The benefits of treadmill exercise are numerous. Originally used to harness the power of man, then later horses and other farm animals to facilitate heavy work, in 1968 the home treadmill was introduced as a means of getting fit.
Unlike some fitness fads that shine brightly then quickly disappear when their shortcomings come to light, the treadmill offers a safe and proven means of improving cardiovascular health, losing weight and toning up. With more at-home exercise options available than ever before, the treadmill remains as popular and beneficial today as it was when it first became available. More so, in fact, thanks to advances in technology.
These days, the better treadmills come with useful features including built-in workout programs and adjustable incline. Many have fans that help cool the exerciser as they work out. Some also have onboard entertainment in the form of audio and even video in some instances. While not necessary to get an effective workout, these features and accessories make exercising more enjoyable.
Given that we can walk, jog or run on a treadmill, it is a far more versatile machine than most people think. This being the case, treadmill users can do interval training and vary their workouts for better results and to help prevent boredom setting in and sabotaging their good intentions.
In this article, we will first look at some of the advantages of walking for exercise. We will then discuss the benefits of treadmill workouts over walking, running or jogging outdoors.
Benefits of Walking for Exercise
To optimize our health and fitness, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends we do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week. A popular choice for many is walking because it’s something we all know how to do. Requiring only comfortable shoes and clothing, it is an inexpensive and efficient form of exercise.
When done at a brisk pace, walking delivers valuable cardio benefits. Being weight-bearing exercise, it can improve bone density, lessening the likelihood of osteoporosis later in life. It improves joint flexibility, eases stress and anxiety and reduces muscle tension. Furthermore, walking enhances our emotional well-being by improving our mood, relieving depression and sharpening our brain. It also enables us to enjoy more restful sleep.
Regularly walking for exercise can boost confidence, due to it enabling us to shed our excess body weight and tone our muscles. It can also impart a sense of achievement when we meet our exercise goals.
Some people who start out walking decide to take things to the next level and jog, or even run. Whether they choose to do this outdoors or on a treadmill, the benefits are similar. However, the latter has some additional practical and physical benefits. We will look at these below.
Video Covering Some of the Many Benefits of Treadmill Exercise
5 Main Benefits of Treadmill Exercise
One of the main benefits of treadmill exercise is its convenience. Having my own treadmill means I don’t have to pay gym fees, then travel to the gym to work out. I can exercise at home, any time of the day or night that suits me. And, being a multi-tasker, I love that when using my treadmill I can read, catch up on my TV shows, surf the net or even chat hands-free on the phone.
When exercising on my treadmill, I don’t have to dodge traffic or fear the possibility of being mugged. I don’t have to worry about inclement weather or bad air quality, either. (The latter is an especially important consideration for anyone who has asthma or seasonal allergies.)
Moms with a baby can use their treadmill while their child sleeps. These benefits virtually eliminate any excuses for not working out.
- Workout programs
Another benefit of treadmill exercise for me is having access to preset and customizable programs. These enable me to do the workouts best suited to my fitness goals. Varying workouts is more enjoyable than always walking or jogging the same route outdoors, too.
I find my treadmill’s heart rate monitor very useful too. It enables me to monitor my pace, adjusting it if necessary, to keep me in my optimal training zone.
- Low-impact Workout
Exercising on a treadmill with a well-cushioned deck places far less impact on the ankle, knee and hip joints than exercising on hard pavement does. It also significantly lessens the risk of injury, that can more readily occur when exercising on an uneven surface.
Today’s treadmills have belts made of fabric that absorbs impact. Often, people with painful joints who haven’t previously been able to exercise will find they can do so on a treadmill.
- Aids weight loss
Walking, jogging or running outdoors or on a treadmill increases our metabolic rate, which burns extra calories. If you are watching a movie or surfing the net as you exercise, time seems to pass more quickly. As a result, ou may work out for longer than you’d planned. Over time, those extra minutes can equate to additional weight loss and to reaching your fitness goals faster.
Many treadmills have a calorie counter. Knowing how many calories you are burning as you exercise, makes it easier to plan a weight loss diet if you need to shed some pounds.
- Faster toning
Another of the treadmill benefits is that regular use will tone and sculpt your calf, thigh, and buttocks muscles, as well as your core. While regular walking will do the same, if you use a treadmill that can be inclined, you will increase the intensity of your workout. This will enable you to tone up faster, target different muscles and burn additional calories.
Benefits of Treadmill Exercise Summary
To experience the benefits of treadmill exercise, you will need to undertake it regularly and work out at a moderate to brisk pace. If you can’t manage the recommended 150 minutes a week, aim for 90 minutes a week to start.
It was once believed that to benefit from exercise we had to undertake it continuously for at least 20 minutes. Recent research, however, has shown that doing 3 x 10-minute sessions on the same day is as beneficial as doing 1 x 30-minute workout. This is great news for busy people and those who are currently only fit enough to manage short workouts.
Want a treadmill, but not sure which one to get? Check out this Treadmill Buying Guide for 14 tips on what to look for when buying a treadmill. Click this link to read reviews of some of my favorite treadmills.