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Take the Treadmill to New Heights!

Posted Feb 19 2009 5:10pm

Treadmills are some of the most used, generally functional, and boring fitness equipment in our gyms and homes. Most of us jump on the treadmill, hit the “quick start” button and begin our journey only to get five minutes in and wonder if six minutes is enough cardio for one day. I would try to count or listen to music or pray for time to miraculously go by quicker. That is until I began to take, and now teach, a treadmill class. Treadmills can transform a stroll in the park into a hike up a mountain and a five mile jog into a 5k race. Treadmills do not have to be boring! Today I’d like to share with you a few ways you can take your boring treadmill and make it a machine you’ll want to keep running to.

Variation is the Key

Have you been doing the same treadmill workout everyday? If so, you may not only get bored with your workout but you might not be getting the maximum benefits of your workout. At some point you’ll need to run or walk longer, take the treadmill up on an incline, or speed up. For many of us, it’s a matter of knowing what to do. Many treadmills have programmed exercises that you can do. The only problem with these programs is that generally you need to wear a heart monitor in order for the program to continue during your workout. Later I will be giving you a workout that you can try on your own. This workout may be used on a treadmill or elliptical machine.

Benefits of Treadmill

1. You can use it year round. I love to run outside, except in the winter. What’s great about a treadmill is that I can use it whenever I like.

2. It does not require coordination! This is great news for many people. There is absolutely no choreography, no step, no complicated movements, just walking (or running).
3. You’re in control of speed and gradient. If you don’t want to go up a hill you don’t have to, if you want to jog up a hill you can do that. Your local park may not have a hill and if you’re on a hill outside you can’t push a button and be down in a few seconds. Treadmills allow you to adjust the workout to your preferences and needs.

4. No wind resistance. When you are on a treadmill it is easier than running outside because you are not fighting the wind. This may be a disadvantage for someone training for a race; it would be advantageous to have some outside running time.

Let’s Workout!

There are three sections of my treadmill workouts: the warm-up, the working segment, the cool down. I teach a 45 minute class so I will be giving you a 45 minute workout. If you would like to try it but do not have 45 minutes to devote to cardio, try shaving a few minutes off of the working segment. Warming up and cooling down are essential for your exercise program. A proper warm-up allows your body to prepare and prevent injury. A cool-down helps prevent a rapid drop in blood pressure (Fitness Theory & Practice, AFAA). Have you ever been dizzy after a workout? Chances are you may not have cooled down properly.

Safety

Most treadmills have a devise you can attach to your shirt that will stop the treadmill automatically in the event of a fall. Attach that device to yourself. When walking you want to walk heal to toe, shoulders should be back and down, and core in tight. If speed walking make sure your hip do not sway as you walk. For monitoring heart rate, I suggest slowing down if you can’t talk or have a feeling of exhaustion. You may also check your heart rate against the charts posted on the treadmills if one is available.

One thing I tell my class is “I want you to be glad you came!” If you try these workout I hope you are glad you came by. Let me know how it goes.

E= Elevation (increase the incline to the number beside the E)
S= Approximate Speed (go at your own pace)

Workout 1

5 Minute Warm-up and stretch
5 minute light jog or quick walk (S 4.0-4.5, E3)
Walk 1 minute recovery (S 3.0-3.5; E3)

60 seconds jog/ 90 seconds walk speeding up and increasing elevation (10 min workout)

start jog or quick walk (S 4.0-4.5, E3)- 60 sec.
Walk slowing down to walking pace (S 3.5-3.8)- 90 sec.
Jog/QW (S 4.0-4.5, E5)- 60 sec.
Walk slowing down to walking pace (S 3.5-3.8)- 90 sec.
Jog/QW (S 4.0-4.5, E5)- 60 sec.
Walk slowing down to walking pace (S 3.5-3.8)- 90 sec.
Jog/QW (S 4.0-4.5, E7)- 60 sec.
Walk slowing down to walking pace (S 3.5-3.8)- 90 sec.

Walk 1 minute recovery (S 3.0-3.5; E3)

3 minute light jog or quick walk (S 4.0-4.5, E3)

Walk slowly up a hill increasing elevation every 2 minutes (8 minute workout)
S=3.5-3.8

Start at E5- 2 minutes
E8- 2 minutes
E11- 2 minutes
E 14- 2 minutes (you may need to slow down at this point)

Walk down hill decreasing elevation every 1 minute (3 minutes workout)
E 11- 1 minute
E 7- 1 minute
E 3- 1 minutes

Walk 1 minute recovery (S 3.0-3.5; E3)
Cool Down and Stretch (S 2.0 after 3 minutes S 0, E 0- 6 minutes total )

 
Workout 2
5 Minute Warm-up and stretch

Jog Workout (Jog or Walk at own quick pace, E 2; 22 minute workout)

Quick Jog 3 minutes
Walk 90 seconds
Quick Jog 5 minutes
Walk 2.5 minutes
Quick Jog 3 minutes
Walk 90 seconds
Quick Jog 5 minutes

Walk 1 minute recovery (S 3.0-3.5; E2)

Walk slowly up a hill increasing elevation every 2 minutes (8 minute workout)
S=3.0-3.5

Start at E3- 2 minutes
E5- 2 minutes
E8- 2 minutes
E11- 2 minutes

Walk down hill decreasing elevation every 1 minute (3 minutes workout)

E 11- 1 minute
E 7- 1 minute
E 3- 1 minutes

Cool Down and Stretch (S 2.0 after 3 minutes S 0, E 0- 6 minutes total )

Remember to consult a physician before beginning any workout program.

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