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  Home » HOW TO TRAIN YOUR (TREADMILL) DRAGON !! By Shyam Amladi

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR (TREADMILL) DRAGON !! By Shyam Amladi

                                                  

Millions of us in the US and around the world get on a treadmill every day to improve our health and well-being. Over the years, treadmills have become fancier, more precise and more interactive. And yet, I wonder how many of us realize that we, as Briskwalkers, can actually “train” ourselves and our treadmill to design a better outcome relative to our health objective, whether it is calorie burn, pulse, and heartrate or leg muscles.

 

                                                     

Let us first understand the science of treadmill exercise. Two things matter. Velocity of motion or pace and elevation. For most of us, we achieve better health outcomes when we choose elevation over velocity.

Simply put, velocity on a treadmill is calculated in terms of miles per hour or minutes per mile. Elevation is the % grade (mostly incline, although some treadmill allow a descending grade choice).

Confused? Here is what I mean. The chart below gives the calorie burn for a 160 lb. individual at different levels of pace and elevation. Please read it and see if you can discern a pattern.

PACE (Minutes to cover one mile)

ELEVATION (%)

CALORIES BURNED IN ONE HOUR

20

0

247

20

2

311

20

6

436

17.14

4

423

15

2

390

 

What does the chart above infer?

Simply that you do not have to briskwalk at higher speeds if you don’t want to. You can achieve same or better calorie burn by increasing your grade incline on the treadmill. A 20-min mile (or “3” on your treadmill, meaning you can cover three miles in one hour) at a higher elevation burns more calories than a speedier pace at lower elevation.

This is what your typical (electronic) display looks like on your treadmill. Remember that treadmills are calibrated differently, and sometimes small variations in caloric burn count may occur when you compare the same stats on different treadmill. However, the differences should be minimal--within 5 calories.

Put another way, your heart pumps faster when you climb. There is a highly significant correlation between heart rate and Lactate, which is a temporary ‘neutralizer’ or ‘buffer’ to the cells elevated accumulation of protons during high-intensity exercise. Therefore, during graded, submaximal exercise increasing treadmill elevation up to 7 degrees results in increases in heart rate, blood lactate concentration and PCV comparable to those seen with increasing treadmill speed alone.

Here are some tips for getting the maximum out of your treadmill:

TO BURN MORE CALORIES

  • Change your treadmill routine frequently—at least 3 times a week. This means using different grades, speed and switching from manual to programmed  cycles, as shown on your treadmill console.
  • For workouts less than 45 minutes, increase the intensity by including speed intervals—i.e. increase the pace to jogging (14-15 minutes a hour) or running (11-12 minutes a hour).
  • Gradually increase your exercise time on the treadmill. As body begins to burn calories, and you sweat, you can slowly increase your routine by adding 5 minutes every other day or once a week, till you have doubled your time.
  • Use a mechanical treadmill. A good one is called Curve--see picture below. This treadmill routinely burns 20 % more calories because it uses your muscles (rather than electric power) to move the treadband.
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         MUSCLE STRENGTHING

  • Increase grade- it helps to focus the effect on legs, hamstrings and calves.
  • Leave the handlebars. You will notice that particularly on a grade, your heart pumps faster and your calf muscles work harder if you do not hold on to the handlebars. Be careful though if speeds is above 17 minutes to an hour—it is easy to miss a step and fall off. Letting go of the bars is a good way to work your upper body also.
  • Shuffle sideways. Incorporate side shuffles into your intervals - you may want to lower the platform and side shuffle for 30 seconds and repeat. "This works great for tightening up the outer and inner thighs," says Neal Pire, exercise physiologist at HNH Fitness, a medical facility in Oradell, New Jersey. If you're agile enough, try the grapevine, where you alternate crossing one foot and then the other in front of you in a crisscross side shuffle. "Hold on with one hand if you're unsure of your balance," says Pire. I would go further---unless you are absolutely sure of it, grip both handlebars.

So, in summary, the next time you get on your treadmill…………THINK and GET THE BEAST TO OBEY YOU!