Running outdoors isn’t always an option, leaving many fitness enthusiasts resigned to hitting the treadmill – but running in place doesn’t have to be boring.
As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy, and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.
In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!
This week I’ll be sharing a few tips to help you make your time on the treadmill a little more fun.
Considering it’s easily the most often-used piece of exercise equipment – always fast to fill up at the gym and found in many a home gym, basement, or spare room – there are very few people who get excited about hopping on the treadmill. Plodding along on a conveyor belt is one of the least engaging workouts available to you, and boredom is inevitable.
Or is it?
You may be stuck walking, jogging, or running in place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. The treadmill only feels like some form of slow torture if you let it feel that way. How you choose to spice up your treadmill time depends on what you want out of your workout on that particular day.
If you’re an outdoor runner who is supplementing your usual miles with some treadmill time, either due to the weather or simply because the gym is more convenient some days, put the speed and incline settings to work for you. Periodically increasing or decreasing the incline and slowly nudging the speed up to challenge yourself over the course of your workout adds a little variety to your run.
Most treadmills have pre-programmed workouts that simulate distance runs, designed to have you cross that invisible finish line in a set amount of time. Pick one of these settings and let the treadmill guide your workout. You can also use a running app to add some fun to what can otherwise be a monotonous workout. Upbeat Workouts picks music out of your library with a tempo that matches your speed, while Zombies, Run! lets you play at surviving the undead while you walk, run, and jog your way through your miles, prompting you to pick up the pace at random to avoid being eaten.
If the plan is to squeeze in some light cardio, try listening to a podcast. Set a comfortable pace for yourself, and use your treadmill time to catch up on an episode or two of your favorite podcast as you walk or jog. By listening to something you know will grab and hold your attention, you won’t even notice the minutes ticking by while you jog in place. Not only will your workout go by much faster, you might actually enjoy being stuck inside – especially since that kind of distraction is dangerous when you’re out jogging in the real world. Why not take advantage of the fact that you don’t need to be hyper-alert and aware of your surrounding for a change?
If you happen to be on a treadmill at home, this is also a great opportunity to clear out your PVR. Just remember to bring the remote with you so you can skip through the commercials!
Finally, you can try adding weights and exercises into the mix. Something as easy as bicep curls with some 5 or 10 lb dumbbells or butt kicks can liven things up a little. Provided you use caution and keep an eye on your speed, there are a few more advanced exercises you could try, like jump squats or side shuffles. Anything that takes treadmill time from basic cardio to a targeted workout will help you enjoy yourself more, and let you get more out of the time and effort you’re putting in.
As with any fitness endeavor, how you go about approaching a treadmill workout will depend on you. You know what you hope to get out of a workout, and you know what options are available to you. Go ahead and change things up, and feel free to take advantage of the fact that the treadmill can offer you a low-impact workout on days when you just don’t feel like pushing yourself. You’ll still be getting up and moving, even if all you’re doing is speed walking while listening to a podcast.