Written by: Melanie Talastas-Soriano BA-Kin, CAT(C), ISSA-CPT
Athletic Therapist, Personal Trainer
Running is one of many ways to train the heart. Not only it targets the heart muscle but it targets the whole cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular or circulatory system consists of the heart and major blood vessels. The heart pumps oxygenated and deoxygenated blood to and from the body morning, day and night. This is why it is important to have a healthy heart.
If you are getting bored with your treadmill runs, there are various programs you can follow to keep your cardio workout exciting. In this article there are five different options on how you can mix – up your treadmill workout.
1. Do not use handrail Running or walking on the treadmill without using the handrail is much more challenging. It will allow your upper body to get involve by swinging your arms and therefore increasing the intensity of your workout. It will also keep your posture upright while running or walking.
2. Side-to-side and jogging backwards If you haven’t tried it yet, change your directions once in a while to use other muscle groups. Step on each sides of the treadmill before repositioning. Slowly start with shuffling side-to-side until you’re comfortable then do the same with jogging backwards. Be sure to decrease your speed first if trying for the first time.
3. Intervals One of my favorite program I like to do on the treadmill is interval training. After running on a steady pace for 20 minutes, you can increase the speed until you are sprinting and sprint hard for 2 minutes then decrease to a comfortable speed (walk or slow jog) for 1 minute. Perform the sprint and rest cycle 10 times. This interval is like sprinting towards the end of your run. Don’t forget to do a cool down at the end of the workout.
4. Bump up the incline and speed Depending on your fitness level, you can increase the incline as if you’re walking or running uphill. Also, you can increase your speed to run on a steady pace. Allow your body to adapt to the new parameters (speed/incline) before adjusting or increasing to new parameters.
5. Use one of the treadmill’s set program There are a lot of programs in most of the treadmill model that are challenging. There are hill runs, duration runs, intervals and more that are easy to follow once you are ready to increase your intensity.
Before trying any of these programs, be sure to warm-up to prepare the body for the endurance workout. Also, do not forget to perform a cool down after every workout to avoid blood pooling in the body. Allow your heart to return to a normal rate before stepping down from the treadmill. There are other cardiovascular workout that you can perform other than running like, swimming, walking, rowing, cycling and almost all sports. Whether you’re running on the treadmill or swimming, you are working towards maintaining your healthy heart.