Depending on where you live the winter months can present one more obstacle that derails your fitness goals. Leaving the comfy couch can already feel tough, but leaving even a lumpy couch can be a challenge when the weather is brutally cold.
Keep your fitness plan on track by including regular gym and treadmill workout days. Among the benefits of treadmill exercise is the win-win you get. Using a treadmill allows you to workout while you engage in a favorite American pastime – watching television.
Try adding one of these treadmill workouts to your fitness routine. Although they are great for winter they can help you keep in shape all year round.
The treadmill is perfect for intervals because it challenges you by forcing you to keep pace with the belt. Intervals also help you build endurance and burn more fat by alternating the intensity of your workout. There are a few ways to do intervals. Here are two of the easiest – use the manual setting so that you can adjust the speed and incline of your workout at intervals that work best for your current fitness level, weekly fitness goal or even just your mood or energy level for the day. For example, you might begin by walking 2mph for 3 minutes at a 3% incline and work up a sweat with a 10 minute run at 4mph before dropping down to 3mph for 1 minute and then returning again to 4 mph for 10 minutes (alternate between 4 and 3, or even 2 mph for the duration of your workout). Another alternative is to allow the treadmill to guide you along a pre-programmed interval workout. If you choose this option be sure that you can easily locate the emergency stop button if the belt is going too fast or your body is giving you clues that you are not yet ready for the set pace. Exercise should be not be painful or dangerous.
Inclines offer a number of benefits. For example, they help you build stamina as well as tone your glutes. Also, if you have knee trouble, moving uphill is often easier than moving downhill. The great thing about treadmills is the convenience they offer when you want to do inclines. Rather than drive around looking for inclines in your neighborhood, you can push a button and get exactly the lift you need. Try beginning with a slight incline and build by one percent or one-half percent every five minutes until you reach the desired incline. Be sure to hold on to the hand rails if you feel unsteady on your feet and do not attempt to run until you are on sure footing.
Aim for at least 40 minutes. Take 5 minutes to warm up before moving to a speed that gets you into your moderate to vigorous heart rate zone. This is generally considered to be at least 70% of your target heart rate. The most commonly used formula for determining target heart rate is to take the number 220 and subtract your age. The resulting number is your target heart rate.
Aim for at least 30 minutes plus warm up and cool down time. Your heart rate should reach at least 50% of its target rate. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Add in some inclines and even a few periods of jogging if you are typically a walker. Keep an eye on the heart rate monitor, and pay attention to your breathing, to be sure you aren’t too far from your target rate.
A final note…
It is a good idea to enter your age and weight into the treadmill so you can get some feedback on your efforts. Just be mindful that the feedback is a gauge of how you are doing and not an absolutely accurate account of heart rate or calories burned.