By: Dr. Phoenyx Austin
If the treadmill is your exercise machine of choice then you might be familiar with that dreaded feeling of boredom, watching the clock tick while your feet pound away, and your mind is screaming thoughts of “Dear God, when is this going to be over?!” But you know that it’s exercise, and that it’s good for you, so you keep chugging along because it’s not the treadmill’s fault that you’d rather be somewhere watching paint dry than having to stare at those blinking buttons on the console. And trust me, I know this mind numbing boredom all too well which is why I’ve since switched up my workout routine to less treadmill time and more group classes. But here’s the thing: It’s one thing if the treadmill just isn’t doing it for you anymore, but it’s another thing if the treadmill isn’t doing anything for your body either. And in the case of the latter, it’s definitely a sign that something’s gotta change.
So in other words, if you’ve continued to put in miles upon miles on a treadmill, but you aren’t seeing much change in your body, it’s pretty much a telltale sign that your body’s hit a plateau and you need to step things up a notch. How do you do that? Well, I’m about to show you a few exercise tricks, and even if you haven’t hit a fitness plateau per se, the following tips and tricks are still great ways to challenge your body and keep it guessing about what’s coming next- which incidentally, will also break dreaded treadmill boredom curse too! Because at the end of the day, there’s no law that says treadmill workouts have to be as vanilla as just running or walking faster. Now here are a few ways you can step up your treadmill workout:
1. Add interval training
If you’re familiar with things like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata intervals, then you’re well aware that a killer treadmill workout doesn't have to take forever. Here’s one sample tabata treadmill workout: Warm up first, then set the treadmill to 10 percent to 12 percent incline, and then ramp up the speed so you’re at a full sprint. Continue the sprint for 30 seconds and then slow down the speed to a 15 second light jog/walk. Repeat these high-low intensity intervals for 8-12 sets. All in all this type of workout will take less than 30 minutes, and you’ll end up torching more calories in less time.
2. Do the sideways shuffle
To do the sideways shuffle you’re going to set on the treadmill and face forward as usual. Then, with your right hand on the rail in front of you and your left hand on the left railing, turn out to the left so that the left railing is now in front of your body. Now, just as you would shuffle on flat ground, make the same shuffle motion- clicking foot to foot, moving sideways (do not cross your feet). The sideways shuffle is a really great way to improve balance, strength and your concentration. It’s also a nice way to work your hips, inner and outer thighs, calves, abs, and obliques. Just remember to spend an equal amount of time on your left side as you do your right side, and start at a slow pace. As you get better at the shuffle, you can bump up the speed and the resistance for a challenge.
3. Walk uphill, backwards
This move will take a little more concentration and you’ll have to walk at a slower speed, but I guarantee you won’t find yourself drifting off into space. Walking backwards uphill will help strengthen your quads, glutes and calves, and if you want to make things more challenging just switch up the speed and incline every few minutes, while switching between forward running and backward walking.
4. Walk with your arms above your head
You may end up looking a bit funny to fellow gym-goers, but speed walking with your arms overhead and/or moving your arms up and down throughout your. And if you want to step things up even more, do this move with the added weight of 5-10 pound dumbbells in each hand. Adding weight and arm movement is an excellent way to get your heart rate up, and you’ll have the added benefit of working out your arms too.
Do you have a few non-traditional treadmill moves you could share? Let me know in the comments! - Doc
Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, author, and creator of the fitness blog,DrPhoenyx.com. Check out Dr. Phoenyx’s awesome natural hair care book If You Love It, It Will Grow - available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. And don’t forget to say hello to the Doc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!