Using a treadmill; Do you know that 60 mins of a treadmill workout can burn up to 1000 calories? Although the calorie count may vary slightly based on your health, the figure clearly indicates that using a treadmill is an easy yet effective exercise routine.
I started using a treadmill during my first year at college; I had loads of assignments and not much free time, so I couldn’t afford the time to travel for outdoor exercises; also, those crowded places weren’t my preferred places to be. I understood the importance of exercise in my life, so after some professional medical advice, I started my treadmill workout, and I have to say, have never regretted the decision.
It is a great cardio exercise that requires no exercise equipment except the treadmill. Going back I remember the first treadmill session was challenging; I wasn’t able to adjust to the moving belt or run at a constant speed, but after only just a few months of regular interval training I could easily say that it is one of the best aerobic exercises that you could do to lose weight and maintain your health.
Are you looking for some quick tips to improve your treadmill workouts? Well then, this blog is for you. We shall discuss the top 10 tips for a treadmill workout and its significance as a cardio workout and interval training. So, let’s walk/run straight in…
Always Start With A Warm-Up When Using a Treadmill
Most treadmill runners don’t pay importance to a warm-up before getting into top gear. Runners tend to start at four mph and then take that to 7-9 mph within a minute.
Although this technique can be helpful if your body is in the mode of exercise already (i.e. if you’ve moved from one piece of cardio kit to another maintaining a raised heart rate), problems can occur if you start in this pattern from a standing start and you could, in turn, hurt your cardiovascular health.
Scientifically, your heart and lungs take time to adapt to intense exercise, and when you start at high speed without a warm-up, they have less time to cope with the activity, which may lead to higher blood pressure and heavy breathing.
Also, starting at high speed would make you feel tired within some minutes; hence, you won’t burn calories like you would have wanted. The ideal method is to start at a healthy three mph then increase one mph after every minute. It would allow you to make the most of treadmill running as interval training.
Know Your Treadmill
Although reading an instruction manual or consulting a coach may feel old school, it can help you maximize your calorie burn during treadmill workouts. Treadmills, just like any other device, have varying specifications. Most treadmills come with a calories monitor, heart rate monitor, and interval management that can provide you with statistical insights into your workout. These stats can help you understand the pattern to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health.
The latest machines come with programmed workouts that have reduced the need for professional medical advice. The settings allow the treadmills to set the speed and incline based on the program selected. All you have to do is select a program and the difficulty level; then, the treadmill would handle the rest.
If you have a clear idea of what your treadmill offers, you won’t need a personal trainer to tell you how to acquire the best results.
Use The Incline Feature
If you are looking to improve your weight loss but can’t sort an hour to use a treadmill, then a 40-minute session could be adequate enough to reach your calorie target and the simplest method to burn more calories is by using a slight incline. An elevated belt would require more effort to walk or run; thus, your calorie burn would be maximized.
Often, you would notice that the last minutes of running on a treadmill are the hardest, your body feels like it can’t run anymore, and you would feel like throwing your running shoes away. I love the commitment of not giving up but to make things a little easier; you can slow your pace and increase the incline level. It would help in maximizing the calorie burn despite the slow speed.
The incline level can be a game-changer. I have heard several reader success stories that remarked the incline as a messiah to their last-minute jogs. Also, if you are using a treadmill as aerobic exercise, setting up a higher incline is a must. It improves your lower body strength, including the hamstring muscles, and will also build endurance.
Avoid holding the hand console.
One of the common mistakes among treadmill users is the habit of holding the hand console while running. I understand that many beginners have balance issues and are afraid they might fall short of the pace or injure themselves, but holding the console actually leads to worse injuries.
If you are running with your hands on the console, your upper body doesn’t move with the natural flow of your lower body, which leads to an awful posture. The neck and spine positioning can cause back pain and, in worse cases, the damaging of muscles, preventing you from running for several days.
To run in a proper form and maximize results, make sure that you run or walk naturally. If you are afraid of hitting the machines’ front or slipping down, start at a slow speed, then gradually pace up to a speed where you are comfortable.
As a beginner, it would take some time to adjust to a treadmill, but good results await consistent efforts. To speed up the learning process, read ‘how-to’ tips and tune your legs.
Keep your concentration
As a beginner, you need to keep your concentration on the treadmill; otherwise, you could end up seriously injured. Although watching shows on a TV placed above the treadmill is tempting and can help you divert your mind from the cardio exercise, it can lead to unusual balance, which may injure you.
According to reports, there can be as many as 24,500 reported injuries in the US alone in just a single year while using a treadmill, most of which occurred due to lack of concentration. When you are using a treadmill but can’t resist watching TV, ensure that you slow your pace and hold the console, so you don’t slip.
Also, several scientific studies have shown that cardiovascular exercises produce the best results when they are done with total concentration. Although diverting your attention can help you run longer, it doesn’t help your calorie burn or weight loss.
Pay Attention To Your Stride
If you are using the treadmill as an exercise routine, you need to make sure that you do it perfectly. Stride is one of the critical factors that determine how effective your workout will be. When walking on a treadmill, you need to ensure that you are neither stretching the length nor shortening it.
Your walking or running pattern should be natural. Let your legs decide how long the stride would be. Consult a professional coach or ask a senior gym member for help to ensure that your stride is perfect. A rule of thumb is to maintain a stride length that produces 20-30 strides in 30 seconds at a speed of 7 mph.
