Whether it’s Mother Nature, travel, a hectic schedule, or just plain old road weariness that’s preventing you from running outside, turning to the treadmill can keep fitness levels up when we’re being kept inside. With fun workouts that add a little variety to your routine, it’s dreadmill no more! While studies suggest exercising outdoors might make us happier, more energetic, and less anxious, there are some perks to sweating it out inside the gym
Beat the Boredom—Your Action Plan
We’re giving the treadmill another go in the hopes that we’ll have as much fun on there as these guys. Stay in shape through unforgiving weather and untraversable terrian and whatever else is preventing you from hitting the road with these totally not boring treadmill workouts that should make that time on the belt fly by.
1. Go high-low.
According to most experts, interval training is the treadmill’s BFF. It gets the heart rate up and burns the max amount of calories with periods of high and low intensity. Check out Derek’s ass-kicking interval workout along with these Greatist-approved interval ideas. And for a longer training run, we like this distance run recommended by Runner’s World. Intervals can be tough, but there’s always a break just around the “bend” in the “road.” Remember to adjust them to your own pace; a sprint, run, or jog speed is not the same for everyone.
2. Head for the hills.
What’s the best way to pretend you’re out on the trails instead of stuck indoors? Kick up the incline a few notches! But because there are no elements to combat inside (other than the super sweaty dude on the next machine), you can set the treadmill to simulate uneven outdoor terrain and make up for the lack of wind
3. Be a multitasker
Not sure whether to do cardio before or after strength training? We say, why not during! Add variety to your treadmill workout with a couple 2- or 5-lb. dumbbells to practice bicep curls, shoulder presses, and other upper body exercises while walking. Or hop on and hop off as you log the miles. Alternate 5 to 10 minutes of running with strength training exercises like squats, push-ups, crunches, planks, and lunges. Just be sure to slow down the speed of the belt during transitions unless this looks like fun!
4. Play your cards right.
Pick a card, any card for this great treadmill game. Take four index cards and write the words “run,” “run fast,” “jog,” or “walk” on each of them. Shuffle ‘em up while you warm up for about a mile. Then, draw a card and do whatever it says for 3 to 4 minutes until you’ve gone through all four. Repeat until nice and sweaty. Get even more creative by adding new cards with specific speeds, inclines, or punishments and rewards like “drop and give me 20!” or “time for a water break!”
5. Use digital distractions.
Rely on an awesome iPod playlist or fancy treadmill TV to fight boredom? Studies show music and television are excellent distraction devices, so why not use entertainment to our advantage