Although many treadmill reviews make hopping onto a treadmill for half an hour after a focused aerobics or weightlifting session sound like a breeze, repeating the same workout day after day can cause even the most disciplined fitness enthusiast to lose interest in their workout. Likewise, people often lose sight of their fitness goals in places, like gyms, that encourage distraction.
Luckily, you can transform a throwaway treadmill routine into an effective workout, but it will take an honest look at your assets, including the treadmill and a willingness to embrace some change.
Use the Treadmill's Full Potential
The first step in creating a more effective workout is ensuring that you are fully utilizing all of the features of your treadmill. Simply turning on the device and setting the speed control isn't enough. Minimal knowledge reaps minimal results.
However, you can gain a better understanding of all the functions on treadmill by asking an instructor for tips or reading the owner's manual, which will likely add more depth to your workout. Applying this information–from the heart monitor to the incline to the pre-programmed workouts — can transform a treadmill from motion machine into a fitness tool.
Walk Taller and Let Go
Treadmill users can be very focused, grabbing handrails and thrusting forward into an invisible headwind can be invigorating, but workout intensity doesn't equal workout productivity. According to the world's largest exercise science organization, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), a bent posture, tilting forward and death gripping the handrail are all counterproductive. Instead it is better to have tall, relaxed movements and complementing arm motion when working out.
Hit the Ground Heel-to-Toe
The slapping of one sneaker after another may sound like it's getting the job done, but that slapping sound is a warning that a walker or runner is striking the treadmill improperly.
Although it does depend on the walking, jogging or running goal someone has in mind, “Runner's World” experts generally agree that the front foot should first strike on the heel and then roll to the toe, as it prepares to push off for the next step.
Making sure your legs don't strike the ground rigidly can also improve workout results, as slightly bending the legs on impact minimizes impact and prevents you from accidentally locking your knees.
Shorten Stride for Speed
Oftentimes treadmill users try to increase their speed by taking longer strides. However, according to “The Runner's Body,” the complete opposite is best. Keeping your stride short and taking more steps per minute (professional athletes usually take about 180 steps per minute) will make you go much faster.
Ultimately, where your feet land in relationship to your body is what is most important. Ideally, they should fall directly beneath your body, with no lower leg over-extension.
Rewrite the Routine
At some point, treadmill roadblock hits every workout enthusiast. Thus, when your workout get boring, it's a clue its time to mix up your routine. Try sampling a pre-programmed workout or customize one. Add difficulty and burn more calories by increasing the incline or speed on your treadmill.
Developing a new approach and new fitness goals will reinvent your workout and change your treadmill time into something that's invigorating again.
Whether your workout goal is to lose weight loss, cross train or improve your general health, a treadmill is a great resource for reaching and maintaining your personal fitness target. However, to get the most out of your workout, you must be knowledgeable about the device and monitor your body's actions and responses to it as well.
Ultimately if you focus on your fitness expectation and are willing to occasionally switch up your workout, you will be able to stay mentally and physically on track.
About the Author
Guest Aaron O'Connor is a former track & field athlete, currently a writer and amateur fitness trainer in Washington state. Aaron writes on the topic of treadmill reviews.