Treadmill Routine

Treadmills are the most popular exercise machines in gyms as well as home fitness centres. However, simply running in place can become boring and people start to see it as a drag and some may even stop using their treadmill. If you’re starting to get tired of your treadmill routine, don’t give up on it; instead, shake up your regimen to make it more interesting and get the most out of your treadmill routine.

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Treadmill Routine

Let Go of the Handrails

You breeze through the first half of your treadmill routine but then you start to get tired and pretty soon you can barely manage to put one foot in front of the other. At this point, you are so focused on completing your routine that you grab on to the handrails to steady yourself as you continue running. This is one of the most common mistakes that a lot of runners make – using the handrails forces you to hunch over which results in bad running form. Poor posture and running technique are the primary causes of injury. When running, your back and spine should be straight with your shoulders loose and your chin parallel to the ground. Studies show that improving posture and technique will enhance performance. Use treadmill handrails for their intended purpose – to help you get on and off the treadmill.

Keep your Stride Short

When you take large strides while running on a treadmill, the belt does most of the work in bringing your feet forward. This means that altering the length of your stride will help you get more out of your workout. Walking or running at a slower pace will not increase your heart rate enough to burn calories effectively so use short strides but increase your pace while using your treadmill. Studies show that decreasing your stride length by 3% can be beneficial to your workout. Additionally, smaller strides will ensure that your foot strikes under your body instead of further in front which helps to reduce the impact on your knee joints.

Switch up your routine

Following the same set treadmill routine can become boring and monotonous so switch up your routine on a regular basis. Adjust the settings on your treadmill – increase your speed or the length of your routine. Studies show that increasing the incline on your treadmill by just 5% increases the activity of the hamstring muscle group. Since the hamstrings are responsible for your running speed, increasing the inclination of your treadmill will help to strengthen and tone your legs. You can keep increasing the incline gradually right up to 15% or higher – according to the settings on your treadmill. Increasing the incline level on your treadmill is also a great cardio workout and will dramatically increase the number of calories you burn during your workout.

Use a weighted vest

Adding a weighted vest to your treadmill routine will increase the number of calories you burn as your body is forced to expend more energy. The additional weight also improves muscle growth and may even increase bone strength to support the additional load on your body. Studies show that wearing a weighted vest while exercising also improves agility which in turn would reduce your risk of injury. Running on a treadmill with a weighted vest is also an excellent cardio workout as researchers found that weighted vests increases VO2 max (a measure of fitness). When using a weighted vest, start off with just 10 lbs and slowly increase it to 50 – 75 lbs.

Listen to music

You may feel that the best way to exercise is to focus on running and avoid all distractions. However, studies show that listening to music can increase the duration of exercise as well as endurance. Listening to upbeat music will help to get you in the mood to exercise and will even help you stick to a steady running rhythm. Listening to fast music while running on the treadmill can also help you pick up the pace. Researchers also found that music can change your perception of how long you’ve been running and it can even accelerate recovery after your run. Listening to your favourite songs or new music while running on the treadmill will also help to prevent boredom while running.

Running is an excellent exercise as it offers a variety of health benefits – it is a great cardio workout, improves overall muscle tone and even boosts immune function to help you fight off respiratory infections. Running on a treadmill also improves overall mood and decreases stress as it triggers the release of “happy hormones” such as serotonin and endorphin. As a general rule of thumb, you should hit the treadmill for at least 20 minutes 4 times a weeks but you can increase this gradually once you build your endurance.

Author’s Bio: Anita Fernandes is a journalist and a writer by profession. She has been writing extensively on health and wellness related topics for a little over a decade now. Besides her professional interests, she loves a game of basketball or a good hike in her free time to fuel her spirits. “Health is wealth” is one motto of life which she lives by as well as advocates to every reader, who comes across her blogs.