Whether you are working out on your home treadmill, or you go to the gym and use their treadmills, treadmills are one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment.
Especially during the cold winter months, having a treadmill is a complete life saver.
Whether you walk or run on a treadmill, whether your exercise on a treadmill to lose weight or you exercise on a treadmill to train for an upcoming marathon, you can increase your results in a variety of areas by 100+%.
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To do this, you simply need to utilize the treadmills incline capabilities.
Even if you exercise on an incline for 1/4th of your workout, the results and benefits are going to be much better.
Working out on an incline provides a wide variety of benefits. Some of the benefits are obvious, and others you may not have thought of.
The purpose of this article is to explain the top 5 benefits of exercising with your treadmill in an inclined position.
We recommend that if you are just starting out and you have never really used the incline feature, you should try to exercise on an incline for on quarter of your total workout.
Eventually, you should aim to exercise on an incline for half of your total workout. Today’s treadmills often come with programmed workouts that automatically incline the treadmill for you at different times throughout your workout, so this should not be an issue.
Lets take a look at some of the top benefits of exercising on an incline.
The Top 5 Benefits to Working Out on an Inclined Treadmill
#1 – Strengthens Your Heart
It is recommended that you keep your heart rate in a targeted heart rate range while working out. That range should be around 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Working out on a treadmill on incline is an excellent way to do this.
Keeping your heart rate elevated throughout a workout comes with many benefits.
The first benefit is that you burn more calories when your heart is beating faster.
The second benefit is that your blood flows much faster and gets the needed oxygen and nutrients to your muscles while working out.
The third benefit is that it makes your heart stronger. In return, this lowers your blood pressure, which an excellent benefit. The reason working out on an incline strengthens your heart so much is because it is pumping blood much faster and harder while working out. This strengthens your heart, meaning it does not need to pump as hard to get blood through your body while not working out.
The more you exercise on an incline and keep your heart rate in an elevated range, the stronger and stronger your heart becomes and the lower your blood pressure becomes.
#2 – Allows you to Burn Many More Calories
Many people choose a daily walking routine to shed those extra pounds they are carrying around. While walking is effective at burning calories, throwing an incline into your walk is going to dramatically increase the amount of calories you burn during your walking routine.
Depending on the grade of the incline, it is possible to burn 100+% calories as opposed to walking on just a flat treadmill.
Studies have shown that walking on a treadmill that is fully inclined (usually 12-15%) for one mile burns more calories than if you were to run on a flat treadmill surface for one mile.
Here is a general guideline for an average 150 pound person. Every 1% grade added to the incline equals around 10 extra calories burned per mile.
Once you get comfortable with walking or running on an incline, you should try to make sure half of your workout is done on some type of incline.
Most treadmills, even if it is a budget treadmill, come equipped with pre programmed workout programs that incorporate incline into your workout automatically. Using these workout programs are going to help you increase your calorie burn.
If you have never used the treadmills incline feature, you should take it easy and slowly start to incorporate some incline into your workouts.
This does not mean put the treadmill at max incline and try to do your entire routine with it there.
Take small steps and you eventually will be able to get to that max incline position, which will result in 2x – 5x the calorie burn.
#3 – Strengthens and Tones your Muscles
Don’t worry females this does not mean you will be walking around with big bulging manly leg muscles!
The muscle fibers that get triggered and worked by walking or running on an incline are you slow twitch muscles. This is what makes your muscles tone. Fast twitch muscle fibers is what adds bulk to your muscles, so no worries on the manly looking legs.
Walking or running on an inclined treadmill tones more than just your legs muscles. Doing this will tone up your calf, thigh, and glute muscles.
Obviously the greater the incline and the longer period of time exercising on that incline equals faster results and more toned muscles.
This is a nice added benefit of exercising on an incline. This can eliminate the need to lift weights in order to tone your legs up, if that is currently part of your workout regime.
#4. Increased Overall Stamina – Body, Heart, Mind Etc…
This is another great benefit of working out on an inclined treadmill. Not only does this build stamina up in your legs, but it also build stamina in many other areas.
The obvious are where stamina is built up is your legs. From your calves up to your upper thighs, walking or running on an inclined treadmill will certainly build a lot of stamina in these areas.
Another area that this will built up stamina in is your heart. When you are exercising on an incline, your heart rate will be much higher than if you were working out on a flat surface. This means that your heart is working harder and harder, making it become stronger and stronger.
This is an excellent way to lower blood pressure. Over time, you heart will have strengthened to the point where it will not need to beat as fast or as hard in order to distribute blood throughout your body.
Another area where stamina is increased is in your lungs. Again, while working out on an inclined treadmill, your lungs will be working much harder than if you were on a flat surface. In return, your lungs are going to become stronger and more conditioned.
This is a good way to train for longer runs such as 5k, 10k, or marathons.
Finally, your mind/brain will also build stamina by exercising on an incline. Working out on an incline is much harder than a flat surface, and by doing so, you are going to be pushing your mind and body to places you have potentially never pushed before.
This means you are going to train and show your brain that your body can do these much more intense workouts. Your brain is usually what keeps you from pushing yourself as far as you can while working out.
Your mind tells you that you cannot do it, therefore you do not do it. Working out on an incline is going to show and train your brain to tell you that you can do it.
#5 – Decreases the Amount of Time you need to Workout
In today’s world, it seems everybody has a jam packed schedule with little time to workout.
As you know, a daily workout routine, even if it is just 30 minutes, is extremely beneficial to your overall health, especially if you sit at a desk for 8-10 hours a day at your job.
When you workout on an incline, you are getting 2x or more the benefits as if you were working out on a flat surface. Therefore if you usually workout for 1 hour, you can now cut that down to just 30 minutes.
This is excellent for those who have a very tight schedule and often find it hard to find time to fit exercise into your day. The truth is, you can get a great workout done in just 15 minutes of high intensity exercise on an inclined treadmill.
Set the treadmills incline as high as you can handle, and if you are a walker, make sure you walk at a fast pace for those 15 minutes. If you are a runner, try to run a little faster than usual.
If you can do this for the full 15 minutes, you are going to get the same if not more benefits than if you walk or ran on a flat treadmill for 30-45 minutes.
As you can see, the benefits to working out on an inclined treadmill are not just health benefits.
There you go, 5 of the main benefits of working out on an inclined treadmill. If you have not incorporated the incline function of your treadmill into your workouts, we recommend that you begin doing so immediately.
Whether it is for just one or two of the reasons we talked about, you are still going to be gaining the rewards from all the benefits we discussed.
If weight loss is your main goal, then you are really going to benefit from inclining your treadmill. Pair this daily with a solid diet program, and you will be shedding much more weight than you previously have been.
This is also a great idea for those who have hit the dreaded weight loss plateau. This will be introducing something new to your body, and the intensity or exercising on an incline might just be what you need to break through that plateau.
If your blood pressure is high, doing this is a good way to lower it. Start including an incline into your workouts and track your blood pressure to see the results.
Short on time? Workout on an incline for half the amount of time you usually workout and you will still reap the benefits as if you worked out for the full amount of time on a flat surface.
The benefits go on and on…. good luck and get your treadmill into that inclined position as soon as possible.