How to Use a Treadmill For Beginners

Three Parts:General Treadmill TipsBeginner Treadmill WorkoutInterval Treadmill Workout

Learning to use a treadmill requires many of the same principles of training that runners use to prepare for races. You must increase your stamina gradually, in order to avoid injury, dizziness and problems with blood pressure or dehydration. Find out how to use a treadmill by following this step-by-step guide.

Part 1
General Treadmill Tips

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    Talk to your doctor if you have joint or back problems. The doctor can specify whether you must stick with a low-impact workout (walking), or if you can do high-impact training (running).
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    Buy some comfortable running shoes. Try on as many pairs of shoes as it takes before buying any. The right pair should feel cushioned, support your arches and give you room in the toes.
    • Contrary to what many people think, you should not have to break-in running shoes very much. They should feel good right away, so don't settle for anything less than an extremely comfortable shoe. If possible, wear them around the house every day for a week before working out, so that you can take them back if they start to rub.
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    Drink 16 to 24 fluid oz. (0.5 to 0.7l) of water in the 90 minutes before you do a treadmill workout. Since most treadmill workouts are over 20 minutes, you can sweat heavily and suffer with dehydration later on.
    • Bring a water bottle filled with at least 16 oz. (0.5l) of water with you to place on the treadmill.
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    • Make sure to visit the bathroom before you use the treadmill. A break in your workout can interrupt the rhythm and aerobic benefits of your workout.
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    Wear thick socks. Try crew socks, instead of ankle socks, to avoid blisters.
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    Warm up and cool down. Dedicate 5 minutes before and after each treadmill session to walking at a pace of 1.5 to 2 mph (2.4 to 3.2 km/h) (mph).
    • If you walk to the gym, this can also count as your warm up and cool down.
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    Swing your arms. You may be tempted to hold onto the handles at the front of the treadmill to gain your balance. This will keep you from burning calories, using good posture and learning to use it properly.
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    Pay attention to the settings on the equipment. You should notice a speed section and incline section where you can increase or decrease the settings. These will be the main buttons you use on the treadmill.
    • Wait to use programmed workouts until you are comfortable with the manual settings. You will be able to customize your workout to your fitness level.
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    Use the safety clip. Although you may choose to stop using it as you get comfortable, this clip is an emergency shut off. If you lose balance in the beginning it will keep you from falling or being seriously injured.

Part 2
Beginner Treadmill Workout

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    Do a 20 to 30 minute beginner workout. For the first 15 minutes of your workout, you are most likely burning carbohydrates that you ate recently. After 15 minutes, you begin to burn body fat and build endurance.
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    Warm up for 5 minutes. This warm up can help you to gain balance and avoid injury. Hook the safety clip to your body before starting.
    • Walk at 1.5 to 2 mph (2.4 to 3.2 km/h) for 1 minute.
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    • Increase the speed to 1.8 mph (2.9 km/h) for the next minute. Walk on your toes for 30 seconds of that minute. Walk on your heels for 30 seconds.
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    • Increase the incline to 6. Remain at a speed between 1.5 and 1.8 mph (2.4 and 2.9 km/h). Walk for 1 minute.
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    • Take longer strides for 1 minute. If this is hard with the incline, decrease your speed. Return the incline to 0 after 2 minutes at 6.
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    • Increase the speed to 2.5 for the last minute.
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    Keep a pace between 3 and 4 mph (4.8 and 6.4 km/h) for 20 minutes. You can remain at the same incline and speed during your first week of treadmill use.
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    Cool down for 5 minutes, by slowly lowering your pace each minute.
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    Experiment with inclines and faster speeds after the first 1 to 2 weeks. You should increase the incline above level 4 for 1 to 2 minutes and return it to a slower speed. You can increase your speed by .5 mph (0.80 km/h) for 1 to 2 minutes.
    • Interval training is the best way to increase endurance, speed and fat burning capacity. Intervals of 1 to 2 minutes should raise your heart rate, then you can return to a medium intensity. Medium intensity workouts are approximately at the rate where you breathe heavily but can still carry on an intermittent conversation.
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Part 3
Interval Treadmill Workout

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    Try interval workouts with jogging or fast walking. The aim of the high intensity intervals is to raise your heart rate substantially.
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    Warm up for 5 minutes as explained above.
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    Jog or walk quickly for 1 minute. You should aim to increase the speed of the treadmill by 1 to 2 mph (1.6 to 3.2 km/h) during this interval. People who are in good shape may be able to increase it more.
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    Return to a pace of 3 to 4 mph (4.8 to 6.4 km/h) for 4 minutes.
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    Do 4 more intervals, with 1 minute of high intensity jogging or walking and 4 minutes of medium intensity.
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    Cool down for 5 minutes at the end of your workout.
    • Increase your high intensity interval by 15 to 30 seconds each week.
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    • Try pre-programmed interval workouts once you are able to do 1 minute intervals with confidence. You can also use hill workouts to increase your intensity with incline rather than speed.
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Things You'll Need

  • Running shoes
  • Thick, long socks
  • Gym membership/home treadmill
  • Water
  • Safety strap
  • Cool down/warm up

Article Info

Categories: Cardio Exercises