The Beginner's Guide to Treadmills
Getting into exercising can be pretty difficult when it's been a while, and it's even more difficult figuring out where to start! A good way is to take a look at your local gym and see what kind of equipment they have. From there you can decide whether to join the gym, or get some of the equipment for yourself and use it at home. Regardless of what you decide, a must-have when it comes to gym equipment is the treadmill.
A treadmill is essentially just a machine that lets you run in place, but the benefits of it are enormous. Treadmills provide good cardio workouts, are customizable to your needs, and are a safe way to begin exercising. Either for the first time or to get back into the groove! But if you're a beginner, you need to know a little more about treadmills before diving in. I've got you covered with a great beginner's guide to treadmills.
Types of Treadmills
There are a number of treadmills on the market, from simple models, through to those with more complicated features. You could start with a basic, old-school treadmill, but I would recommend an electric treadmill because it has so many features. Automatic workouts, emergency stop systems, timers and vital signs tracking to ensure your safety are common features of some of the higher quality treadmills on today's market.
Automatic Versus Manual Workouts
Here I'd like to provide a bit of an explanation about manual versus automatic workouts. Some treadmills will have pre-planned workouts that you can choose from some that are geared toward beginners, some that are geared toward endurance training, and some that are geared toward pushing your limits and strength training. Some treadmills also offer the option to enter in details like your height and weight in order for them to make a customized workout that may push you a bit, but certainly not cause you to go past your limits.
On the other hand, you can do a manual workout. You choose your own speed, how long the workout is, and, on some models, even the steepness of the incline! But this requires knowing your body and your limits already. If you do, go for it! If you don't, it might be better to start with an automatic beginner's workout on the treadmill.
How to Run on a Treadmill for Beginners
You would think a treadmill is just turn on and go, right? That might have been true in the past, but in the age of technology, even treadmills have become more advanced. There are automatic and manual training regimes that I will be discussing later, but the important thing to learn is this: you don't start out running! To start using a treadmill, you walk, then you increase the speed so that you walk faster, then jog, then finally you run.
And you can't just stop running immediately either! (Unless there is an emergency.) You have to do the reverse of what you did to get started. Go from running to jogging, to walking fast, to walking at a normal pace, and then finally stop. This not only keeps you from getting overwhelmed when using your treadmill, but it's the best way to build up endurance without hurting yourself by pushing yourself too far, too soon. No matter what treadmill you decide to use, it's important to remember this general style of running on a treadmill.
Beginner Treadmill Workout
While I do use a treadmill, I can't say I'm an expert on training regimens. I can, however, tell you what I've learned and what works for me when it comes to a good beginner workout.
If your treadmill has an automatic setting, go ahead and enter in details like your height and weight and let the treadmill decide the best workout for you.The technology is designed to push you a bit, but not past your limits, based on things like your height and weight. If that ends up being too tough for you, you can always switch to a lower workout setting or choose one of the automated workouts that don't involve your specific measurements.
If your treadmill doesn't have an automatic option, or you just choose to use the manual option regardless, I would suggest you use the running technique discussed above to build your own workout.
If you don't plan to do any other cardio, stay on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and start out slow, building your way up to a run, and then work your way back down to a walk for a few minutes for a cooldown before you finish the workout. This depends largely on your own abilities. Maybe you can jog longer than you can run, so plan that into the 30-minute timeframe! Just be sure to do some form of cooldown at the end of or after your workout to keep your muscles from getting too tense.
Tips and Tricks For Making the Most of Your Time on a Treadmill
Here are a few tips and tricks to make your treadmill workout more interesting!
For treadmills that can change the incline's steepness, doing so can actually increase the difficulty of your workout, even if you run less and walk or jog more!
Many newer models of treadmills have an emergency stop. A clip you can attach to your clothing that, when pulled too far back, stops the treadmill immediately. Even if you think you don't need it, use it, because you never know when you could trip or fall too far behind on a workout.
Once you've gotten the hang of using a treadmill, I challenge you to challenge yourself! Increase the steepness and speed one level above your normal settings and see how well you do! It's all a work in progress, but challenging yourself as you go can make you stronger!
Now that you know everything I can tell you from my experience on the treadmill, it's time to find your perfect workout! Whether this means an automatic treadmill, a manual workout, or no treadmill at all, just by reading this article you've started on your way to a healthier you!