Treadmill training offers all sorts of benefits – from being able to exercise indoors during adverse weather conditions to provide some cushion to the joints (as opposed to pounding on concrete or asphalt). Running or walking on a treadmill can also most certainly strengthen the legs and improve cardiovascular health. Training with a treadmill also offers another advantage – and that is being able to use the incline and decline functions!
Benefits Of Treadmill Decline
A treadmill with both incline and decline feature allows you to simulate what you’d be experiencing outside while walking on rolling hills, although some treadmills don’t have a decline feature. This downhill grade option is wonderful, to not only prepare you for walking or running downhills but also to strengthen muscle groups in different ways.
Benefits of Treadmill Incline
The incline function on most treadmills typically ranges from 0-12%, although some of the more advanced treadmills can hit ranges upwards of 30-40%. These hill functions (measured as percentages instead of “levels”) allow you to train for inclines at any time of the year, especially at times when it’s cold or rainy outside and you’re not able to hit your local hiking/running trail. Updated research has even shown that if a treadmill is set to a 1% grade, it very closely imitates the same intensity that would be performed while running outside if running between a 5:21-7:30 mile pace.
Running or walking on a treadmill with incline can also promote many positive internal health benefits; of course, building up speed and incline over time is key if you’re a beginner – but you’ll reap the results! Training on a treadmill on a hill setting is going to burn more calories, and also helps to build strength and endurance in the leg muscles (think glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves) – and even more so if you’re not having to hold onto the handrails!
Burning fat is something that most people consider when they’re doing cardiovascular training, and working on the treadmill is no different. Thankfully though, training with incline and decline options provides a substantial increase in your fat-burning abilities! Research from Freemotion has noted that a person walking at a 3mph pace on a treadmill with a 16% grade burns approximately 70% more fat than someone who is walking on a flat surface.
Overall Health Benefits
Lastly, incorporating variations to the hill grade in your training programs can have a beneficial boost to your mental health – after all, it could be tedious to some to have to train inside on a treadmill…and if you’re someone that is prone to getting bored while walking or running without actually going anywhere, the time on the treadmill can drag! Inclines and declines, especially incorporated alongside changes in speed, can switch up the pace of your training run…and can help prevent boredom that might ensue – especially if you’re used to training on a flat surface for miles at a time!
Remember, if you’re a beginner, work your incline grade up slowly. You’ll soon notice better cardiovascular endurance, stronger legs, and possibly even a new appreciation for this indoor running machine!