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Last Updated: August 26, 2021
If we’re honest, running or walking on a treadmill can be tedious. No matter what music you’re listening to or TV show you’ve got fired up, it’s easy to dread getting on that treadmill even one more time.
Many new runners, especially, ask themselves: Is this all there is?
If that’s you, it’s time to inject some life into your runs! Since cardiovascular health is so important, making your walks or runs more appealing is crucial.
Here are five fun workouts from Treadmill Review Guru for new runners–or seasoned vets too.
Interval Incline Training
To spice up your workout, try challenging your mind and body to level up your fitness. And with a treadmill involved, you can level up by increasing your incline and bringing a whole new feel to your workouts.
Besides freshening up your runs, incline training has the following benefits:
- Increases cardiovascular fitness vs. running on flat ground
- Targeted muscle growth, especially in the back of the legs, glutes, and calves
- Helps burn fat–walking at just a 2% incline burns many more calories vs. 0%
- Increases all-around stamina
- It helps reduce the chance of injuries by adding intensity without adding stress
- Prepares your body for real-life terrain
Start with a 5-minute warm-up. After your body is thoroughly warmed up, put the treadmill on a slight incline of 1-3% to get the muscles in the back of your legs ready. Walk or run at this incline for 2 or 3 more minutes.
When you feel ready, increase the incline by .5 or 1% every minute. Keep increasing the incline until it’s difficult to talk (but before you’re entirely breathless). Stay at this pace for at least 5 minutes, and then start decreasing the incline as you head towards your cool down.
Not too many things are more surprising than randomness. Following the pre-programmed routine on your treadmill gets stale, so throwing some randomness into your pace can be fun. It keeps you on your toes, and in this case, keeps you moving toward your fitness goals.
All it takes is a little preparation. Grab some index cards or scrap pieces of paper and label each with a different speed or treadmill action. Use words like Sprint, Jog, Walk, 10% Incline, Lower 2 levels, Up 1 level, and so on. Be creative. You’ll find there are a lot of commands you can write on these cards.
Once you’ve got a nice little stack of commands ready, mix them up well and have them handy, perhaps in your water bottle holder. Warm-up for 5 minutes and then get started. Depending on which card you pulled last, you can choose a new card at one to three-minute intervals.
When you’ve had enough surprises for one treadmill workout, lower your incline and reduce your speed. A 5-minute cooldown, and then you’re off to the rest of your day. Save those cards for another day when you need to spice things up a bit.
Whole Body Workout
Running might be your favorite type of workout, but it’s critical to your body composition to keep your whole body strong. Here is a secret activity that world-class bodybuilders use when they need a little “extra.”
- Warm-up on the treadmill for 5 minutes.
- Hop off and do 15 pushups.
- Get back on and sprint or run for 1 minute, then walk for 2 minutes.
- Hop off and do a set of 15 crunches.
- Repeat treadmill sprint/walking routine.
- Hop off and do 15 jump squats.
- Repeat treadmill routine
This is a strenuous workout for a new exerciser. So do one round and then walk for the rest of your time. After two weeks, add another round in. Work up to 2-4 total rounds.
If your treadmill has cable piped into it or if you have a tablet or smartphone handy, you can try this fun change of pace. The best part is you get to choose the show. So whether you choose The Andy Griffith Show, Seinfeld, or Modern Family, you’ll have half of this workout ready.
Most 30 minute sitcoms have 22 minutes of showtime. The other 8 minutes are eaten up by intermittent commercials. These commercial breaks provide a built-in opportunity for a literal change of pace.
During the show, walk or jog at a nice steady pace, and when the commercials start, increase your speed to a jog or run. Changing your incline will also add some fitness bolstering difficulty.
You can try increasing your speed each break until the end of the show, or just increase during the breaks and back to a leisurely pace when the show returns. That’s 22 minutes of steady-state cardio and 8 minutes of faster intervals.
When your show is done, so is your workout!
If you’ve purchased a treadmill recently, it likely came with pre-programmed workouts onboard. Higher-end treadmills come with Wi-Fi and have streaming capabilities, which lend themselves to interactive fitness with instructors and countless exercises. However, not all treadmills have this option, and not everyone can afford it.
So for the budget-conscious, those onboard workouts can still do the trick of keeping your activities varied and fun.
Pick a workout at random and have at it. Standard onboard workouts found on almost all machines are hills, interval training, inclines, and fat burning. Keep track of the ones you like best and circle back once you’ve tried them all. You can add intensity to most workouts by increasing the resistance manually.
Trying something new is a sure way to keep it fresh and exciting.