One of the easiest, most affordable, and hassle-free physical activities that we can participate in is running. What if the weather is not suitable for any outdoor activity? Will you skip exercising until the weather allows you to run again outside?
Sometimes, running on a treadmill is safer than running outside, especially when the weather is bad or the only free time you have is at night. Is it okay just to use a treadmill instead of running outdoors? How long should you run on a treadmill?
Running is a physical activity which involves our whole body; hence, running regularly has a lot of health benefits, including:
- Strengthens bones and muscles: Experts agree that running can increase bone mineral density because it’s a weight-bearing exercise much like basketball, volleyball, and soccer. It also helps in strengthening our muscles, specifically, it can build glute and hamstring muscles.
- Improves cardiovascular fitness: Running can condition our cardiovascular system by using fatty acids and carbohydrates for energy. Similarly, as we run, the heart rate increases, so the oxygen-carbon-dioxide exchange is enhanced.
- Helps maintain ideal body weight: Our body uses the calories as an energy source when we are running. Thus, stored fats and carbohydrates, which adds to your weight, are burnt.
- Improves mental health: Running can help release toxins in your body and stimulate the release of happy hormones. Most regular runners say their level of stress and anxiety has been reduced. Likewise, their mood had improved.
There is no specific timeframe on how long should you run on a treadmill. The time you will spend doing treadmill workout highly depends on what your fitness goal is. Another factor to consider is your fitness level.
Can your body handle the pressure of working out for extended periods of time? If your goal is to lose weight, then you can achieve it by running on a treadmill coupled with strength training and healthy eating habits. Running on a treadmill alone will not result in weight loss.
For beginners, you can start treadmill running at a slow pace for 15 minutes, three days a week. Then, gradually increase the duration to 30 minutes, four times a week. If your goal is to improve the level of your fitness, your exercise level should be moderate to vigorous. You should be running at a moderate level for 150 minutes every week or you can do a 75-minute run every week but at a vigorous pace.
You can divide these numbers into 10-minute segments or better yet, 15 minutes of treadmill workout for five days so that you can rest for two days before starting another session. However you divide it, as long as you complete the number of required minutes, then you can achieve your goal.
What Is the Right Way to Use a Treadmill?
Treadmills help improve your cardiovascular fitness, and there are a lot of modern treadmills that let you adjust the speed and incline levels. Some treadmills even offer live streaming of fitness programs or provide music and videos so that you will not get bored while working out.
- Proper treadmill setting: Make sure you know how to operate the treadmill according to your fitness goal. If you don’t have any idea how to set up the treadmill, call the attention of the staff if you are in a gym or ask for help from those around you.
- Do some stretching: Stretching for five to ten minutes to relax your muscles and joints before stepping onto a treadmill to start running is important. This will also prevent possible muscle sores after running.
- Ensure safety: When stepping on the treadmill for the first time or even if it’s not, hold on to the handrails and step on each side of the belt. If a safety kill switch is available, make sure you attach it to whatever you are wearing. Click the start button and place your feet on the belt one at a time and let go of the handrails.
Always start your workout with a five to ten minutes warm-up and then gradually increase to your desired speed and intensity. Remember to run at a level that you can handle comfortably.
Walk or run with your back straight and eyes looking straight ahead. Move your arms in harmony with your feet. Lower down your pace once you feel tired. Do not force yourself to continue at a level you are not comfortable with. If you keep on reaching for the handrails, that means your pace is too fast.
Make sure you stay hydrated even before you start your training. Some treadmills have a water bottle holder. Drink every 10 to 15 minutes during your workout session. If your workout is longer than an hour, hydrate yourself with sports drinks or electrolyte.
A weekly workout of 60 to 90 minutes will result in weight loss. Nonetheless, it is better to incorporate outdoor running to your treadmill workout gradually. Staying in one method may cause injury if you try to do a different workout immediately. Do another batch of stretching after you finish your workout to prevent sore and tight muscles.
Remember, slow but inclined workouts help you build strength, while flat and faster treadmill workout develops stamina, endurance, and quick footwork. It also helps when listening to music while working out indoors. Motivating or upbeat music can drive you to run longer.
You must also keep in mind that you should also be watching your diet. Running alone will not help you. Being strict with what you eat and observing a healthy lifestyle should be part of your daily routine to achieve your ideal weight. It might even prepare you to run a marathon!
In general, whatever decision we make in life, there will always be a sacrifice. Once you decide to keep track of your health and be physically fit, you should do it religiously. Commitment and dedication are the things that you should always keep in mind.