1. Set Your Treadmill on an Incline
When possible, set your treadmill on a 1%-2% incline. This is actually considered “standard,” which means it takes the same amount of energy that walking outside on a flat surface does. (https://www.treadmillreviews.net/benefits-of-using-incline-on-a-treadmill/) A 0% incline is easier than walking on a flat sidewalk because the treadmill moves beneath you, reducing the amount of push-off necessary to “move forward.”
Working out on a greater incline may increase the intensity of your workout without increasing the speed or time spent working out.
2. Use a Heart Rate Monitor – Not a Calorie Counter!
Calorie counters are, at best, estimates. Weight, age, and sex will all affect the rate at which an individual burns calories. Even a newer model that requires you to input that information will only be able to provide an estimate, and calorie counting equipment that doesn’t require that information will be a guess at best.
Even with an accurate calorie count, calories aren’t very useful for monitoring fitness output. A calorie is technically a unit to measure energy, but complex factors affect how many actual calories are gained through food or used in exercise (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-reasons-why-a-calorie-is-not-a-calorie).
Heart rate monitors, on the other hand, can improve the efficiency of your workout and keep your workout safe. Interval training requires periods of intense workout followed by less vigorous training. It is proven to burn more calories and improves cardiovascular health at a faster rate compared to steady-rate cardio workouts. Interval training also improves your metabolism faster than regular workouts, which means you’ll be burning more calories even when you aren’t exercising.
The most efficient way to measure the periods of intense activity is to set a target heart rate around 80%-90% of your maximum heart rate. Learn how to calculate your maximum heart rate here (). Note that interval training at 90% of your maximum heart rate may not be safe if you have a heart condition, and you should always consult with your doctor when making substantial changes to your workout routine.
Many treadmills come with a heart rate monitor, however, a personal monitor in watch form may be more accurate. Using the monitor your treadmill comes with a few times should give you a good idea of whether it is helpful for your workouts.
3. Maintain Your Posture
It can be tempting to hold onto your Treadmill’s handrails or watch your feet while you run, but both of these things can cause poor posture.
Poor posture can make your running less efficient, make breathing more difficult, and cause “landing stress” with each footstep. It may also cause post-workout pain in your back, neck, and legs.
Good posture requires body systems, head, torso, and pelvis, stacked in a straight line, with each angled neutrally. Avoid tensing shoulder and arm muscles. Poor fitting running shoes can also affect posture.
Another consideration is the position of any screens you may watch while running. If your tv screen isn’t attached to your treadmill, make sure they are aligned so that your head is facing straight forward. Turning your head or holding it at an angle for long periods of your workout may cause neck pain and will likely impact your form.
4. Don’t Forget to Warm Up!
Most athletes are tired of hearing this, but it cannot be stressed enough. An appropriate warm up will protect your muscles and joints.
Running in particular is already considered to be a high-impact workout, meaning that it causes stress to joints and muscles. Starting cold increases the risk of injury.
Warming up gradually increases the flow of blood to muscles and raises body temperature. This increases muscle elasticity, which is what helps prevents tears and strains in your muscles.
Warming up also reduces strain on your heart. You want your heart to get exercise too, but jumping straight into a workout will put unnecessary stress on it, and may actually reduce heart health over time. (https://fitathletic.com/5-reasons-warm-exercises-important/)
5. Consider Putting Your Treadmill Outside and get a Cover
Most Americans don’t get outside enough – vitamin D deficiency is increasing in the United States. Putting your Treadmill on your porch or patio can give you all the benefits of running outside, even if running in your neighborhood isn’t practical or possible.
Keeping your treadmill outside has other benefits as well: it can save space indoors and isolate the noise from your exercise.
If you decide to put your treadmill outside, you will need to protect the mechanical parts from the elements, including dust, debris, and moisture, which can cause corrosion over time.
US-based Equip Inc. manufactures tailored treadmill covers in both folding and non-folding styles in a variety of sizes, as well as covers for rowing machines, recumbent bikes, boxing bags and more. Equip covers are water, mold, mildew, and UV-resistant, providing a significant level of protection, and include a lockable cord at the bottom hem to keep the cover in place under windy conditions.