An exercise treadmill workout simulates walking better than other exercise equipment. However, unless you follow certain guidelines, much of the benefit could be lost. Before we get into a discussion of those guidelines, let’s examine the benefits of walking.
Walking is a whole body exercise that works both your limbs and internal organs. It also improves blood circulation, breathing, and posture by burning calories, thus walking is one of the best, and easiest, weight management techniques.
Walking on a treadmill is actually walking with additional benefits, such as convenience and protection from bad weather. However, these benefits can be diminished by improper technique. Exercise treadmills come with handrails that help beginners from falling when speed is increased. Holding the handrails without letting go at all produces an unnatural, leaning posture. Erect walking promotes the correct posture, one that enhances your overall appearance and health.
Holding the treadmill handrails also reduces the total amount of work performed during your workout. Though easier may feel better, it is not what you want! Easier means fewer calories burned.
The best way to reduce your reliance on the hand rails is by simply reducing the speed of the treadmill until you reach a pace where you feel comfortable walking hands-free. With subsequent workouts you can gradually increase the speed again.
Another way to increase the effectiveness of your treadmill workouts is to increase the incline of the treadmill. When the belt is level, much of the work of moving forward is performed by the treadmill’s motor. When the incline is adjusted so that you are walking “uphill,” you make you steps more difficult, thereby performing a higher percentage of the required work. At higher speeds, this added effort can make up for the lack of “wind” resistance that makes making or running more difficult than the “movement” on a treadmill. Again, more work done means more calories burned. Experts suggest that adding an incline of just one percent to your exercise treadmill would yield benefits similar to walking outdoors.
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