Treadmill Walking Workout
Dear Fun and Fit – K and A: What is a good walking routine for a treadmill with no incline option though it has speed controls? I don’t have a particular goal, just curious. Erin, WI, USA
Alexandra: Well then, the easiest response since you’re so easygoing is to have you do intervals. This post about training for a half marathon on a treadmill or elliptical will help a bit, as it discusses the interval option and basic cardio fitness. Some helpful tips, just to put everything in one tidy, no-incline spot:
* Walk Backward: It uses different muscles than forward walking and is great for coordination and balance. Keep the pace fairly slow – around 1.5 – 3 mph.
* Speed Pyramid: After you warm up at an easy pace, do 1 minute at a very fast walk (for me, that’s 6 mph, but test what’s right for you), then 1 minute at an easy recovery pace. Then do the fast walk for 2 minutes, with a 2 minute recovery. Then 3, blah blah blah, working your way up to 5 minutes. Then stop. But you’ll be so tired that you won’t need to be encouraged to stop. You might be cursing me by then anyway.
* Be A Dancing Queen: Just dance on the darn thing. I love this lady and hope to meet her one day. She knows how to party on the treadmill.
Kymberly: If you want more resistance to substitute for the lack of incline, wear a backpack with some weight in it. The load will be distributed where your joints will be protected while offering more challenge. Resist temptation to add weights to your hands or ankles as that load gets distributed into joints and can cause injury.
A: Our colleague Norma Shechtman created a 12- week treadmill workout that you might like, although you’ll want to ignore the power hill climbs and focus more on the speed intervals and strength moves.
K: No matter what your goal, incline, lack of incline, or inclination (I had to work in some word play, naturellement!) make sure your form is good. No hanging onto the machine for dear life. Check out our post and video on the Right and Wrong Way to work out on treadmills. My right way is while watching Dancing With the Stars!
A: One interesting trivia tidbit– treadmills account for 33% of all home exercise equipment sales, so we want to caution those of you who are considering being part of the 33% to check out treadmill reviews over at RunReviews to get a treadmill that is right for you. And if you define “right” as “I want to use it once, then hang my laundry on it,” than you’d best choose one with a long handrail, I guess!
The all-time BEST treadmill workout is by OK Go. Come on, give it a whirl!
Readers: What are your favorite no-incline treadmill workouts?
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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA