Treadmills not only provide you with a full-body workout but also enable you to lose weight and tone up your body no matter your fitness level. You can use a treadmill to set your personal fitness goals, to learn to run or even to train for a marathon.
Why train on a treadmill
One of the main reasons to use a treadmill is that it allows you to train no matter the weather. Other reasons include safety and convenience. Most treadmills have surfaces that absorb impact and reduce pressure, reducing your risk of injury when compared with running on asphalt or concrete surfaces. A treadmill also allows you to set your own challenges, in particular with hill training or running a certain distance at a certain pace. It’s also easy to measure results on a treadmill by using programmed workouts.
Using a treadmill to lose weight
A treadmill is versatile in that it allows you to walk, run and interval train. Most treadmills also allow you to walk uphill, and some will let you walk downhill--both effective calorie-busters. If you have regular access to a treadmill, consider splitting workouts into mini-sessions, which can be done at your convenience and will burn a similar number of calories as a single longer session.
Before you begin
Read the instructions carefully, as they can vary from treadmill to treadmill. Start slowly, and step onto the belt only after you're sure it’s set at a slow speed. Don’t use the handrails except for balance, since leaning on them can put an additional strain on your elbows. Good running shoes are a must to help your knees absorb the shock that running causes.
Running on a treadmill burns more calories than walking--about 105 calories per mile for men and 91 calories per mile for women. Your distance, speed and incline will affect how many calories you burn, and your weight will also play a role. By combining regular training with a good diet, you can lose weight faster and more effectively than if you neglected one or the other.
Treadmill interval training
Interval training on a treadmill is designed to burn more calories and make you a stronger runner, notes Treadmill Reviews. It also allows you to burn calories quicker, helping you lose weight faster. Treadmill interval training, a form of cardiovascular training, includes combining hill or incline workouts, fast walking and running. You can select the time and intensity before each session and program it according to your fitness level. As this is a more difficult workout, getting your doctor’s approval is recommended before you begin.
Selecting a suitable treadmill
As Salt Lake City fitness consultant Gregory Florez points out, it's more important to focus on the warranty and sturdiness of the frame than the cosmetic appeal that a treadmill offers. A good treadmill suitable for regular running should have at minimum a 1.8 horsepower motor and the ability to support your body weight. If you shop at a fitness retailer rather than a general retail store, you're more likely to find a high-quality treadmill with a better warranty--which is important, since treadmills aren't cheap.