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Updated 09 November 2015

5 ways to get the most out of a treadmill workout

Here's how to beat treadmill boredom and get fit faster while you’re at it.

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Whether you’re new to the gym and trying to figure out the many different settings on a treadmill for the first time, or you’re a seasoned treadmiller looking to mix it up a bit, these five tips will spice up any treadmill workout.

1. Use a slight incline.

Setting the treadmill to an incline can not only help you torch calories, but it can give you a fantastic workout. Even if you’re just doing an easy run, set the incline to 1% to 2% as this can better simulate outdoor running. However, there are some tips for running on an incline:

- Don’t go higher than 7% as this puts strain on your back, hips and lower legs

- Vary between running a couple of minutes with an incline and running a couple of minutes without an incline, or include some short ‘hill’ intervals.

2. Get your posture right.

It’s easy to get lazy when you’re on a treadmill, but maintaining good form is vital if you want to get the most out of the time you’re spending on the treadmill.

Firstly avoid holding onto the handrails. Run as you would outside and practice proper form by keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle.

Avoid the temptation to lean forward or to look down at the treadmill buttons and keep your body upright.

Pay attention to your stride and keep it quick and short with a mid-foot strike to soften the impact. Work on your stride count by counting how many times one foot hits the belt in a minute and then work on improving it.

3. Try interval training.

Running at a constant pace for a long time on the treadmill can be very. And whether your end goal is to lose weight or get fitter, this can be greatly boosted by introducing interval training.

Don’t overcomplicate things either, even just adding in three sets of fast running/sprints for one minute and easy running for two minutes is sufficient.

4. Add in some strength training.

Incorporate some strength training into your treadmill time for a more rounded workout. For example begin with a 10 minute warm-up easy run then increase your speed to a challenging level and run for 2 minutes. Then slow down the treadmill and do walking lunges for 1 minute. Throw in some push-ups and squats and you will soon see the benefits this has on your running too.

5. Run to your own beat.

Put in some earphones and pump up some of your favourite upbeat tunes and do your workout according to the song. Let your playlist be your guide – do an easy run during a slow tempo and then pick it up for the faster beats.

Set your music player to play a nice mix of songs and run for as many as you feel you can, making sure to vary your speed and the incline so no two songs get the same workout.

 Whichever way you choose to amp up your treadmill workouts however, make sure to make time for at least a 5 minute cool-down walk at an easy pace to bring your heart rate back down and to prevent you feeling dizzy when you step off the treadmill.

Read more:

Overcoming exercise excuses

5 exercises you could be doing wrong

Top 10 apps and gadgets for fitness junkies

Sources: About running; Runners Academy

 
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