5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Treadmill

Treadmills have the worst reputation out of all gym equipment. Many call it useless or a mindless workout, while the term itself has become synonymous with endless repetition.

Yet, knowing how to use a treadmill means the difference between wasting time and burning calories. Rather than just turn it on, keep it flat, and move at a leisurely pace, try out these tips:

Aim for an Incline

When you’re having to walk uphill, you end up working harder, which in turn brings your heart rate up and burns more calories.

It’s a good idea to either put the treadmill at a steady incline or to do intervals. For the former, make sure that the angle is one you can keep up with; that is, you can scale it reasonably without having to grip the handle bars.


Speaking of intervals, selecting this setting gets as close to natural walking as possible. In real life, you change speeds, moving faster and going slower, while, at other times, you go uphill first and down another moment. So, when you select this setting, you’re essentially exaggerating your natural pace.

Run Rather Than Walk

As another helpful tip, push yourself to move faster. The body tends to burn more calories when you get out of your comfort zone. If you’re typically a walker, start jogging on the treadmill, preferably with the incline settings mentioned above. If you’re more of a light jogger, amp it up with a quicker, running-based workout.

Add Something Extra

Beyond just using the treadmill, experts suggest incorporating weights or other cardiovascular activities.

What can you do? Some recommend a set of light hand weights, which you can then use for shoulder presses and bicep curls. Or else, after you’ve gotten tired of the weights, do some push-ups and tricep dips in between treadmill sessions.

Check Your Setting

Some treadmills have a high-tech look to them, allowing you to watch how many calories you’ve burned, see your heart rate, and select from multiple settings.

Although helpful at a glance, these features, some experts claim, aren’t as accurate as you think they are. Particularly, avoid any “fat burn” option – you’re not actually working any harder or shedding additional fat.

Too, with the display, what you should be looking at is the heart rate. Based upon your level, aim for the following:

  • Beginner: 50% to 65% of your heart rate.
  • Intermediate: 60% to 75%
  • Advanced: 70% to 85%

Whether you’re working out on your own, or desire group exercise classes, North Haven Health & Racquet’s facilities allow you to expand your workout routine. Come try out our treadmills and other gym equipment, or sign up for a group class and start working with a personal trainer today to accelerate your results.