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Model: Kyle Clark

Brisk walking and running are great cardio workouts, but exercising on the treadmill can get very dull over time if you don’t mix it up.

If you find yourself dreading the workout on a treadmill, get out of the rut with these five ways to beat boredom and make your stationary workout fun again!

Create the perfect run/walk playlist

Listening to upbeat music while you tackle the treadmill can lift your mood and may even improve your overall health and how well you run.

The Guardian reports that listening to music can boost running performance up to 15 percent. Focusing on improvement as you jog or walk along to your favorite songs — rather than just plodding through the workout — can help banish the blahs.

According to researchers at Brunel University in London, hip-hop and rap music often provide the best background for running, while pop music is best for walking and cooling down.

So choose your top tunes and create your perfect playlist to keep you motivated on the treadmill!

Change things up with interval training

Exercising at the same pace can add boredom to any workout — particularly on the treadmill.

Instead of coasting along on autopilot when it comes to your speed and intensity, throw some intervals into the mix. Intervals are a form of speed work that merely alternates hard effort with easier effort.

The Mayo Clinic reports that interval training not only combats boredom, but it also helps you and improve your aerobic capacity and burn more calories. Here are some ideas for easy intervals you can try during a 30-minute workout:

  • Brisk-walk intervals. Walk at a gentle pace for the first 10 minutes of your exercise.
  • Then shift into a brisk pace for the next 10 minutes. Wrap it up with a return to easy walking for 10 minutes.
  • Jog-walk intervals. Alternate walking and jogging intervals, walking 5 minutes then jogging 5 minutes, for a total of 30 minutes.
  • Speed-burst intervals. Start warming up by jogging or walking at a comfortable pace for 10 minutes.
      Then try to increase your speed so that you’re walking or running at about 85 percent of your maximum capacity — this should feel challenging. Do this for 15 seconds, and then recover for 2 minutes with a slow walk or jog.
      Round out the half-hour by alternating quick speed bursts with natural efforts. End with a 5-minute walking cool down.

Use the treadmill’s pre-set options

Most treadmills offer a range of preset workouts to help you reach personal fitness goals. You can choose the “weight loss” setting to help you lose weight based on your age, current weight, and target heart rate.

You can also select a “hill” setting that simulates the effort of running up and down hills.
Treadmills also offer preset cardio workouts that help you keep your heart rate within designated training zones and preset interval workouts.

Work out to your favorite TV show or movie

One of the advantages of using indoor exercise machines is the ability to pair your workout with watching a program on TV.

To beat the boredom blues, schedule your workout time with a show or movie that you enjoy watching. You’ll be so entertained by the television that you’ll forget you’re exercising!

Adding exciting moves to your workout

While most people think treadmill workouts mean merely walking or jogging the same way throughout the exercise period, there are many ways to get creative. Self magazine suggests trying a “Sidewinder” walking workout, which helps keep you on your toes by improving balance.

The workout involves increasing your speed from 2.4 mph on the treadmill to 4.5 mph for forward walking. The fun comes in when you intersperse regular walking intervals with walking sideways between 2.0 and 2.8 mph:

  • Start with a 5-minute walking warm-up.
  • Then for the next 15 minutes, alternate Four minutes of sideways walking (1 minute to the left, and 1 minute to the right, repeat) with 2 minutes of walking, finishing this portion of the exercise with 2 minutes of sideways walking (1 minute each side) at a 5 percent incline.
  • End with a 5-minute cooldown of easy regular walking.

For stability, while walking sideways, use the rails with a light touch. Don’t use the rails to support your arms.

Point your feet toward the side of the treadmill, not straight ahead. You can either shuffle your feet together or apart. Keep speeds low while walking sideways and stop the machine if you don’t feel balanced. Always stay under 3 mph.

With so many options, there’s no excuse for boredom on the treadmill!

Choose your favorite variation or try all five strategies to make your workouts interesting again.