Treadmills Can Do More Than You Think!
Treadmills come with so many features these days that you could miss out on all their uses without a full explanation of how they work. This article give an overview of what can be done maximize the your results of your treadmill workouts.
Most treadmills enable you to automatically increase the incline of the tread belt while you are running on it by controls on the console. Other machines must be adjusted while you are off the treadmill. Increasing the angle of the incline has two effects. First, it increases the difficulty of your walking or running. Running uphill is harder so some runners adjust the incline to simulate running uphill. The more common reason people increase the incline angle is that it tends to work the quadriceps and buttocks muscles while using the calf muscles less.
Virtually all motorized treadmills have a speed adjustment. Though a lot of people just set the speed to one that's comfortable and leave it there, a better way is to adjust the speed to fit your objective. The conventional advice is to run steady and long for weight loss and fast, short, and hard for cardiovascular health. Many treadmills have programs that allow you to switch between these two choices. However, recent research has shown the effectiveness of interval training for both weight loss and cardiovascular health. Interval training alternates sprinting with an easier pace. Newer treadmills contain programs that will guide you through such a workout. It is almost as easy just to set the treadmill on manual and to alternate thirty second sprints with two minute jogs.
Cushioning Adjustment -
While most commercial treadmills allow you to adjust the best cushioning while running on the machine, most home treadmills require you to do this while off the treadmill. If you adjust it too stiff, you won't get the maximum protection for your joints. If you adjust it too soft, it can feel more difficult to run, sort of like running on soft sand.
Distance Covered -
Virtually all treadmills will track the distance you've "travelled." That can be useful for those who are trying to increase the distance they can go.
Time Elapsed -
For most people, time elapsed is more important that distance covered. For both weight loss and cardiovascular health, it appears that it is the length of time your heart rate is elevated that is the most direct way of producing healthful effects in the body. Of course, the greater the distance you run, the more time it will take you. Either way you keep track of your progress works.
Let's not forget your heart rate. For most people, this is the most obvious effect their workout has. Heart rate monitors are usually built in to the metal contacts in the grips. The get a measurement, you grip the handrail for a about 20 seconds. Target heart rates for different objectives are often in the treadmill's user's manual. Sometimes they are programmed into the treadmill itself.
Calories Burned -
For many treadmill users, this is the real goal! Treadmill manufacturers know this so they have provided users with ways to see their progress directly. However, the way calories burned is estimated is based on all of the above factors. It is a rough estimation and useful for those who like to concentrate on calories. However, many trainees find that by concentrating on the other factors, and on the running itself, they are much more successful. If you don’t get involved in the physical process, you are unlikely to enjoy it and stick with it.
Software Programs -
The real progress in treadmills in recent years has been in the built-in workout programs. Not only can you customize your workout to suit your needs, the programs can even keep track of your previous results. You can compete with yourself, as well as imaginary and computer-provided competitors.
It's important not to get hung up on these basic features of a treadmill. What separates the successful workout program from an unsuccessful one has a lot more to do the with the user than the treadmill.
By Robert Braun