How Often Should I Use the Treadmill?
By Simon Gould
Treadmill running is a great way of getting exercise in your day. Perhaps you know what speed you like to go but are wondering how often you should do it. Governments and health organizations around the world have very similar recommendations. Science has told us the amount of minutes that benefits us the most. How often you should aim is for 3 or more times per week for the best results.
What does the Government recommend?
The World Health Organization recommends 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. Jogging and running counts as vigorous. That sounds like quite a lot and it is. It will be a lifestyle change for some. You can do them in blocks of 10 minutes. The total amount of minutes aren’t set in stone, they’ve found the real benefits start at that amount as a minimum. You could do more if you wanted.
The 1 hour 15 minute recommendation equates to 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Or as I’ve mentioned above, you can spread that over 3 days if you want, this would be 25 minutes per day. It’s totally up to you. Doing what’s recommended will help you lose weight, improve circulation, and make you feel better mentally.
What is your fitness aim?
How often you should run on a treadmill is also dependant on what you want to get out of it. If you’re walking or running for weight loss then you can do 3 days a week. This will enable you to lose weight. This is the same for vigorous activity. Always spread your exercising throughout the week. Research shows this is the most beneficial way.
If you’re exercising for fitness then the days spent exercising are pretty much the same (at least 3 days a week). If you can do more than 1 hour and`15 minutes per week, you’ll get even greater health benefits ad fitness. This reaches its maximum at 2 hours 30 minutes. beyond that and the benefits don’t rise measurably further.
If you’re training for a race then you would need to do one of your runs per week outside. This is to prepare you for the difference in running outside to running on a treadmill. Otherwise at least 3 days a week remains the recommended aim. It’s this amount of time that will enable your exercising to progress as you extend your fitness levels.
Progression is the key for treadmill running
The exercises the CDC recommends they know can’t be achievable immediately. You’re going to have to work up to that amount of exercise time. For vigorous exercise that progress to 30 minutes per day I recommend using our couch to 5k treadmill plan. It’s been designed for people who have never run before or for a long time and will get you started.
The 2 hours 30 minutes of brisk walking could be done over 3 days if you work up to an hour on 2 days and 30 minutes on the 3rd. Running can be done the same way for 1 hour 15 minutes. You see you have to work and progress to reach it. While you’re doing that you can take it further. You will have been exercising for around 8 weeks to reach this point so you may as well see how far you can go.
If you’re doing the same thing once you get to the recommend physical activity time you will soon get bored. So look to exercising for a longer period of time or try speed training. High intensity interval training is beneficial on a treadmill. This will keep you motivated and make your runs more fun. You could try one long run per week to extend your stamina and endurance.
Don’t over do treadmill running and practice good form
When you do your treadmill runs. Make sure you look forward and don’t hold onto the handrails. Run just like you would outside to ensure your posture is correct. I say this because if you’re increasing the frequency of your runs, you need to ensure you don’t injure yourself by doing any bad habits. You need to think of everything when starting an exercise routine.
Make sure you buy proper running shoes even though you run on a treadmill. They are still needed and encourage proper running form and prevent injuries. This is especially the case if you’re running often like is recommended. When you buy running shoes, make sure they’re fitted for you, your feet and running style. Also, have a few days off treadmill running per week.
To summarize I recommend you should exercise on a treadmill 3 times a week or more. This way the CDC targets for physical activity per week are reachable. Remember not to just get on the treadmill and just walk and look at the time and leave after so many minutes. It’s the quality you need to think about. This is how you progress to running further and faster.
There are so many benefits to getting this exercise that it makes it worthwhile. It’s not recommended by a government organization for nothing. It’s a life extender and not just a new year’s resolution. If you can stick with it you reduce the chance of getting so many life limiting diseases. These are diseases that make your life miserable and can get you at an early age.
You reduce your risk of getting diabetes and many cardiovascular problems that can arise. For the treadmill make sure you get some decent walking or running shoes. Try and stick to a running plan to help you progress every week you exercise. To take it further you can even join a race or a charity run that you may want to support. Whatever you do make sure you enjoy your treadmill time then you will stick at it for longer.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*