Treadmills are a staple at most gyms and in many homes across the country. While the exercises you can do on a treadmill are limited to walking or running on level ground or at an incline, you can make progress toward getting fit by using these machines. Depending on your personal goals, treadmill exercise may be a major aspect of your workout routine, or it may be a supplemental exercise.
Features and Settings
Most common treadmill models feature speed control, timers and incline settings for you to monitor your workout routine. If you're trying to decide on a treadmill model for your home, find one with an incline setting and consider paying more for one with preset hill-climbing routines. Walking on level ground isn't going to activate your legs to the same degree as walking on an incline, so if you want to build muscle as you burn calories, use the machine to its full potential.
According to "Fitness Magazine," you can consistently burn 500 calories in an hour by using a treadmill properly. Change up your pace during the hour-long run, warming up for 10 minutes, sprinting for 10 minutes, then alternating between a moderate jog and a more intense run at 10-minute intervals. Walking alone isn't going to burn a significant amount of calories.
In addition to burning calories, training with a treadmill has other physical benefits, including increased cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance in your lower body and muscular gains in your legs when running at an incline. The American Council on Exercise recommends interval training -- varying your intensity from moderate to intense -- for best results. Changing between aerobic conditioning and anaerobic conditioning allows you to lose weight and process lactic acid more efficiently.
Treadmills can help you trim your waistline, get rid of excess body fat, increase your endurance and build some muscle -- but running alone might not be enough to get you as fit as you'd like. Supplement your treadmill routine by doing resistance training, sports and by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet to reach your fitness goals and lead an enriched lifestyle.
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.