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Incorporating A Treadmill Into Your Workout

We all know we need to do it, but finding time and keeping ourselves motivated to exercise can be an entirely different thing.

Only 62 percent of all U.S. adults get adequate exercise on a weekly basis to maintain a healthy body. Adequate exercise is defined as 30 minutes of moderate exercise, at least five times a week. Of that 62 percent, the majority were not meeting exercise guidelines. Seven out of 10 adults do not engage in any kind of exercise, increasing their risk for health issues such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

If you are among the 38 percent who meet exercise guidelines, or are hoping to get in better shape and improve your exercise habits, a treadmill is a great way to accomplish your goal. Whether you work out at a fitness center or in the comfort of your own home, incorporating a treadmill into your workout can produce health benefits.

Before we discuss how to effectively use a treadmill during your workout, letís talk about the benefits and drawbacks to using one.

Treadmills are designed to provide compression-type exercise. What that means is that you are helping to make your bones and muscles stronger through a high-impact exercise. The impact felt when using a treadmill helps to keep bones strong and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. The downside to having a high-impact workout is that it may not be best for people who have joint, hip or knee pain. For those people, using a treadmill can aggravate your condition and should be avoided in favor of another piece of equipment, such as a recumbent bicycle or an elliptical trainer. Those pieces of equipment provide low-impact cardiovascular exercise, which is easier on the joints.

Now letís discuss some tips for getting the most out of your treadmill workout:

  • Use an incline. All treadmills have the option of increasing the grade at which you walk, otherwise known as an incline. If you are not using at least a setting of 1 on the incline option, then you are not getting the best workout possible. Increasing the incline forces your muscles to work harder, which in turn, burns more calories. Not only will you burn more calories with increased incline levels, but you also will build the muscle in your legs.
  • Go the distance. Many treadmills have fat burning and cardiovascular charts on them. Ignore them. Not only can they be deceptive, but studies have shown that walking or running for longer distances is the best way to burn calories and keep weight off.
  • Ignore the numbers. Most treadmills have indicators that will show you how many miles youíve walked, as well as how many calories youíve burned. While the mileage estimates are likely accurate, the calorie indicator probably is not. Exercisers should keep in mind that most treadmill settings are based on a 140 pound woman or a 180 pound man. If you do not fit into one of those categories, the readings it provides may not be entirely accurate for you.
  • Train in intervals. If you are new to exercising, it is wise to build up your stamina at a slow, steady pace. However, if youíve been exercising for awhile or are ready to increase the intensity of your workout to prevent a plateau, interval training is the best way to accomplish that goal. During your workout, vary the speed at which you are walking/running, as well as the incline. Do this every couple of minutes for the entirety of the workout and you will see fabulous results.

These are just a few of the key elements of providing yourself with a rewarding workout on a treadmill that will not only leave you fitter, but also ensure that you will not become bored with your workouts.

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