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Maybe you hop onto your treadmill and do the same walking or running workout day after day. While the benefits of using a treadmill are widely known, it’s easy for your body to get accustomed to your daily activities–including your workout.
When you do the same workout every time, your body becomes more efficient. While that’s a great adaptation, it also means you’re burning less calories and your fitness level stalls. It also means you’re more likely to get overuse injuries because you’re using the same muscles, tendons, and ligaments all the time.
And it’s easy to get bored!
It’s essential to challenge yourself and your body to level up your fitness, torch calories, avoid overuse injuries and keep boredom at bay. Instead of the same workout on your treadmill, let’s look at the benefits of using the incline function on your machine.
What Are The Benefits Of Incline Treadmill Training?
The benefits of incline treadmill training are so numerous you’ll wonder why you hadn’t put that incline button to use sooner. Without adding any time to your workouts, you can speed toward your fitness goals more efficiently and without adding extra stress to your joints. These are a few of the reasons why we love using incline treadmills.
You’ll find these 6 benefits of incline treadmill training:
1. Increase Cardiovascular Fitness
2. Targeted Muscle Growth
3. Helps Burn Fat
4. Increases All-around Stamina
5. Helps Reduce the Chance of Injuries
6. Prepares Your Body for Realistic Terrain
Increases Cardiovascular Fitness With Incline Training
If you’re using a treadmill regularly, you already know how important your cardiovascular health is. Getting your heart rate up and maintaining it at 60-80 percent of your maximum hr is the way to get the most out of your time pounding the pavement or burning up that belt.
Adding some incline to your time on the treadmill will get you to that targeted heart rate quicker and help you maintain it throughout your workout. So you’ve essentially increased your workload without speeding up the treadmill or adding time to your workout that you might not have. Great cardio without the need to run.
Targeted Muscle Growth
If your cardio regime finds you walking or running on flat treadmills or surfaces, you’re only training some of your leg muscles. The flat surfaces will activate the muscles in the front of your legs much more than your rear.
By adding some incline to your cardio, you’ll immediately feel your glutes, hamstrings and calves being recruited to help move you along. It won’t take long walking or running up an incline to feel them engage and begin to burn. Using your “rear” muscles will strengthen them, help prevent injuries, strengthen your core, improve posture, and boost your all-around athletic performance.
Your lower leg muscles will also benefit from cardio on an incline. Your calves and shins will be activated, improving their strength and stamina as well.
Incline Treadmill Training Helps Burn Fat
You’re probably aware that low-speed cardio workouts will burn fat, so it probably would come as no surprise to hear that incline walking and running does that and more. Spending time on your treadmill at a 2% incline or more burns more calories than that same amount of time spent on a flat level. At slow speeds, your body will target your body’s fat for fuel, and more so while at an incline.
Studies have shown that walking at a slow speed of 3 mph while at a steep incline (anything over 12%) can burn 70% more fat than running for that same amount of time at no incline.
Increase All-Around Stamina
So we see that incline walking and running is excellent for the stamina of your leg muscles, but positive impacts are also made to other vital areas of the body. Some of these areas you might be able to guess, while others might not come to mind right away.
You may have guessed the lungs as one area impacted greatly, and you’d be correct. Your lungs will be required to work much harder on an incline. This hard work will make your lungs and diaphragm stronger and more conditioned. This results in a lower resting heart rate. Plus, you’ll find yourself less out of breath performing activities.
One organ which benefits from inclined cardio that you may not have guessed is the brain. This is where the term “mental toughness” comes into play. When you’re working hard and pushing yourself through the discomfort, you’re essentially teaching your brain that this type of activity is doable.
Your brain will always advise you to go easy and avoid intensity. Your brain is in the business of keeping you safe. You need to rewire it to understand what you are truly capable of and what is the new “safe.” Your brain will shortly become accustomed to your new, higher intensity.
Your heart is the last–and indeed the most–vital organ which will benefit from inclined cardio. Building a stronger heart is vital since it’s the most important muscle in the body. A stronger heart is a fantastic benefit. The other is the lowering of your blood pressure.
A stronger heart moves the blood through your body more more efficiently. Impressing your doctor with lower blood pressure and resting heart rate is just the icing on the cake.
Helps Reduce the Chance of Injuries
Thanks to technological advances, designs for most of today’s treadmills put impact absorption as a priority. Asphalt, concrete, and older treadmills didn’t do our joints any favors. But thankfully that has changed.
Your hips and knees have less chance of injury with modern treadmills, making incline workouts even more joint-friendly. When you set the incline and tear into it, you’re adding intensity with less stress. The angle will also stretch your Achilles tendons which is excellent for plantar fasciitis and other foot problems. Increase your health and decrease those injuries!
Prepares Your Body for Real-World Terrain
We aren’t living in the world of WALL-E–escalators and moving sidewalks aren’t everywhere just yet. It’s rare to go through a day without scaling some stairs, hopping up and down curbs, or tackling hills.
So when you train, the best use of your time is tailoring your workout to simulate the obstacles (inclines) you’d typically encounter daily. Better yet, train for even more significant obstacles, and your daily activity will seem more manageable than ever.
Walking or running on flat ground or the treadmill will indeed burn calories, but add the intensity and challenge of an incline and see your fitness soar!