When it comes to exercise equipment, the treadmill doesn't always get a lot of respect. It's not exactly new and exciting and, let's face it -- jogging outside is basically free. But don't make the mistake of discounting the treadmill as a viable way to amp up your workouts. Come rain or sun, a treadmill might be worth the investment, even if you do love to lace up your runners and pound the pavement.
Rain or Shine
One of the main benefits of jogging on a treadmill is that you can do it no matter what the weather. You'd be hard-pressed to find the rogue jogger who bounces out of bed, happy to go for a run in freezing temps or pouring rain. Enter the treadmill as a way to keep up with your training no matter what the thermometer says.
Just because you're running indoors doesn't mean you miss out on the variety of an outdoor jog. Most treadmills offer many different programs, speeds and inclines to let you change up your workout. That way, you and your body don't get bored form the same workout over and over again -- see ya, plateau!
If you're prone to jogging injuries, running on uneven surfaces could make you susceptible to strain and tears if you roll your ankle or lose your balance. The treadmill allows you to jog on a perfectly even surface, which means you don't have to worry about sidewalk cracks, bumps and roots that could leave you sprawled out on the ground.
Some exercise equipment is clearly designed for the workout aficionado. Great Aunt Ethel probably isn't going to use a lat pulldown machine or Pilates reformer. But the treadmill works for joggers of all speeds and levels, thanks to the settings that allow you to adjust speed and difficulty, making it an ideal piece of equipment for different types of joggers.
Run sans treadmill and you might not know where your heart rate is, how many calories you've burned and how long you've been jogging. Jog on a treadmill and the various accessories, timers and readings can give you all of that information, which is ideal if you're trying to reach a certain goal.
When you're training for a marathon or to improve your speed, the treadmill removes some of the variables to make sure you have consistency in your training. For instance, if you were running outdoors, you'd have to take into consideration temperature, wind resistance, traffic, incline and your route. On a treadmill, you can create a near-perfect training atmosphere where you control the variables and how fast you progress.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.