Take It Inside: 3 (Not Boring) Treadmill Workouts

By Tina Haupert

It’s that time of year when I take my running workouts inside to the treadmill. Or should I say dreadmill? The treadmill can be a real drag, but I find that using a plan to guide my workout keeps me on track, interested, and motivated, so the time flies by. Here are three of my favorite (read: not boring) treadmill workouts.

This is one of my go-to workouts when I’m dreading my time on the treadmill. It keeps me guessing for a solid 45 minutes, so it’s over before I know it! And I feel like I’ve really worked hard when I’m done. I’m almost always a sweaty mess at the end!

Walk at 4.0 at 7.5 incline for 4 minutes
Jog at 6.5 at 1.0 incline for 5 minutes
Repeat walk and jog twice
Jog at 6.5 at 2.0 incline for 3 minutes
Run at 7.0 at 1.0 incline for 3 minutes
Sprint at 8.0 at 1.0 incline for 1 minute
Jog at 6.0 at 1.0 incline for 1 minute
Sprint at 8.0 at 1.0 incline for 1 minute
Run at 7.0 at 1.0 incline for 1 minute
Jog at 6.5 at 1.0 incline for 3 minutes
Cool down (walk) for 5 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Roll Play
Changing my speed every two minutes keeps my interest and motivation high while running on the treadmill. I covered a little over 5.5 miles in 60 minutes during this workout. There’s a walking interval from minutes 30 to 35, so this workout can easily be shortened to 35 minutes if needed.

Incline: 1.0

Minutes 0 to 5: 4.2 mph
5 to 7: 6.3 mph
7 to 9: 6.5 mph
9 to 11: 6.7 mph
11 to 13: 6.5 mph
13 to 15: 6.3 mph
15 to 20: 4.5 mph
20 to 22: 6.4 mph
22 to 24: 6.6 mph
24 to 26: 6.8 mph
26 to 28: 6.6 mph
28 to 30: 6.4 mph
30 to 35: 4.4 mph
35 to 37: 6.5 mph
37 to 39: 6.7 mph
39 to 41: 6.9 mph
41 to 43: 6.7 mph
43 to 45: 6.5 mph
45 to 50: 4.2 mph
50 to 51: 7.0 mph
51 to 52: 6.9 mph
52 to 53: 6.8 mph
53 to 54: 6.7 mph
54 to 55: 6.6 mph
55 to 60: 4.2 mph

Total time: 60 minutes

Three-Mile Challenge
When I’m short on time, I like to challenge myself to run three miles as fast as I can. I love a challenge, so trying to beat my previous mile gets me excited about my workout. If you’re not into running, a three-mile power-walking challenge also will work!

Warm up for 10 minutes (walk or slow jog)
Run one mile
Recovery: two-minute walk
Run second mile. Try to improve your time from mile the first mile.
Recovery: two-minute walk
Run third mile. Try to improve your time from the previous two miles.
5 minute cool down (walk or slow jog)


Elliptical vs. treadmill

Health Tip: Elliptical vs. treadmill

While many exercisers think of the treadmill as high-impact and the elliptical as low-impact, it’s important to understand that low impact doesn’t mean low intensity. Using the cross-trainer handlebars and increasing the resistance on an elliptical trainer can be equally as intense as a run on the treadmill. You can determine your exact intensity levels by using a heart rate monitor.

— Life Fitness

New Research: Life expectancy gaps

At present, the life expectancy gap between countries is 36 years, and there is ample evidence that in all countries of the world –– whether low-, middle- or high-income –– an individual’s health status is largely determined by his socio-economic position. With the right mix of government policies, and through coordinated action on the local, national and international levels, the existing gaps could be narrowed.

— World Health Organization

Did You Know?

Results from a clinical trial in Africa of a malaria vaccine candidate show it prevented about half of malaria cases, including the most severe, in young children. — CDC

Number to Know

$1.90: The cost of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States in 2006 reached $223.5 billion, or about $1.90 per drink, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers found the costs largely resulted from losses in workplace productivity (72 percent of the total cost), health care expenses for problems caused by excessive drinking (11 percent), law enforcement and other criminal justice expenses related to excessive alcohol consumption (9 percent) and motor-vehicle crash costs from impaired driving (6 percent).

Children’s Health: TV profanity linked to aggression

Teens exposed to profanity in television and video games are more likely to use profanity themselves, a known risk factor for increased physical and relational aggression, according to a November 2011 Pediatrics study. The results showed a direct link in the viewing of media with high profanity, profanity use and subsequent aggression. According to the study authors, the findings provide continued support for ratings and content warnings surrounding profanity use in the media.

