The Health Benefits of Treadmills are often overlooked. Improve your heart’s health? Lose a few pounds? Or become more active? If that is your goal, then maybe it’s time for you to do exercise. But where do you start?
No matter how good our intentions are, we can’t force ourselves to commute three or four times a week to the gym. What with our hectic lifestyles, increased workloads, and other commitments, we don’t have such luxury as time. Our exercise routines suffer, which points only to one thing – our health.
Americans, young and old, are trying to search for solutions to their exercise dilemma.
We are looking for specifically one that will fit into our demanding schedules yet still afford us with a quality workout with positive results.
The answer is the ever-present treadmill.
Experts agree that physical activity need not be strenuous to be beneficial.
Moderate amounts of daily physical activity are recommended for people of all ages.
- American youths aged 12-21 years, nearly half admit to not being active regularly
- 14% of young people report they engage in no recent physical activity
- This inactivity trend is more common among women (14%) than among males (7%).
- As age or grade in school increases, participation in all types of activity declines
- Of all high school students, only 19% are physically active for 20 minutes or more, five days a week, in a physical education class
- Social support from family and friends has been consistently and positively related to regular physical activity
Though not the be-all and end-all of everything, engaging in physical activity has effects that can be very beneficial to your health. First, it helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
Not only that, but it directly affects weight control, building lean muscles, and fat reduction.
Physical activity can prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure and helps reduce blood pressure in adolescents with hypertension.
Home exercise equipment, such as treadmills and stationary bikes, have produced the same effects as running or walking outside.
Dr. Martin Hoffman of the Medical College of Wisconsin found that “the treadmill allowed users to burn as much as 200 calories per hour more than the bicycle ergometer, which came out having the lowest energy expenditure.”
Treadmills are the #1 Choice in Home Exercise Equipment
As a home exercise equipment, the treadmill presents both convenience and affordability in one neat package.
It’s not as expensive as other home exercise equipment, and yet it produces nearly the same positive results.
Not only that, but the treadmill has always been a favorite among exercise enthusiasts, whether they do their exercises at home or in the gym.
Using a treadmill to exercise and burn down calories is very simple, even the most un-sporty individual can do it. Why? Because a treadmill requires nothing more form you than doing something you’ve been doing for most of your life – WALKING.
“They will always be the Number 1 item because they appeal to the two most popular forms of exercising – walkers and runners,” said Communications Director for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Mike May.
According to the annual consumer survey of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, over 45 million Americans use treadmills today, either at home or in a gym.
They are even more popular than stationary bikes (considered as the Number 2 choice), stair machines, ellipticals, and rowing machines.
Perhaps, what makes treadmills stick among the mass of exercise and fitness enthusiasts is that it can guarantee a consistent workout in all seasons and all climates.
With a treadmill, do not think about common running worries, such as weather – too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet, too humid, and so on. Treadmills provide a means of exercise that is “just right.”
Health Benefits of Treadmills
Your goal when engaging in physical activity is to burn down calories and keep yourself fit and healthy.
Compared to just 500 calories per hour on the exercise bike, the average medium-intensity treadmill workout burned 700 calories per hour.
Dr. Hoffman said one reason for this difference is the muscle mass used in both exercises. When you walk or run on a treadmill, you use more muscles than you do on a bike, stationary or otherwise.
The greatest benefit of treadmill exercise is burning calories. However, it is not the only reason you should consider this workout.
For people with certain health conditions, engaging in vigorous physical activity can be detrimental to their lives and their health.
People such as those with osteoporosis, hypertension, and back pains are recommended to do only walking when they exercise so as not to cause any overexert themselves.
The treadmill, therefore, provides them with an exciting alternative to just plain walking outside.
A treadmill can add consistency to your walking workout. Most models have programming in them that allows you to maintain speed and intensity throughout your entire workout. They also have incline device that would let you control the inclination of your walk as though you are walking up or downhill.
Walking for 45 minutes, five times a week can cut your chances of getting a flu or cold in half, according to a research conducted by the Harvard Medical School. But you can’t walk, can you, if it’s raining outside? That is why the treadmill – where climate changes don’t matter – is great to have around.
The treadmill helps prevent injuries that could happen when you run outside on uneven or even wet ground. Gravity can have nasty effects, however beneficial running and sunlight might be.
A treadmill with good cushioning on the belt will help support each foot-strike you make, making your running or walking easier.
Finally, if you are looking to get in shape, walking or jogging on a treadmill improves muscle tone and not just in your legs, but all over your body. Strengthened muscles mean the heart can pump more oxygen-rich blood with each step you take.
Exercising the Right Way on a Treadmill
You know what they say: “You get the most out of anything if you do it properly.” Exercising the right way on a treadmill is no different. If you want to get the most enjoyment and benefit out of treadmill exercise, then do it the right way.
To help you maximize the health benefits of treadmill exercise take note of the following:
As your foot comes forward and your heel strikes the ground, here’s what you do: raise your toes and roll forward onto the outside of your foot (but keep the entire shoe sole on the ground). As your foot passes under your body, straighten your knee and press the ground with the ball of your foot, maintaining pressure until your toes leave the ground. Do this for the entire duration of your run.
- Hip Rotation
Walk from your waist, allowing your hips to rotate naturally with the forward and backward movement of your legs. Meanwhile, your shoulders should stay relaxed and face forward.
- Arm Swing
Let your arms swing at your sides in the same forward-backward direction as your hips and legs. As you increase your speed, bend your arms at a right angle and swing them faster in rhythm with your legs.
Do the above, and you’ll be fit quickly. Elaine Ward of NARWF says to get the most out of your walking routine, you must consider the way your foot touches the ground, how your torso is positioned, and how your arms swing. The above tips should be able to help you do just that.