Five Ways a Digital Treadmill Can Improve Your Fitness

Treadmills have been around for a surprisingly long time. Did you know that the first US patent for a treadmill was issued as far back as 1913?

Digital treadmills are more popular than ever, you can thank an extended lockdown for that! This means that companies are bending over backwards to offer you the best product. But what makes digital treadmills so effective? Here are five ways a digital treadmill can improve your fitness.

Endurance Running

Unsurprisingly, the most effective way to use a treadmill to improve your fitness is through traditional endurance training. Nothing fancy, just set yourself a distance goal and spend your time trying to improve it. You can either try to increase your distance or increase your speed (and lower your time). A low intensity, long duration treadmill run will help to improve your fitness significantly.

Hill Sprints

While hill sprints are definitely not for beginners, they are an amazing way to turbo charge your fitness levels. To perform hill sprints, you will need a digital treadmill with a robust incline setting and a decent motor. Searching for bargain treadmills is not the answer here! The idea is to perform 10 hill sprints that last around 30 seconds (up to a minute depending on your fitness).

Set the treadmill up to a steep incline, and then set the speed to as fast as you can handle (test this out over a number of sessions to find the sweet spot). Run as fast as you can, then grab the handles and hop off the running belt safely. Turn the speed down and recover for 90 seconds. Then start your second sprint.

HIIT

This is almost exactly the same as the hill sprint method above but doesn’t use a steep incline. Some people prefer to modify this so that it isn’t a true HIIT session, which looks like this:

  • Run for 90 seconds at a medium pace
  • Sprint for 30 seconds
  • Run for 90 seconds at a medium pace

The only issue is that treadmills can’t go from slow to sprint immediately, it takes around 30 seconds to hit max speed. So, your actual run looks more like this:

  • Run for 60 seconds at a medium pace
  • Steadily increase speed for 30 seconds until you hit sprinting speed
  • Sprint for 30 seconds
  • Steadily reduce speed for 30 seconds until you hit medium speed
  • Run for 30 seconds at a medium pace
  • Steadily increase speed for 30 seconds until you hit sprinting speed
  • And so on …

This isn’t true HIIT, but it is a seriously good workout and will make a huge difference to your aerobic fitness levels.

Modified Fartlek Training

Modified Fartlek training is an amazing way to use your digital treadmill to improve your fitness. It suits treadmills better than the previous two methods (hill sprints and HIIT) because it understands the limitations of the treadmill and can suit any fitness level.

Real Fartlek training is slightly different, but modified Fartlek training resembles it closely. What you do is split your movements into three:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running

If you are fitter, then you may change it to jogging, running, sprinting. If you are less fit, then you could change it to slow walking, walking, and jogging. You get the idea. Three different speeds.

Warm up with some walking/jogging, and then start to run. Do this for as long as you can, when you get tired, drop down to walking. Stick with walking until you feel ready to increase to a jog, then jog until you feel ready to run. Repeat the process for 20-60 minutes (depending on your goals).

Alternatively, you can stick to distances. 400m run, 400m walk, 400m jog.

Low intensity Walking

This is perhaps the most boring option, but for many people walking at a low to medium intensity is a great way to burn fat and improve fitness. This is popular with bodybuilders who want to burn fat but not lose any muscle mass during a cut. But it is also great for beginners. As your fitness improves you can increase the speed, the distance, or the incline to make it harder.

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