Treadmills are one of the most popular machines in a gym, and it’s no surprise why. They are extremely versatile and convenient with the ability to cater to various fitness levels. Additionally, these machines are relatively easy to use. Although a large number of people know how to work a treadmill to some degree, there are some common mistakes that even the most active gym users might make. Whether you’ve just joined a gym or been using a treadmill for some time now, here are some things you should keep in mind to get the most out of your workout on a treadmill.
Tips For Running on a Treadmill
Before hitting the gym ensure that you pre-plan your workout. This will save you a lot of time and mental stress. If you are planning on doing some interval training, it is imperative that you mentally and physically prepare yourself before stepping onto the treadmill. Take some time out to stretch and ready your muscles for a workout. If you’re a beginner, play around with the settings to find a perfect balance that your body can keep up with. With time, you can change the settings to increase intensity and speed levels to improve and match your fitness level. On a side note, make sure that you have all your essential workout things such as your towel, water bottles and so on, before heading to the gym.
Running on a treadmill can get boring, especially if you are planning a long run at a fixed pace. However, this doesn’t have to be the case when you are doing interval training. In a nutshell, interval training is the combination of low to high-intensity workouts which help to improve your speed, endurance and fat burn. Additionally, studies have shown that interval training not only increases your fitness level, but it also burns more calories over a short period of time compared to training at an intensity and speed that is constant over a long period of time. If you’re new to interval training, it’s best for you to spend a few weeks to a month building your stamina first. Invest more time on cardio workouts for a period of time until you feel comfortable enough to add interval training to your routine. Then over the course of your visits to the gym, you can include an interval workout once a week to speed up your progress.
Utilise the Features
If you haven’t been paying attention, you would realise that there are many ways you can tweak the settings to get more out of your workout. Most if not all treadmills come with interval plans or settings such as Fat Burn or Hill Climber. Besides that, you can also adjust the incline or even increase the speed to change the intensity level of your workout. These features not only improve your fitness level but also help you to burn more calories. If you are the type of runner who usually increases the speed without changing the incline, it might be time for you to switch up your workout. Consider increasing your incline level to 10 or 15 and do some speed walking before lowering it to about 3 or 4 and running. Switching from a big incline to a slight incline will feel much easier compared to no incline to a slight incline. In fact, even if you are running at a constant speed for a long period of time, increasing the incline even if its just 1 or 2 levels, will prevent shin splints and other muscle injuries.
Avoid Feeling Bored
It is easy to feel bored when you are constantly engaged in a repetitive workout routine. What’s more, a repetitive workout will actually discourage you from using treadmills. Hence, in this sense, it is imperative that you have several routines that you can do to avoid a mundane workout. It is important to note that doing the same workout over and over again will lead to a plateau as the muscles in the body will adapt to the said workout routine. This also means that you will be burning fewer calories. Worst still, repeating workouts can actually increase the likelihood of injuries. If you are using the treadmill at least three times a week, try incorporating different types of workout each time you hit the treadmill. Additionally, if you want to get more from your workout, consider listening to informative podcasts, riveting audiobooks, Ted talks while using the treadmill. Avoid reading magazines, books or talking with your friends or gym buddies if you are working out as these types of activities.
Check Your Form and Lay Off the Handrails
Some treadmill runners make the common mistake of constantly looking down or at their feet while running. This is not only bad for your form but doing this can also lead to neck/back pain. It’s best to focus on keeping your back straight and looking forward. Another thing you should absolutely avoid is to hold on to the handrails or the top of the machine when walking on a steep incline or running. This will cause your workout to be inefficient and lead to a bad form as well.