A treadmill looks deceptively innocent when not in use. But the moment you turn it on and get on it, you’re burning calories, building lean muscle and helping to slim and tone your legs. It doesn’t matter if you make it one mile in an hour or run a half marathon, make a treadmill work for you. You’ll see results quickly, and you can change your approach and try new workout routines to keep from getting bored.
Toning isn’t rocket science. To tone, you need to burn more calories than you consume and increase your activity level. Although you can’t spot tone areas of your body, you can concentrate efforts around certain areas of your body. Using a treadmill works muscles in your legs, thighs, hips and stomach. It improves your overall health and boosts your heart rate. As you lose weight and burn body fat, you’ll grow your lean muscle, which helps tone your body.
Toning While Treadmilling
Walking, jogging and running on a treadmill will help slim and tone your legs, but you can do other activities on a treadmill that work specific body parts harder than others, such as sidestepping, which works your inner and outer thighs. With the treadmill on, probably at a pace slower than you normally use, turn sideways, take a step with your right leg toward the front of the treadmill and then take a step with your left leg in the same direction. Do the same on the other side of your body. Challenge yourself by increasing the speed of the treadmill.
Think you can't commit to using a treadmill every day? With interval training, you can get the same, if not better, results you’d get walking on a treadmill every day in a shorter amount of time. Instead of using a treadmill at the same speed for the duration of your workout, switch it up. Walk, jog or run for three minutes, then increase the speed so that you have to go faster. Go at this increased pace for three minutes, then challenge yourself even more by pushing a little harder for one minute. At the end of that minute, go back to your starting pace and start again. Your body burns more calories and fat doing intervals, because your body has little time to rest.
Increase Workout Benefits
You can increase the challenge of walking, jogging or running on a treadmill by increasing your incline, which will raise the treadmill at a preset angle to the ground. The higher the incline, the more your legs have to work to keep up with your speed. Most treadmills go as high as a 15 percent incline, which is like walking up a steep slope. You’ll burn more calories, likely boost your metabolism and increase the number of calories your body burns even when not working out, which will help you lose and keep off weight.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.