Walking and jogging are some of the best forms of exercise for most of us. You can do it almost anywhere, you can adapt it to any skill level, and it won’t cost you money other than a good pair of shoes. But sometimes you can’t get outside, and you need to use a treadmill instead. We know that treadmill walking (or jogging) doesn’t quite burn the same number of calories, due to the slight “assistance” the machine gives you. But with a few small adjustments you can increase your workout difficulty and bump up your calorie burn. Just use the incline setting!
To match natural, flat outdoor walking conditions, you should set the incline to 1.0 anyway. Using a completely flat treadmill actually simulates walking downhill.
So, begin your workout on the 1.0 setting as you warm up (about five minutes). Then, you can begin adjusting the incline to challenge yourself and increase your calorie burn. An incline of 2.0 to 5.0 mimics real-world conditions, while anything greater than 5.0 would be the equivalent of steep mountain terrain.
There’s no need to push yourself to spend twenty minutes at a high incline setting, or you risk exhaustion and poor form. Remember, the point of this exercise is to mimic a natural outdoor course. You can push up the incline to challenge yourself for three to five minutes, then lower it to 0 for a recovery period of about one minute. Vary the size and length of your “hills”, and tailor your workout to your energy and fitness level.
If you track your heart rate during exercise, you could use the treadmill’s incline setting to boost your heart rate into your target calorie burn zone. Exercise at that intensity so long as it’s comfortable, and work in recovery periods as needed.
As you can see, it’s easy to tailor a treadmill workout to not only match the difficulty of an outdoor course, but also your fitness level! As you become stronger and more fit, you can continue to adjust your workout accordingly to challenge yourself.
If you have any questions about exercise or weight loss, please call us for an appointment. We can examine you for underlying conditions, verify that your exercise plans are safe, and offer a supportive nutrition plan to help you meet your weight loss or maintenance goals.