It is a fact that walking and running are the most popular forms of exercise for cardio workouts. A treadmill may be the easiest way for you you accomplish this, however there are major advantages and disadvantages with treadmill workouts for you to consider.
I must stress again that everyone needs to get up and walk more. However, with walking or running, you have a choice of using either the treadmill or going to the streets, trails or shopping mall.
I have owned and used a Proform treadmill Model J4i since 1998. Just like me, this model is so old that it is discontinued (I am smiling). It is a very basic Proform treadmill with only the basic features. It does have power incline and can be folded up to take up less space. I use it often and it is like the energizer bunny, it just keeps on going and going. Something to say for the quality and workmanship of Proform products.
Some Important Tips for Your Treadmill Workout
Here are some things you should remember about treadmill workouts:
Be careful when getting onto the treadmill. Be sure it is stopped or moving very slowly.
Do not use the handrails or arm rests. Move your arms naturally at your sides the same as when you are naturally walking or running. Using the handrails will cause you to burn less calories and will mess up your posture.
Keep your eyes forward. Looking off to the sides or behind you may result in you stepping off of the side of the belt and falling. I usually watch movies on TV when I am on my treadmill and it is straight in front of me.
Wear the appropriate shoes for your treadmill workouts. Wear the appropriate walking shoes if walking and running shoes if running.
Advantages of Treadmill Workouts
- It doesn’t matter what the weather is. You can exercise rain or shine, winter or summer, daytime or nighttime. You are in the comfort of your own home.
- Treadmills usually have a cushioned surface which is easier on the joints than walking or running on the hard surface of a road or sidewalk.
- You can control the various aspects of you own treadmill workout. These include incline, speed, duration of workout and the warm-up and cool down period.
- A treadmill has a very short learning curve. Easy and user friendly.
- If the treadmill is so equipped (most new ones are), you can design your own programs to match your personal goals. You can also use factory designed programs if you desire.
- You are walking on a predictable surface. There are no curbs, rocks, holes, cars, kids, dogs, etc. Your biggest problem is stepping off of the belt.
- Others can use the same treadmill without making structural adjustments to the machine.
- You will burn more calories running on the treadmill than you will with other types of aerobic machines.
- To keep my treadmill workouts interesting and fun, you can do as I do and watch TV (guilt free TV) or you can read. It does make the time go faster. I have found that I can put my I Pad on the book holder and read EBooks that I get for free from the library. So Cool.
- Usually there are heart monitors and step counters so you can track your progress. I use my Omron Hj-112 pedometer to monitor my steps.
- Exercising on a treadmill is a good place to improve your walking and running form. With the constant steady movement of the treadmill belt, you can observe yourself in a mirror and improve you overall posture and form.
- You can monitor your walking or running progress much easier than with outside running. Treadmills precise data includes heart rate, calories burned, how fast are you walking or running, the distance you have gone and much more.
- Because they are so popular, there are always many treadmills at your local gyms to exercise on.
Disadvantages of Treadmill Workouts
- The cost is a definite disadvantage. Walking or running outside or at the mall is free where a good treadmill can cost up to and over $2000. You can find good models cheaper and there are always used treadmills.
- Treadmills can take up lots of space. Some of the more sophisticated and expensive ones that do not fold up can be as big as 36 inches wide by 72 inches long.
- With moving parts, computerized programs and motors, there is going to be maintenance and repairs required. This will usually require the services of a professional.
- Be sure to check out how loud the motor is. Some are even too loud to hear your TV while you are exercising.
- Some people get bored with a treadmill interval workout because there is no change in scenery. If you are walking or running outside, your scenery is constantly changing and you can take different routes or jog in different places.
- You can’t take it with you when traveling. A treadmill is not portable whereas you can usually take a walk or go for a run anywhere.
- There is no downhill for a treadmill. You are always walking level or uphill. There are muscles that are used walking or running downhill. These muscles will be missed and need to be trained.
To Sum It Up
Again, I believe that choosing between walking and running outside or indoors on a treadmill is one of personal preference. I enjoy both and I believe a well-rounded exercise routine should include both. Before buying a treadmill, check out the treadmill reviews online to find out which one best meets your goals.
If your only goals are to lose weight and to get in better shape, a treadmill may be your best choice. A study at Milwaukee VA Hospital found that you spend 25 percent more calories on treadmills when performing equally strenuously exercises on treadmills and recumbent exercise bikes.
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This is especially important for anyone over the age of 35 or individuals with pre-existing health problems. As with any exercise program, treadmill workouts will improve your health and will help you to live longer.