3 Awesome Beginner Treadmill Workouts

Treadmills—in some form or another—have been around for generations. The original ones, called treadwheels, were an animal-powered motor used for farming. The modern version of the treadmill, historically used to punish misbehaving prison inmates, was first used for exercise in 1952, when Robert Bruce and Wayne Quinton at the University of Washington in Seattle had their patients walk on it so they could monitor their heart function.

In the decades since, the treadmill has become one of the most popular pieces of cardio equipment in a gym. And for good reason—when it comes to burning calories and losing weight, research has shown that the treadmill is the most effective.

During the cold snowy months, treadmills offer a great option to maintain your running routine and improve your fitness. They also offer a controlled environment so you can focus all of your attention on the workout. Get out of the cold and try these treadmill workouts this winter.

Cardio Intervals

Cardio intervals dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness while burning lots of calories. This workout increases the volume of blood your heart pumps with each beat (stroke volume) and the volume of blood your heart pumps each minute (cardiac output). It's like strength training for your heart.

- Warm-up by jogging for 10 minutes.
- Run two minutes at 90 to 95 percent of your max heart rate (9 to 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10), followed by two minutes jog recovery. Repeat the run-recovery cycle three times.
- Cool down by jogging for 10 minutes.

More: Target Heart Rate Calculator

Endurance Tempo

The endurance tempo is a comfortably hard aerobic effort that's great for burning fat. The pace corresponds to your lactate threshold—the fastest speed you can maintain that is still purely aerobic, with no anaerobic contribution. You should be breathing hard but still able to speak a few words to a sentence at a time.

- Warm-up by jogging for 10 minutes.
- Run 10 to 15 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your max heart rate (7 to 8 on a scale of 1 to 10).
- Cool down by jogging for 10 minutes.

Sprint Intervals

Sprint intervals increase your muscle power and speed by recruiting your fast-twitch muscle fibers and calling on your anaerobic metabolic pathways that don't use oxygen. They also help define and sculpt your muscles.

- Warm-up by jogging for 10 minutes.
- Sprint for 15, 30 and 45 seconds at a nearly all-out effort with two minutes jog recovery after each sprint. Repeat the sprint-recovery cycle one or two more times.
- Cool down by jogging for 10 minutes.

Embrace the treadmill with these awesome workouts this winter. If you train consistently enough, you'll not only get fit fast and burn a ton of calories, you'll be able to outrun those misbehaving prison inmates.

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About the Author

Jason R. Karp, Ph.D.

Dr. Jason Karp is one of the foremost running experts in America, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 2014 recipient of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership award, and creator of the Run-Fit Specialist certification. He holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. A prolific writer, he has more than 200 articles published in international running, coaching, and fitness magazines, is the author of five books, including Running for Women and Running a Marathon For Dummies, and is a frequent speaker at international fitness and coaching conferences. Follow Jason on Twitter @drjasonkarp and Facebook at DrJasonKarpRunFit.

Dr. Jason Karp is one of the foremost running experts in America, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 2014 recipient of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership award, and creator of the Run-Fit Specialist certification. He holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. A prolific writer, he has more than 200 articles published in international running, coaching, and fitness magazines, is the author of five books, including Running for Women and Running a Marathon For Dummies, and is a frequent speaker at international fitness and coaching conferences. Follow Jason on Twitter @drjasonkarp and Facebook at DrJasonKarpRunFit.

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