Obviously you know how to walk: one foot, then the other. But using a treadmill is slightly different from strolling down the street. Here are 5 ways to boost your treadmill walking workout for better results.
1. Pay attention to posture.
Pretend you have a string attached to your rib cage that's lifting you up; keep your shoulders back, abs engaged and head looking forward. Don't use the treadmill's handrails—that can throw your posture out of whack, making you move slower or even causing an injury. Plus, needing to hold on is usually a sign you're walking too fast for your ability. Instead, bend your elbows to 90-degree angles and pump your arms as you walk.
2. Tread lightly.
Avoid pounding your feet, which could lead to shin splints and other injuries. To check this, turn off your music or the television every so often and listen to your foot strike (loud thuds: not a good sign). Also, be sure your left foot and right foot make similar sounds, meaning you're not favoring one side. To correct both issues, focus on rolling from your heel to your toes as you step.
3. Ditch the preset programs.
Most treadmills come with preset programs, but operating your treadmill yourself is ideal. Why? The machine might decrease the settings (making your workout easier) before you're ready to give up. By controlling it manually, you can push yourself more.
4. Don't fear the incline.
You don't have to run to boost your treadmill routine. Just add an incline, which mimics going up a hill and increases intensity without having to add speed. Progress slowly (by 0.5 percent, if possible), particularly if you're not used to it.
5. Mix it up.
If you do the same workout all the time, your body will become so accustomed to it that you'll burn fewer calories—and you'll be more likely to get bored. To keep challenging yourself physically and mentally, play with how long you walk, how fast you go and what incline you're using.