Walking on a treadmill provides convenient health benefits.
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Dreary weather, a busy schedule, poor road conditions: so many factors can get in the way of going outdoors for a walk. Treadmills, however, make it convenient to strengthen the legs without the hassle of variable outdoor conditions. Try incorporating multiple techniques so that you get a balanced workout and strengthen all the muscles of your lower body.
Sidestep Towards Strength
Walking sideways on the treadmill can strengthen your hips, inner and outer thighs and calves, as well as your abs and obliques, according to Shape. Before you try this technique, locate the kill switch or pulley on your treadmill so that you can turn the machine off if you lose your balance. Start by placing your right hand on the front handle and the left hand on the left railing, turning your body to the left. Shuffle your feet sideways, stepping foot to foot. Start slowly and increase the speed once you get the hang of the motion. Switch sides.
It's All Uphill From Here
Most treadmills have incline settings that mimic the conditions of a hill. Walking uphill provides a greater challenge and will encourage more muscle development than a flat surface. Inclines vary, and can be anywhere from 2 percent to 25 percent. You can also walk backwards, a technique which Shape claims will help strengthen the quads, glutes and calves. Try switching from walking forwards to walking backwards every two minutes, lowering the speed when you go backwards.
A Running Start
If you want to burn fat as well as strengthen, incorporate interval running into your routine. For a powerful 20-minute workout, Men's Health recommends running for two minutes at a slightly slower pace than your normal outdoor running pace and then increasing the incline to 4 percent for another two minutes. Raise the incline 2 percent every two minutes until you've reached an incline of 10 percent, then lower the incline 1 percent every two minutes.
Working Out, Make it Count
When you're walking forward, maintain proper posture by keeping your shoulders back, your head up and your gaze straight ahead, not at your feet. Let your arms move naturally by your sides. Holding onto the rails the whole time will lower the effectiveness of your workout. It can be enjoyable to watch television or listen to headphones, but don't get so distracted that you accidentally drift off the machine. Dizziness is common after using a treadmill, so step off carefully when you're done.