outdoor runners the idea of pounding a treadmill means trading daylight for
drudgery but as the air chills, fitness experts say treadmill classes can hone
efficiency and form and add a dash of glamour to indoor running.
a little snobbery about running on a treadmill," said David Siik, a track
and field sprinter turned treadmill class fitness instructor at Equinox, the
upscale chain of fitness centres.
racers are a little ashamed of running indoors." Siik, who is now based in
Los Angeles, turned reluctantly to treadmill running after a post-college stint
in New York City. "I was sick of running into cars trying to get to Central
Park," he explained, "and New York in January is not always the
friendliest place to run."
the humble treadmill has him hooked. "I still really enjoy running outside,
but there is nothing better than the ability to calculate and monitor your
goals on a treadmill," he said. "You're running on this computer."
Energy of a spin class
33, believes too many people get on the treadmill without knowing what to
do."They hit 'on' and then they're clueless," said Siik, who tries to
bring the energy of a spin class to his 45-minute treadmill workout class,
which includes three runs, each progressively harder, after an initial warm-up.
The treadmill is by far the most popular
cardio machine, accounting for 58% of home fitness sales in 2012, according to
the National Sporting Goods Association, a percentage that has stayed
consistent over the past years. The elliptical trainer, at 8%, is a distant
Melanie Douglass, a Utah-based dietician and
trainer with ICON Health and Fitness, whose products include cardio equipment,
has also taught classes on the treadmill, which she calls her preferred piece
of equipment. "People always work more efficiently (on the treadmill),
because the motor and belt help you maintain a consistent pace," said
Challenge your body
She said people err when they go too slow, or
do the same thing day after day. "Exercise is not supposed to be
comfortable," she explained. "You have to challenge your
body." Dr Michele Olson, professor of exercise physiology at Auburn
University at Montgomery in Alabama, said besides teaching proper running and
walking form, classes help the exerciser learn "the bells and
whistles" of the modern machine.
And unlike outdoor running, training on a
treadmill ensures you are running at your intended pace, she said. Simply
varying the grade, or incline, every minute will push up the calorie burning.
But that's just the beginning. "We've
researched and studied walking and running on treadmills in all
directions," Olson said.
"You burn more calories moving sideways
and backwards, particularly at walking speeds." She even likes to see
people with their feet on the floor behind the treadmill walking on it with
a set of push-ups, treadmill walk with your hands," she suggests.
"Your shoulder girdle will become a beast providing you with both upper
body strength and endurance in those under-aerobically used upper body muscles.
said using a treadmill is the best 30 to 45 minutes of cardio anyone can get
inside a gym. "The beautiful thing about a treadmill is that it will never
lie to you. It's a brutally honest machine," he added.