. Create a playlist just for your gym sessions. Make sure it’s upbeat and fast so you can keep your pace along with the rhythm of the music. You can also throw in a few less heart-pumping songs in between if you’re doing interval training for the slower paced walks.
5. Set goals for yourself to work toward and keep track and monitor your heart rate. Record your heart rate at different grades and speeds after a set amount of time. You know you’ve made progress if your heart rate numbers decreases in a few months.
Don’t be afraid to run! It’s not the same as running outside but treadmills have a built-in “spring” that will cushion your strides so you won’t easily hurt yourself. Also it’s crucial to stay hydrated and allow a warm-up and cool-down period. Always remember that consistency is vital to any fitness routine!