Sweltering heat. Driving rain. Black ice. Unaware drivers. Rude drivers! Seems like conditions aren’t always ideal for running or walking outside. It’s nice when you can get outdoors for your exercise, but what happens when you need regular workouts? This alone is reason enough to incorporate the benefits of the treadmill into your routine. There are other benefits too, which range from better health to injury prevention. Here are the top 6 benefits of using a treadmill.
1. Don’t Let Nature Rain on Your Parade: Work Out Regularly and Consistently
Getting a consistent workout is recommended by the US Department of Health & Human Services. They advise healthy adults to get two and a half hours per week of moderate aerobic activity. That means activity where your heart rate is increased and your breathing is heavier. What’s the best moderate aerobic physical activity? Walking, hands down, is the number one healthiest and safest form of physical activity for fitness and health.
Two and half hours of physical activity per week: break that down and it’s half an hour a day, five days a week. Do you live in a part of the country where that’s possible year-round? Chances are, a treadmill can help you get regular and consistent workouts so you never miss exercising because of weather or simply because you can’t face the rude and unaware drivers one more day. Heck, even pollen or smog can prevent you from exercising outdoors on some days.
2. Your Knees & Hips Will Thank You Later
This is another reason why treadmills rock. When you run on a hard surface like pavement, the impact to your joints is incredible. All your body weight is temporarily flung into the air, then comes crashing down on one leg- that’s one stride. Especially for runners, impact is a serious concern. Treadmills provide a low-impact surface on which to run or walk, thereby saving your knees, hips and other joints from future damage. Sometimes the damage is slow and over time, so you don’t even feel any pain until you get older and it’s too late. Do yourself and your joints a huge favor and use a treadmill.
3. You Can Vary Your Workouts to Prevent Burnout
Tired of running the same course week after week? One of the top reasons why people quit exercising is boredom. Well that won’t happen with a treadmill because there are infinite possibilities when it comes to choosing your workout routine. You can choose preset courses or design your own. Incorporate hills, varying speeds, or both for a walk/run that’s never the same.
Run up Hell Hill one day, then do a light brisk walk the next…you’ll never get bored on a treadmill!
Work in a few monster hills once a week and slowly increase your stamina, for example. Do a power walk up a steep incline at a fast pace one day, then do a light run on a flat surface next time. Totally different workouts and you choose. Besides, fitness experts recommend varying your workout for maximum fitness.
4. You Can Burn More Calories, Get Stronger and Run Faster
Running or walking on a treadmill, you will eventually see all of these benefits:
- You will burn more calories because you can use the treadmill preset programs to introduce intervals to your workout routine. Intervals combine moderately-paced running/walking with bursts of more intense activity. This is very difficult to achieve outdoors because of obstacles and terrain. Also, running faster will burn more calories. With a treadmill, you can keep track of your speed and gradually increase it as you get more in shape.
- You will become stronger. You can increase the incline to simulate hills…this makes you stronger than walking or running on flat surfaces. You can also do lunges on the treadmill. Slow way down and take gigantic steps to strengthen your thighs and tush.
- You will eventually be able to walk or run faster. To run or walk faster, you have to practice. To practice, increase the speed of your treadmill for short periods of time, then revert back to normal. Over the course of a few weeks these intervals will become easier ad you will be able to do more of them. Eventually you will be able to do your entire workout session at the faster pace, if you so desire.
From vehicle traffic and potholes to distractions, walking or running outdoors can be risky. Don’t you want to focus on your workout, or on nothing at all rather than constantly having to watch out for danger or bad drivers? A treadmill lets you tune in or tune out, whichever you prefer. Set the treadmill on a steady pace and let your mind drift into a “runner’s trance”, listening to your favorite tunes. No stoplights, no cars or trucks to contend with, and no obstacles whatsoever.
Also, a treadmill never has holes. You won’t twist your ankle or break your foot by stepping into a hidden hole in the ground. A treadmill also has nothing to trip on. There are no tree roots or curbs, or any other obstacles in the way of your workout.
Like to listen to your mp3 player while you run or walk? It’s not really safe if you’re around traffic. Unaware drivers present dangers to your workout, but you can present a danger to yourself if you are unaware of your surroundings.
6. You Can Customize a Treadmill Workout to Fit Your Schedule
No time for an hour-long walk or even a half-hour run? Treadmills offer you the chance to tailor your workout to the time slot you have available for exercise that day. Only have 15 minutes? No problem: do five minutes of moderate walking followed by a ten-minute run or, if you’re a walker, intense uphill fast walking. Now you’ve got your heart rate up for a good amount of time, which beats skipping your workout altogether because you don’t have a large enough chunk of time. All this made possible by the treadmill. Happy exercising!