Treadmill Safety Rules
Running on a treadmill should be ‘a stroll in the park’, and a bit like the saying ‘just like riding a bike’ as in, once you’ve got the hang of it, you never forget. However, treadmill safety is essential to avoid injury and maximize your calorie burn. The first week with the treadmill should be all about understanding the exercise equipment. You must be well aware of the safety features of the machine.
Many treadmills come with a metal/plastic plug/pin that is to be placed into a designated point/slot to signify that you are ready to run. If the plug/pin is displaced, the machine won’t start. Although this feature is helpful to keep your running safe, it can be dangerous if the plug is accidentally removed in the middle of a run. I have actually experienced this; when I was switching from walking outdoors to running on a treadmill on one of my first runs. During this session, I accidentally knocked my hand into the cord of the metal plug, and it got displaced. The machine stopped quite abruptly, and I was lucky to avoid falling as I obviously wasn’t expecting it.
Your machine will also have several other features that you should know about before you start using it so take time in reading through the manual.
Treadmill walking/running is an aerobic exercise, and when you are running at a high pace, it puts a strain on your heart. It is essential that you are well versed with the medical condition of your heart (fitness level) and have taken professional advice before your start.
Most newer treadmills come with a heart monitor that precisely read your blood pressure and heart rate. You need to ensure that your heart rate never crosses the 15% deviation from the normal rate. Before you start running on a treadmill, you need to understand your cardiovascular health.
To have a great workout, gradually increase your speed to the final pace. It helps your heart and body cope with changes in the strain, so the heart rate doesn’t rise beyond the bar.
Running Shoes Matter
A while ago I came across a story of someone who had bought a treadmill for a home workout and didn’t want to risk their trainers on it, so instead started walking barefooted. After about 5-6 minutes, they felt some burns to their feet and thought it was normal. Some minutes later, the burn worsened, and they couldn’t take the pain any longer. They couldn’t feel their feet. A day or so later they consulted their old personal trainer, and he helped heal the rashes and strongly advised to never start walking on a treadmill without running shoes again!
Selecting the perfect shoes can be tricky though because there are tons of varieties and you can never be sure what to choose. I would recommend that you go with an economical jogging shoe that has a thick sole. A wider sole protects your feet from the heat and would also help with your stride length.
If you already have a jogging shoe, but it has a slimmer sole, then you don’t necessarily need to get a new shoe. Wear dry cotton socks; they are sound heat absorbers, so your feet will be safe. In time you’ll get to know your style and which shoe suits you best.
Use Workout Videos For Educational Purposes
Nobody is born perfect. All of us learn something new every day, and it’s alright if we correct the mistakes by copying the more experienced people of the niche. Though treadmill workout feels like the most straightforward exercise, it isn’t, and if you have been doing it for some time, you will understand that you would often require some consultation.
The easiest and cheapest way to get help is by watching educational videos. Several YouTube experts explain the subject in detail. They have scientific backing for their tips that can actually be crucial in the long term. I have learned several hacks for boosting metabolism, burning calories, and maximizing your weight loss. However, the internet has become a Marketplace for this type of information.
But beware…companies hire a lot of fitness gurus to market their products as affiliates. You will frequently see that ‘celebrities’ sell products that aren’t necessarily required. Therefore, you need to avoid them because they do little help and are simply a waste of money.
We have finally come to the end of the blog; I hope it was helpful for you in improving your workout sessions. As I mentioned above, all of us make mistakes, but it’s how we correct them that matters. As a beginner, you are going to face some difficulties in adjusting to a new workout routine. There will be some days when your skin itches, you might face some cramps, but that’s all okay. You should keep on trying to be better at what you do. Taking care of your fitness is the most basic right of your body, and you should always make sure that you are in the best shape physically.
So that’s your basic intro to using a treadmill; I trust it’s helped inspire your choices going forward and I’ll look forward to hearing from you about how the tips have hopefully worked.
How to know if a treadmill is fit for me?
Most newer treadmills have similar options; however, their costs can differ based on the brand. I would suggest that you go with the affordable one. If there aren’t multiple users, you can potentially put affordability over quality.
Are smaller intervals better than one long workout?
Experts recommend that treadmill use of smaller intervals throughout the day is better than all-in-one sessions. It keeps your body active all day and helps fasten your metabolism in the long run.
Will sports medicines help me in improving results?
By eating healthily and taking good care of your body is generally the best starting point. Getting enough sleep, not drinking alcohol in excess, not smoking and getting plenty of rest are all obvious ways to be as healthy as you can too.
If it is however that you begin to raise your exercise levels you may well benefit from adding in a few of the supplements that are out there. These can consist of protein shakes, protein bars, recovery supplements as well as pre-workout shots. Depending on what type of workout out you’re doing and how your diet is will determine what your body needs. One size does not suit all in this situation. An example of this is if you’re training to be the world’s strongest man, then your calorie intake on a daily basis is going to be huge (you’ve seen the 12 eggs for breakfast, 8 slices of toast, 4 chicken breasts etc). If you’re training for a marathon however then this isn’t going to be the best diet for you. So research and eat for the activity or results you’re training for.
Sports medicines that involve steroids.
These are artificial proteins that help in muscle growth and improve fat burn. However, research has proven that they are harmful to your health as they impact your kidney and heart.
What do I do if I feel unwell whilst using a treadmill?
If at any stage you begin to feel unwell when using a treadmill, stop immediately and seek medical advice.