How Do Inclines On A Treadmill Benefit Me?
By Simon Gould
One of the great things about treadmill are it's inclines. No other fitness equipment has such versatility, they can not simulate hills like a treadmill can. They can increase resistance but only a treadmill can tilt the actual running surface so you're running up a hill. The incline can be set very steeply for a tough uphill climb or low for a small rise. This feature gives many benefits:
Help you lose weight
The incline can help you burn calories quicker than walking/running on a flat treadmill. The fact that it's harder means it takes more energy to go the same speed. You often see people using the treadmill in gyms for this purpose. Power walking is especially beneficial for weight loss if done on an incline.
There are many workouts that use the incline to get you losing weight as a benefit. They can be used whether you're walking or running. Even if you're a beginner you can get some value out of treadmill hill workouts. The following are 2 workouts that you can try which are designed for weight loss, one is for walking and the other running:
Simulate exercising outside
The incline can be used to simulate the wind resistance you would normally get outside. A recent scientific study has shown that running outside is the same as running on a treadmill with the incline at 1%. This is a benefit to those who normally do their running outside so they can train seamlessly from outdoors to in.
Maybe it's dark outside or the weather is bad so running on a treadmill is the best alternative. If you do some speed workouts on a treadmill then you may want those to replicate the outdoors. There are also many advantages to running on a treadmill that can't be replicated outside. Professional runners will often use a treadmill this way so the incline can benefit many different people.
Strengthen and shapen legs and butt
As well as losing weight on the legs and butt the incline has the power to give you a toned lower body. When you use the incline and exercise into the anaerobic zone. This is at 80% and above your maximum heart rate your legs will strengthen and you'll get a pleasing shape. This also happens to the butt, this benefit starts immediately and get's better as the weeks go on.
You don't need to do this every time you get on a treadmill but once a week as part of your normal exercise routine and you will see the results. Just set the incline to very high like 8% or so and exercise on that for around a minute or two or until you can't go any further. Then reduce the incline so you can recover and when you have up the incline again. This type of training is called interval and is practised by many runners of all levels.
We don't mean the running outside part but if you know a race you're entering has a 1 mile uphill section, you can replicate it and it's steepness on a treadmill. This is useful if you can't practise on the route itself. You can run race pace and set the incline to whatever you need. You could even set the incline a little higher than the hill you've got to navigate so you get better practise.
There are some treadmills that can simulate declines but they are quite expensive. That is something you can't really replicate on a treadmill. The incline is a good tool to use in your exercise armory. Even those who normally just build muscle can use the treadmill for warm up and cool down cardio and toning of the lower body.
The incline on a treadmill allows you to do so much. It gives you a lot of variety in your exercise routines. You can even walk and expend a lot of energy by using the incline. It turns your walk into an aerobic workout which is great for your health and fitness. It means your workout is moderate exercise which the World Health Organization says gives you great health benefits.
When I've used my treadmill I've taken advantage of the incline. Some workout programs and speed routines use the incline and it's benefits. Although the incline is unique, it's advisable not to use it too much. Running on an incline for too long can cause injuries and is not natural. There are no permanent hills in nature, but sensible use of this feature can really help.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? See my top 3 recommended treadmills for 2021