Whether you’re at the gym or in the comfort of your own home, treadmill workouts are a great way to get your heart pumping. And in addition to the physical benefits of running, according to a report in "The Primary Care Companion to the The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry," running gives you increased energy, better endurance and better sleep––and you just feel great from the endorphins! However those happy chemicals slow down when you’re stagnant in your workout, utilizing the same basic warm-up, speed and elevation––and where’s the fun in that? If you’re getting bored with the “same old” run pattern and feeling frustrated, there are plenty of different treadmill exercises and routines to experiment with to maximize the results of your workout.
Here are some of our favorite ways to stay motivated and excited with your treadmill workouts:
1) Monthly challenges
This is a great option for beginners looking to maintain consistency and be able to have clear, measurable progress for whatever unique goal they’re looking to achieve. And with the Internet in the palm of our hands, there’s more than enough 30-day treadmill challenges out there––enough to give you a year or more of new routines! From “couch to 5k” to circuits of cardio and bodyweight training, your body and mind will be stimulated by trying something new.
2) Hill workouts
Oh, the dreaded hills, every high school athletes’ least favorite workout. But you no longer have to dread hills, instead, you can learn to love them on your treadmill! It may seem tempting to keep your treadmill flat––especially when you’re first starting off––but there are SO many benefits to adding an incline. The most obvious is the increased activation of leg muscles, but there’s also a significant increase in fat burn when walking (not even running) on an incline, with Freemotion Fitness noting that you can burn up to 70 percent more fat just walking on a treadmill incline of at least 16 percent at 3 mph. Just imagine the fat you could burn running that!
3) Interval sprints
If you really want to up your cardio game, sprints are the fastest way to do so. Try the 30 second on, 30 second off routine if you’re still starting out, or up to 1 or 2 minutes for an extra challenge. This is also a great option for anyone short on time, and you can easily add in squats or side lunges during your recovery period to really feel the burn.
4) Shut the treadmill off
This may seem counter-productive, but you can still get in a killer workout without the belt moving––and you won’t have to fight for space on a gym floor! Plank jacks, railing pull ups, resistance band and weight exercises; the options for strength training on a treadmill are virtually endless. And, bonus: you’re more likely to not skip out on cardio since you’re already on the machine.
5) Change up your setting
This may not seem like a huge deal at first thought, but the environment in which you exercise can add or detract from your workout. Add a motivational post-it to the screen, light an energizing candle of citrus or ginger (much better than sweat), and revamp your playlist! According to Shape, most runners take about 130 to 150 strides per minute, which musically translates to beats per minute. Once again, the Internet is your friend here, filled with pre-set running playlists or offering suggestions to fill your ears with music that isn’t just fun and motivating, but will be in sync with your own rhythm.
While there’s nothing wrong with cranking out a good old-fashioned flat mile or two, it’s critical to incorporate new challenges into your cardio routine to not only keep improving your health, but to keep your workout engaging.