Tackling another workout on the treadmill may make you feel a bit like a mouse running on a wheel, but this common piece of equipment offers such a variety of benefits that it is tough to ignore. Run, walk or jog, it doesn’t matter. The treadmill can help you burn calories, build speed and endurance and even improve your sex life. Who said that working out wasn’t fun?
When you run, you primarily target your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles, but your abdominal muscles are also used to help maintain posture and to assist with the slight rotation of your spine. If you do not jog regularly, focus on building a solid foundation first. You should be able to run 30 minutes without stopping within eight weeks of training, according to the "Runner's World" website. Switch between walking and jogging intervals to build the foundation. With each workout, try to jog a little longer than the time before. Once you can run continuously for 30 minutes, you have the appropriate foundation to tackle speed intervals and add the incline. But be aware that running is a high-impact exercise that can lead to discomfort in your joints. If you have knee or ankle issues, running may worsen the problem. If this is the case, you may want to stick to brisk walking on the treadmill to minimize the impact.
Running burns loads of calories, so if you are looking to shed a few of those pesky pounds, start adding the treadmill to your fitness routine. You burn about 100 calories per mile that you run, according to the “Runner’s World” website, but the benefits don’t end there. With one out of every three runs, try to rev up the intensity of your workout to a vigorous level. Not only will this help you burn more calories while running, but, compared with a moderate-effort run, it will keep the burn going longer after your workout.
To run fast, you need to get going quickly. By improving your acceleration, you can reach your maximum speed faster than other runners, helping you get ahead of your competition in your next road race. By utilizing the incline feature on a treadmill, research published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” in 2007 indicates that you can improve your overall sprint-start speed. The participants performed workouts with an incline on the treadmill two times a week for six weeks.
As you pound away the miles on the treadmill, you are burning hundreds of calories, but you are also providing your body with several other health benefits. Just 30 minutes a day, three days a week, on the treadmill leads to improved sleep habits, better endurance, increased interest in sex, increased energy and stamina and reduced cholesterol levels, according to a report in "The Primary Care Companion to the The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry." Running strengthens your heart and lungs, but it also reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering your blood pressure and improving your cholesterol levels. To achieve all these benefits, you need to achieve a brisk walking pace on the treadmill. And don’t worry if you can’t do 30 minutes all at once; three 10-minute walks in a day have shown to have the same benefits as one continuous workout, according to the study in the "The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry."
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Predictors Of Sprint Start Speed: The Effects Of Resistive Ground-Based Vs. Inclined Treadmill Training
- National Center for Biotechnical Information: The Primary Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry -- Exercise for Mental Health
- Spry Feet: Muscles Used When Running
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity and Health
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Types of Physical Activity
- Boston.Com: Health Answers: Are High-Impact Activities Like Running Really Bad For The Knees?
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.