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The treadmill is the tried and true favorite of many gym-goers. Whether you are a marathon runner, a power walker or someone who wants to exercise, but with minimal impact on your joints, you no doubt have clocked in many miles on a treadmill. But, if it is always your go-to machine, your routine has become a bit boring. And when boredom sets in, that is usually a time to change things. But, do not go into panic mode—you do not have to give up your treadmill habit, you just need to find ways to make it more interesting.
1) Run/Walk Using Intervals
Walking or running at the same pace all the time gets old. The truth is that the body adapts to exercise quickly and if you are always doing the same thing, it will get used to it and then any changes you are looking for like weight loss or better cardiovascular capacity will be stalled. Try changing your pace by increasing your speed every few minutes. Run or walk at your normal pace for three minutes and then increase the speed for one minute. As you build up your endurance, you can change it so that your normal pace is two minutes with a one-minute speed increase. You can also do thirty seconds on, thirty seconds off where you run as fast as you can for thirty seconds and then walk it off for the next thirty. There are endless possibilities for doing intervals.
2) Raise the Incline
You do not always have to use the treadmill on a flat grade. Try running or walking at higher inclines. The higher you go, the harder it is so pace yourself if you start to get winded or tired. By raising the incline, you will also target more of your glutes, which is always a nice plus.
3) Walk Backwards
While you may make some gym members and owners a bit nervous, walk backwards on the treadmill. Start off slow so you get the hang of it before increasing your speed. Hold on to the side rails if you feel like you may fall. This is a great way to target your hamstrings, and you get to see things from a completely different view.
4) Walk Sideways
This may sound a bit unconventional, but it is actually quite good for you to do lateral movements. Most people move forward and backward, but not side to side. Light, short shuffles on the treadmill will kick in your inner and outer thighs while challenging your balance. Try doing thirty seconds to a minute facing both directions. When you become proficient at it, increase your shuffle time. Again, hold on to the side rails to first get your balance.
5) Add Weights
If increasing your speed, raising the incline or walking in different directions is not for you, try adding some weight to your walk or run. You can wear ankle weights, a weighted vest or hold small dumbbells in your hands. If holding weights, you can do bicep curls, shoulder presses or front raises. Be careful not to use weights that are too heavy.
Of course, listening to music while on the treadmill or even changing your playlist is another easy way to add some oomph to your workout. Try some of these variations as well to break down the walls of boredom. Do not be afraid to try other new ways to exercise as well. The key to any successful exercise routine is to always change it up so that your body is constantly being challenged, which is ultimately what you want.