— American Academy of Pediatrics

Boomer Health: Go4Life campaign

Being physically active is vital to maintaining health and independence as we age, and a new federal campaign for people 50 and older will help them to get active and keep going. Introduced by the National Institutes of Health, the Go4Life campaign encourages sedentary older adults to reap health benefits by making physical activity part of their daily lives.

Crazy Full Body Workout on Treadmill

Is Treadmill Better than Outside Running

Treadmills are some of the most widespread aerobic machines known to humans. At gym centers, they are usually displayed in rows, typically facing flat screen televisions, or better yet, carrying their own TV sets. There is a reason for their popularity: it’s because treadmills are in very high demand. It is not uncommon to have to wait for your turn during peak hours.

For the millions of health club members, a treadmill is a cardio workout equipment they simply cannot pass up. But the question is: is the treadmill machine really that effective? How does it compare with running outside?

Is Treadmill better than outside running?

Generally speaking, you can get a comparable aerobic workout on the treadmill as you would through outdoor running, as long as you dispense the same level of effort on the treadmill as you do running outside. Please note that I said effort, rather than speed. If your speed on the treadmill machine is exactly the same as for your outdoor running exercise, then you would be burning less calories running on the treadmill. This is because when you run outside, you are exposed to different environmental factors that are completely non-existent on a treadmill. For example, when you run outside, you are subject to wind resistance, and uneven terrain. When you are on a treadmill machine, the ground is actually being moved underneath you, rather than the opposite. Also, the flat surface of the treadmill never changes. This means you are exerting much less effort on the treadmill than you would if you were running outside.

In order to make up for the lack of wind resistance on the treadmill, you may want to raise the incline to level 1 or level 2. However, making this adjustment does not fix the fact that the treadmill surface remains a flat terrain. But if you are just exercising as part of your daily workout routines (rather than for a competition), a treadmill should be fine as long as you challenge yourself enough by raising the incline level. Feel the change in your heart rate when you make that adjustment. You should experience a noticeable increase in your heart beats.

Treadmill versus outside running: should I Train on a treadmill?

If you are training for a marathon, I would recommend running outdoors, rather than training on a treadmill. You want to train in the race conditions as closely as you possibly can. When you run outdoors, you go uphill, but also downhill. You can‘t run downhill on a treadmill. Also, when you run outdoors, you make turns to the left and to the right, which is impossible on a treadmill. This means you are using less muscle groups when you run on a treadmill than when you run outside.

Beyond the physiological benefits of running outdoors, you also get to enjoy the weather and the beautiful scenery. It keeps you more motivated because you can run side by side with a partner, and you can change routes. I know a lot of people who give up exercising because they claim that they do not have a workout partner. To those people, I say: find a workout buddy with whom you can run outdoors.

If you have no choice but to train on the treadmill, just keep in mind that the calorie counter on the treadmill machine does not display accurate numbers. The ultimate test of your endurance is how much you push yourself.

One exercise I fancy on the treadmill is as follows: I set the incline at level 15 (the maximum incline level), then I alternate between 30 seconds of running at 5 miles per hour, and 30 seconds of walking at 1 mile per hour. I keep alternating between running and walking for a good half hour. I feel the burn after this particular aerobic exercise as it pushes me to my limits. I recommend you try this aerobic and strength training workout some time. If you are a beginner, I suggest you set the treadmill incline level at 6 or 7.

That’s it on the topic of running outside versus on a treadmill. No matter where you do your workout (whether indoors or outdoors), I suggest you always push yourself as much as you can. That’s the only way you can achieve your weight loss goals. Good Luck!

Treadmill desks may help get office workers moving

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Are you sitting down now? At your desk?

Maybe you shouldn’t be.

Sion Lee isn’t.

Lee, a 32-year-old graphic and Web designer in Las Vegas, has replaced his regular desk with a TrekDesk treadmill desk. Instead of sitting, he spends his days walking at about 2 mph, a pace that lets him talk on the phone without breathing hard and use his computer without falling off.

A growing body of research suggests that sitting for long periods, say an eight- or nine-hour workday, can contribute to health problems, even if you hit the gym before or after. For Lee, a treadmill desk is the right balance of work and play.

One observer sees merit in Lee’s motion.

“Sitting is bad for you, no doubt about it,” said Ray Squires, program director for the Mayo Clinic’s cardiovascular health and rehabilitation center in Rochester, Minn. “The longer you are sedentary, the longer you sit, the greater your chances to develop cardiovascular disease, to die from any cause, to develop markers for diabetes.”


