Treadmills are common when it comes to cardiovascular exercise. Jogging or running on this handy exercise tool can both burn extra calories and make the heart rate soar. But power walking on the treadmill can also be effective. This simple, easy form of cardio can add variety to a fitness routine while blasting away unwanted pounds.
Before beginning a treadmill session, always perform a warm-up. Warm-ups do exactly what they indicate—help warm-up the muscles and prepare them for physical activity by elevating the heart rate, allowing blood circulation and elevating body temperature. Warm up for at least five minutes with a slow-paced walk, or performing simple stretches. Once the muscles are warm it is safe to begin exercising.
Step carefully onto the treadmill and adjust the speed to a moderate walking pace. Continue adjusting the speed level until at a speed of approximately 3.4 to 3.7 and walk at this pace for roughly five minutes.
While continuing to walk at a brisk pace, raise the arms until the forearms are at a level parallel to the elbows; form the hands into loose fists. Avoid clenching the fists too tightly as doing so may prevent proper circulation. Swing the arms back and forth, making sure that the left arm swings out while the right foot is forward and that the right arm swings out while the left foot is forward. This creates a steady rhythm and pattern of movement to follow with each step. The striding of the foot and pumping of the arms should be done with exaggerated movements to keep up momentum. Power walk at this speed for 20 minutes.
Gradually adjust the treadmill to simulate an uphill incline, while keeping the legs and arms steadily moving. After arriving at the desired incline, adjust the treadmill speed to an increased pace of approximately 4.2 to 4.6. This speed may vary depending on fitness levels–adjust accordingly. Power walk at this speed for approximately 10 minutes.
Now gradually turn off the incline adjustment until walking at a level pace at a reduced speed of 3.5. Walk at this speed for two or three minutes; reduce the speed to 2.5 until gradually bringing the treadmill to a stop.
Conclude the power walking session by performing a five minute cool-down stretch. Cooling down afterward is essential to prevent post-workout muscle tightness and soreness.
Although power walking on the treadmill is considered low impact, it may be too intense for those with joint issues or other health conditions. But for those for whom this exercise is safe, performing 30-minute treadmill power walking sessions three times a week can provide an uncomplicated way to help with weight management.