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Working Out on Treadmills

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Did you know that treadmills are the most popular home exercise machines for aerobic fitness?

Working Out on Treadmills

Treadmills simulate real life using the authentic movements of walking, running, or jogging. Studies have indicated that the use of a treadmill for an aerobic effect results in the burning of more calories than any other indoor exercise equipment. Generally, motorized machines are prefered.

It's important to research the different types of machines before you buy so that your treadmill does not end up as a clothes rack.

Non-Motorized Treadmills

Non-motorized treadmills are suitable for walking but don't withstand the more vigorous movements of jogging or running. If you plan to jog or run, you'll need a more stable version with a relatively quiet motor. Also, an emergency shutoff is absolutely necessary for a motorized machine.

Treadmills range in price from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. The basic treadmill includes an electronic display that shows the speed, elapsed time, distance traveled, and the calories burned. The belt is at least 15 inches wide and 50 inches long. The incline has a 10 percent grade that can be adjusted during exercise. The motor allows for speeds of at least 8 to 10 miles per hour.

Treadmill Workouts

When beginning an aerobic program using a treadmill, start slowly. A warm-up speed of approximately 1-1/2 to 2 miles per hour for 5 to 10 minutes is necessary.

Walking Speed

A very brisk walking speed is approximately 4 miles per hour for most people. This could also be considered a slow jog. A walking speed of 3.5 miles per hour would be a brisk walking speed. An article published on Princeton.edu states the average walking speed of a human is 3.1 mph. However, Walking speed can vary depending on several factors.

Walking Speed Factors

  • Height and weight.
  • Age.
  • Terrain or walking surface.
  • Walking effort such as holding dumbells.
  • Current fitness level.

Remember, a treadmill is an incredibly effective piece of exercise equipment. Remember to check your pulse at regular intervals and to stay within your target heart range.

Start your program with 0 percent incline and gradually increase the incline 3 to 5 percent every 10 days. Incline work will increase your aerobic fitness and the amount of caloric burn. For speed, if you have been inactive for some time, start very slowly and work your way up. The higher numbers above can feel very fast to a new exerciser! A 30 to 40 minute walk on a treadmill at 1.5 to 2.5 miles an hour is still a good workout. You'll still work up a sweat and burn fat.

Make your walks comfortable. In other words, walk at a speed you find enjoyable and comfortable. You can slowly increase as you become more fit.

Using the Incline for Weight Loss

For weight loss, this is a definite benefit. Also, depending on your weight, an increase of 3 to 5 percent incline is the same as increasing your speed by one-half mile. Remember to always include a cool-down period at the end of your high-intensity walk, run, or jog. Lower the intensity and the incline, and walk for at least five minutes.

Also include some stretching exercises for the calves and hamstring muscles.