If the weather is frightful, you may find a treadmill delightful -- and not just at Christmas time. A treadmill provides a good walking option if it’s chilly, rainy, windy or if your favorite walking trail is still muddy from yesterday’s downpour. But treadmills can also be boring as you put one foot in front of the other while you stare at a wall, or at the machine’s readout. If you use a treadmill regularly, there are ways to make the experience more enjoyable.
Put your treadmill in front of an entertainment system. If you have a treadmill in your basement, for example, put a TV in front of your machine. Hook up the TV to a DVD player or a DVR system to add to your video menu. Mix in a sound system to listen to some tunes, or a recorded book while you do your cardio workout. Additionally, many health clubs position their treadmills in front of large-screen TVs, or place small monitors on each machine. Look for these features if you’re shopping for an exercise facility.
Carry your entertainment with you. A variety of gadgets will fit on top of a treadmill, including e-readers, tablets, smartphones and MP3 players. Bring your device and a pair of headphones to keep you entertained at home or at your club.
Read a book while you’re walking. If you prefer old-fashioned books to e-readers, many clubs have book holders that fit on top of the treadmill, so you can read and pump your arms at the same time.
Work out with a partner. If you’re looking for a more social experience, meet a friend at your health club and work out side by side. Conversation may be difficult, depending on how hard you’re working, but it’s still nice to have company while you’re striding away.
Vary your speed and the treadmill’s incline throughout your workout. Many treadmills come with several pre-programmed settings, offering fat-burning workouts, intervals or other patterns. Raising and lowering your workout’s intensity, or alternating jogging with walking, can help break up the monotony of a treadmill session.
Walk backward for at least part of your session. This is one area in which the treadmill is superior to an outdoor walk, since you won’t bump into anything when you’re walking backward on a treadmill.
- Begin at a slow speed if you walk backward. You can be seriously injured if you fall on a moving treadmill.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.