You know spot reduction doesn't work, but if the only thing between you and feeling good about your body is your jelly belly, treadmill exercises just might help you. Achieving or maintaining a flat stomach requires reducing body fat and strengthening and toning your muscles. Treadmill exercise gives you a full-body workout, burns calories and speeds up your metabolism so you keep burning calories long after the workout is finished, melting that jelly right off your belly.
Warm-Up and Cool-Down
If you have not exercised for a year or more, or if you have health issues that can make cardio-style exercises unsafe for you, consult your physician before starting a treadmill exercise regimen. Spend five to 10 minutes bicycling or walking on a treadmill at a low intensity. After your workout, do both upper- and lower-body stretches to lengthen muscles and increase flexibility while allowing your body systems to return to a near-resting state.
Proper form increases the benefit of your workout and decreases the chance of injury. On the treadmill, lean slightly forward from the ankles, not the waist. Leaning backward or forward from the waist puts unnecessary stress on your back, hips, knees and ankles. Relax your shoulders and push your chest out slightly. Pull your belly button toward your backbone to tilt your pelvis forward. Keep your bent arms close to your body and allow them to swing naturally as you walk. This posture promotes muscle strengthening while you get a cardio workout.
Walking on a treadmill to the point that your heart rate is increased burns more calories than just going about your routine activities, but if you're serious about losing fat from your stomach, mix up your treadmill routine and add interval workouts. Use speed intervals of a two-minute duration sandwiched between rest periods of a one-minute duration. Begin with a moderate-intensity speed interval and work up to high- or maximum-intensity intervals. Add inclines to speed intervals for a super fat-burning workout. A 30- to 45-minute treadmill workout burns calories now and later, through the after-burn effect.
Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, is a measure of the increased oxygen consumption required to return the body to a resting state following exercise. According to Dr. Chantal A. Vella and Dr. Len Kravitz, depending upon the duration and intensity of your workout, it can take from 15 minutes to 48 hours to return to a pre-exercise state. These authors further report that intermittent workout bouts elicit a greater EPOC response than continuous exercise. Besides interval workouts, split-training is also effective for increasing EPOC. Split-training workouts consist of two to four 15- to 20-minute high-intensity workouts separated by at least five minutes and no more than six hours.
- Ask Dr. Len Kravitz: Exercise After-Burn: Research Update
- Harvard Health Publications: Walking: Your Steps to Health
- Treadmill Training for Runners; Rick Morris
- Fitness: The Fat-Burning Walking Workout Plan
- American Council on Exercise: What's the Best Piece of Cardio Equipment to Use?
- IDEA Health and Fitness Association: How to Burn Fat Faster and More Efficiently
For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.