If you’ve secretly referred to the treadmill as the “dreadmill”, you’re not alone. After all, the gym staple isn’t known for being the most thrilling way to get your aerobic fix sorted. Even Susie Chan, a U.K-based runner who bagged the Guiness World Record for the longest time (12 hours, mind you) spent running on a treadmill admitted it’s a “horrible” activity.
However, not all of us have the good fortune of time to head to a scenic beach or running trail for a safe workout, and so the treadmill is often the only choice left. Yes we hear you groaning, what if we told you you could half your run, but still achieve the same results?
First, the bad news: If you’re looking to lose weight, being consistent will leave you running straight into a boredom-filled rut. That means, if you’re in the habit of hitting the same speeds and incline every single time, it’s going to a mind-numbing, often frustrating affair.
The good news? With just a few minor tweaks, your treadmill session can evolve from tedious to efficient — and even include toning up other muscles to boot. So stop side-eyeing the hamster wheel, and get cracking with these five useful hacks.
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Mentally, accomplishing 10km is easier than running for two hours on the treadmill, even if you end up completing a shorter distance. When you make distance the goal rather than time, you’re motivated to complete it faster. A timed run can be a drag since you’re only done until the clock says so.
It’s easy to slip into “autopilot” mode on the treadmill when your strides are set in stone, unless you manually change its settings. Running outdoors, however will force you to vary your pace and stride due to terrain changes, which will rev up your aerobic game, just like a HIIT session would. Stimulate outdoor conditions by adjusting the degree of incline, and we promise you’ll be working muscles you never knew you had.
As incredulous as it may seem, the treadmill is not exclusively reserved for your daily stroll or run. It’s also a great tool for other exercises, especially when you run into space constraints. Try moves like the crab walk (walking sideways while in a slight squat) or lunges, which will activate your core and get your heart rate up.
Besides killing your speed, holding the handrails during your workout compromises your calorie-burning goals because your legs won’t have to work as hard. Besides, swinging your arms during your run will tone your biceps, triceps and shoulders simultaneously.
This means no staring down at the calorie counter throughout your workout, nor at your feet as you run. Running with the right posture not only prevents injuries but also gives you a calorie-burning boost as you engage all the right muscles. Always land lightly on the balls of your feet instead of your heels, with your shoulders relaxed, arms bent, and your palms facing your body. Straightening your arms or landing hard on the belt are signals that you’re wasting energy unnecessarily.