Is treadmill walking right for you? You probably already know that daily exercise is important; in fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get about 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each day.1 With so many types of physical activity to choose from, you might feel overwhelmed. You might have a hard time getting to the gym at a specific time for an aerobics class, and the thought of training for a marathon might be more than you can bear. You might be surprised to learn that simply walking on a treadmill can provide a wide range of benefits. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages of treadmill walking.
1. Treadmill Walking Is Convenient
Walking on a treadmill is an activity that can be enjoyed any day of the year at any time of day, no matter what the weather. It doesn’t matter if it’s freezing cold, swelteringly hot, or pouring buckets; your treadmill is accessible and ready to go. You also don’t have to go anywhere other than to the room where you keep your machine. Get up early, put on your sneakers, and squeeze in a workout. You could walk while taking a break from your work-from-home job, or you can do it after you put the kids to bed without leaving them home alone. The same cannot be said about driving to the mall to walk indoors or even taking a walk around your own neighborhood. You can also pick up a high-quality treadmill for an excellent value.
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2. Treadmill Walking Boosts Your Physical Health
Like all aerobic exercise, treadmill walking can make you healthier. One of the most obvious advantages is that it can improve your heart health. Raising your heart rate through exercise, even if it’s only three 10-minute sessions per day, can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.2 You might experience a reduction in your blood pressure, which is important if it’s high. Getting enough exercise can even raise your HDL cholesterol, which is “good” cholesterol. This can, in turn, lower your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, which is important for a strong heart and flexible arteries. 3
In addition to improving your heart health, regular exercise can help you breathe more easily, can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, and might even make you less likely to develop certain types of cancer. Treadmill walking, when combined with a healthy diet, can also help you lose weight, which is important if you are overweight or obese.
3. Treadmill Walking Can Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
Regular exercise like treadmill walking does more than improving your physical health: It can also improve your mental health. Walking on your treadmill can stave off the symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety and depression. In fact, for those with mild forms of these conditions, walking regularly can be just as effective as taking medication.4 This might be even more important during the long, cold days of winter when it might be difficult to get out regularly for walks outdoors. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, sometimes abbreviated as SAD, and ensuring you walk each day can improve symptoms.
Of course, the caveat here is that you should talk to your doctor if you are dealing with any mental health issues. Do not stop taking any medications without advice from your mental health professional, and talk to your primary care physician if you do not already have a mental health professional.
4. Treadmill Walking Allows You to Customize Your Workout
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If you were thinking that walking on a treadmill would be a boring, generic type of workout, think again! Today’s modern treadmills generally allow you to customize your experience. You can increase or decrease the speed, raise or lower the incline, and set up programs that will make these adjustments throughout the course of your exercise session. You can easily set up interval training, where you walk slowly for a period of time, then speed-walk for a set number of minutes. You can also program a warm-up and a cool-down to reduce the chances of muscle injuries.
5. Treadmill Walking Often Includes Monitors and Safety Devices
If you are new to exercising or if you need to track your heart rate for training or health purposes, a treadmill might be the perfect piece of equipment for you. Most treadmills include heart monitors; you can simply place your hands on the monitors and the machine will keep track of your heart rate. If you’re simply interested in how many calories you’re burning, that can also be monitored and even recorded on a treadmill. In addition, treadmills have safety features, including a strap that you can wear around your waist that will alert the machine if you fall. In that case, the treadmill will immediately stop running. This is a feature meant to reduce the incidence of injury.
Whether you work out daily or you are just beginning to explore the options available when it comes to getting or staying in shape, a treadmill is a good investment. Today’s treadmills will last for years and they come with a lot of bells and whistles that can make your workout fun, effective, and safe. In addition, you’ll enjoy all of the benefits of walking outdoors without having to expose yourself to the elements during the less pleasant days of the year. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program to be sure that it’s safe for you.
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- How much physical activity do adults need? CDC.gov. Published Oct 7, 2020. Accessed Aug 12, 2021.
- Stelter, Gretchen. Spring is a great time to start exercising. Michigan State University Extension. Published 11 Apr 2016. Accessed 15 Sep 2021.
- Preventing High Cholesterol. CDC.gov. Published January 31, 2020. Accessed August 12, 2021.
- Exercise for Stress and Anxiety. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Published March 13, 2021. Accessed August 12, 2021.