Women who sit six hours a day during leisure time have a 40 percent higher rate of dying from all causes than do women who sit fewer than three hours, according to an American Cancer Society study reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology last year. For men in the same scenario, the sitters’ death rate was 20 percent higher.

Another study reported last year in the Australian journal Circulation found that each hour adults spend daily watching television — a famously sedentary pastime — increases their all-causes death risk by 11 percent, cancer death risk by 9 percent and cardiovascular disease-related death risk by 18 percent. The research concluded that besides promoting exercise, future chronic disease prevention strategies could focus on reducing sitting time.

Marc Hamilton of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center told The New York Times earlier this year that sitting people’s calorie-burning drops to about 1 calorie per minute and their bloodstream triglyceride levels plunge, causing a rise in LDL, or bad cholesterol.

Monica Lounsbery, professor and director of the physical activity policy research program in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ department of kinesiology and nutrition sciences, said sitting has increased markedly in recent decades in four big life phases: work, leisure, transportation and household. In essence, she said, we’ve engineered the activity out of our lives.

Even if people go to the gym and exercise vigorously for an hour three times a week, too much sitting may undo those benefits, she said.

Squires said treadmill deskwork isn’t meant as a substitute for the gym — you still need more intense activity to raise your heart rate and burn fat. But it can improve general fitness and reduce stress. Standing beats sitting, Lounsbery said, and walking is better still.

Carl Foster, director of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse’s human performance laboratory, said the desks could help users burn perhaps 200 to 300 calories a day.


In the United States in 2010, 53.1 million people used treadmills and treadmill sales reached $1.1 billion, Mike May, spokesman of the Silver Spring, Md.-based Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, said.

Steve Bordley, chief executive officer of Phoenix-based TrekDesk, doesn’t sell treadmills — he sells the desks, at about $480 delivered.

He said sales have tripled this year compared with last year. In 2010, he said, sales to Nevadans comprised 4 percent of sales, and this year sales in Nevada are up roughly 2 percent.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based office furniture giant Steelcase has sold 3,000 of its Walkstation combination desk-treadmills, first introduced in 2007, said Maren Channer, the company’s marketing manager for Healthcare and Fit Work. She said the company is on pace to double last year’s sales of 1,000 machines. However, she said, Walkstations account for less than 1 percent of Steelcase’s overall office furniture sales.

While growing in popularity, treadmill desks are still mainly in home offices. Bordley said about 80 percent of TrekDesks sell to individuals.

Size may be an issue for many companies. A TrekDesk, for example, is 6 feet long and about 3 feet deep — hard to fit into tightly packed cube farm.


Cost may be another deterrent. Lee, for example, said his TrekDesk and treadmill cost $1,000. A desk-treadmill combo sold by Fisher, Ind.-based TreadDesk sells for $2,500 to $2,700. Steelcase’s Walkstations sell for about $4,400.

Liability is another barrier.

Lou Landini, president of Las Vegas-based insurer Landini Associates Ltd., said treadmill desks could land a company in the same coverage class as athletic clubs and might send workers’ compensation premiums soaring.

“I’d really worry about the risk of injury,” Landini said. “If you have an office setting, it’s clerical. Usually the biggest thing you have to lift might be a box. You might get a paper cut or carpal tunnel (syndrome).

“If your insurance company found out you’re adding these things, they’d certainly nix it,” he added, “or they’d charge you so much you wouldn’t want to pay.”

The Mayo Clinic’s Squires said businesses may want to balance the benefits of healthier workers against lower health insurance premiums, outweighing other costs.

“Corporations have figured out that improving wellness in general is cost-effective,” Squires said. “It would be a surprise if in a few years we don’t have data show the cost advantages of this.”

Lounsbery and a team of UNLV researchers are planning to do that study, and will look for employers interested in buying equipment, recruiting experimental and control-group participants and paying data collection costs.

Meanwhile, there are users like Lee, who said his TrekDesk has preventive benefits. Lee said a family member developed leg blood clots from Factor V Leiden, an inherited genetic disorder that can cause irregular clotting. He learned he might be susceptible and that the disorder worsens if you sit. So, he set out to find a way to avoid sitting while he operated his humor and art website, notalwaysright.com.

“I remembered hearing about this, so I started Googling around,” he said.

Lee got his TrekDesk in November 2009 and said he uses it at least three hours a day. In the first week he had mild discomfort in his legs, ankles, calves, thighs and buttocks. His body was working out the kinks, he said.

