When the temperatures rise into the high 30s and 40s in Australian summers, it can be challenging and even dangerous to exercise outside. You run the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and sunburns, to name just a few concerns. Not to mention the fact that it is just plain uncomfortable to work out in the heat. However, this doesn't mean that you can't still stay in shape.
Getting a treadmill for your home and working out indoors allows you to get plenty of exercise in the comfort of your air conditioning. If you’re thinking about buying a treadmill but worried you may tire of the same walking or running workout day-in-day-out to make use of it – that’s an understandable concern. However, rest assured there's so much more that you can do on a treadmill than just run or walk. Read on for some of our favourite alternative treadmill exercises to give you a full-body workout.
Start at a slow pace until you are comfortable with the movement. You can always increase the speed later, but for these strength exercises, slow and controlled is better than faster with sloppy form.
The first two exercises in this section utilise the treadmill's motion. The last exercise is performed with the machine turned off.
Start from a standing position. When you near the end of the belt, take a large step forward and lower down into a lunge. Make sure that your front knee stays in line with your ankle; do not allow it to come forward past your toes. Push off your back foot to step forward into another lunge on the opposite leg. Feel free to loosely hold the side handles if you need help balancing, but try to resist the urge to rely on them to propel yourself out of each lunge. Start with one-minute intervals with two minutes of walking in between, working up to longer intervals as your legs get stronger.
Standing sideways on the belt with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower into a squat. Holding the squat position, step sideways with your front foot to widen the squat. Then step forward with your rear foot to return to shoulder-width distance. Repeat for one minute. Take a two-minute walking break, then repeat for one minute on the other side. To make this exercise more challenging, increase the incline on the treadmill.
Mountain Climber Presses
This exercise is performed with the machine turned off, instead using the treadmill deck as a sort of resistance band.
Start in a push-up position with your feet on the belt and your hands on the floor behind the treadmill. Bring one knee up toward your chest. Pushing back through your toes, slide the treadmill belt backward as you bring your other knee forward. Make sure that your shoulders don't come forward past your wrists. Start with 10 presses on each leg with a one-minute rest between sets. Because the machine is turned off, you don't need to worry about damaging the mechanisms. To increase the challenge, perform a push-up every few steps.
Your legs are used to propelling you forward in your daily activities, so give your leg muscles a challenge by walking or jogging backwards on the treadmill. Start off slowly until you get a feel for it and use the side handles for balance. Bump up the incline for more of a challenge.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
You don’t have to rack up long 10km runs to get a good treadmill workout. High-intensity interval training is a great way to torch calories and burn fat in a short amount of time. The goal is to alternate bursts of hard work with periods of recovery. For a basic HIIT workout, start with a few minutes of light jogging for warm-up. Once your muscles are loose and your heart rate is elevated, sprint for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of walking. Start with 5 minutes, and work your way up to 15. Walk until your heart rate has returned to normal.