“Initially the challenge was just trying to walk straight; it’s kind of easy to drift to the left or the right,” he said. “But, after a week or so, you get used to it. Now I have no problem. I’m on it, but I don’t even know I’m walking.”

Lee said he spends up to three hours at a time on his treadmill and feels better. He said he recommends the idea to his friends. Lounsbery, too, has an office treadmill desk. She said she uses hers, bought in December, for hours at a time, like Lee. And, like Lee, she reports feeling better.

“I hate sitting,” she said.

Sally Edwards, a triathlete and owner of Sacramento, Calif.-based training and education company Heart Zones USA, liked the idea of the treadmill desk. People are likelier to move more often if they can find engaging ways to move, she said.

But, she added, only people who use the treadmill desks regularly will benefit.

“Fifty percent of garage sales have some kind of exercise equipment in them,” Edwards said. “You go to a few and you’ll see elliptical trainers and ski climbers and stationary bikes. I wonder whether we’ll see these after a while, too.”

Gadget geekdom has usurped the cachet being active once had, Edwards said. And the treadmill desk may be just another gadget.

“I’m not sure if it wouldn’t be better not to just walk away from your desk and go out and get some fresh air and sunlight on your body, or grab a friend so you could engage with someone, and walk around the block and unplug from all the electronics,” she said. “We’re so plugged in now, when are we ever free? This treadmill desk may be another way to not be free; you’d be tethered to the treadmill at your desk.

But, she said, “If people do it, it’s better than nothing.”

All fitness levels find common bond on treadmill

You can learn a lot about health and fitness just by walking on a treadmill in a gym.

Yes, I know there are many other places to learn about ways to improve your health. I’m just saying a treadmill in a gym is one of them.

When I’m working out alongside others in a gym, I only feel comfortable chatting with people who are using stationary bikes or who are walking — not running — on treadmills. I figure if you’re running, you’re probably pretty serious about your workout and you probably don’t want to carry on a conversation with someone.

Since I seldom ride bikes, I mostly talk to people on treadmills. I like hearing about my comrades’ success stories — how exercise makes them feel better and has helped them lose weight.

A woman recently told me she had lost five pounds in just a couple of weeks. She lost weight, partly I assume, because of her workouts but also because she had cut down on sodas — she said she was down to one a week — and potatoes. She also had switched to whole-wheat tortillas.

She said she didn’t like “diet food,” but it sounded as though she had found ways to tweak her diet so she was losing weight and eating better.

Good for her.

Talking to people on treadmills at gyms is a fun way to exchange information about health and fitness. I had never heard of whole-wheat tortillas until my fellow gym member enlightened me.

One man told me about some kind of abdominal “cruncher” device he uses instead of doing crunches or sit-ups. It sounds like something I might be interested in. I just have to remember to look for one when I’m shopping.

The man, who is in his late 60s, likes to keep track of how many calories he burns and how many miles he walks when he exercises. I think the practice often motivates him to try and surpass his previous totals. In other words, it motivates him to do more and improve his fitness level.

Good for him.

Although we fitness enthusiasts aren’t experts, we all have one thing in common: We’re all looking to improve our health, for whatever reason.

Good for us.


4 Tips to getting a better treadmill workout

Treadmills can help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals; but are you getting the best workout from this helpful piece of exercise equipment? Many treadmill runners are unaware of the many features different models offer, as well as several speed and interval tricks.
Are you one of the many people who will hop on the treadmill, run at the same speed for 30 minutes, and jump off? Don’t worry, you’re still burning calories, but here are 4 tips to getting a better treadmill workout.

Incline: Believe it or not, running with a 0% grade on the treadmill is the equivalent of running downhill. The reason for this is the treadmill actually does half the run for you. Every time you put a foot down the tread actually extends your leg automatically, the only thing you have to do is flex your hip and put your foot back down. To compensate for this put the treadmill at a 1.5 to 2% grade to match the energy output of running outdoors.

Intervals: Interval training can be done on a treadmill through short high-speed periods, followed by a short rest cycle throughout your workout. This can involve running to walking, running to jogging or even different paces of walking. Try starting with a work/rest ratio of 1 to 2. For example, run hard for a minute and rest for 2. This will make your workout much more efficient.

Speed: Make sure you are challenged. Nothing bothers me more than clients that do not push themselves. If running a 6.5 miles/hour is easy, run faster. If walking at 3mph is easy, walk faster!

Random: I’ve always liked the random workouts on a treadmill. You set the speed where you are comfortable and let the treadmill change the grade randomly. This gets extremely challenging after a few minutes and will count as interval training.

Go get on the treadmill but don’t forget to strength train and stretch, there is more to fitness than cardio!