There are many pieces of workout equipment to choose from. Find out what benefits treadmills offer and whether they are right for you.
Treadmills are popular exercise machines that allow you to run or walk while staying in the same location.
The benefits below include both advantages of the equipment itself and the positive effects of these ways of using them.
1. Treadmills can improve your cardiovascular health
Walking and running on a treadmill are types of cardiovascular workouts.
That means your treadmill sessions will mostly be challenging for your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
These body parts move a variety of substances throughout your body. When you move more intensely, your cardiovascular has to move more substance around.
This tends to be a good thing since challenging your cardiovascular system to safe extents can make it stronger over time.
Something to note is that as long as your body can handle the extra challenge, running on the treadmill tends to be more effective for improving cardiovascular health than walking.
At the same time, people who have been somewhat inactive up until now may want to play it safe and start with walking anyway. There are also ways to pressure your cardiovascular system too much.
2. Treadmills work a few muscles
It is still true that treadmill workouts tend to be cardiovascular workouts. However, while walking and running there are also a variety of skeletal muscles that have to work to some extent.
Most people will not actually grow their muscles by using a treadmill. At the same time, working your muscles can still be a good thing.
Some of the main muscles worked while using a treadmill are your:
- Glutes (butt)
- Hamstrings (back thighs)
- Quadriceps (front thighs)
- To some extent hip abductors (outer thigh muscles)
- To some extent hip adductors (inner thigh muscles)
- To some extent core muscles like your abs, obliques, and erector spinae
Working these muscles with treadmill workouts can improve muscle endurance, slow down degradation, and make the muscles healthier.
If you like the idea of these benefits, you could consider putting your treadmill on incline and/or wearing something like a good weighted vest to pressure your muscles to a larger extent.
That being said, if you are interested in getting muscle-related benefits, it tends to be smarter to implement some resistance training exercises.
3. Treadmills offer a predictable walking and running surface
Walking and running outside definitely has its own unique positive effects but it is worth mentioning that not everyone likes the uneven surfaces you experience there.
This can lead to more strengthening too but uneven surfaces do make it easier to injure yourself.
If you really want to avoid this, you may like the predictable walking and running surfaces treadmills offer.
You can confidently look forward knowing that you won’t encounter any bumps or holes on the treadmill
4. Treadmills can help you lose weight
While using this machine is not always enough in itself, treadmills can help you lose weight in combination with habits in other lifestyle areas that are good enough.
This is because walking and running tend to require more energy than standard daily activities.
In turn, this makes it easier to get to the point where your body burns more energy than is coming in from your diet. Additionally, treadmills could speed up your weight loss results by making the difference bigger.
As a rough example, the average person will burn around 266-457+ calories while running on a treadmill at 5.2 mph (8.4 kmh) for 30 minutes.
This rough prediction will likely not be exactly right but it does give an idea of how effective treadmills can be in this area.
If you are interested in losing weight by using a treadmill, you want to keep in mind that running tends to be a lot better than walking in terms of burning extra energy.
At the same time, running on a treadmill can be challenging for your body. Especially for people who are trying to lose some excess weight.
5. Treadmills are simple to use
There are many workouts and exercises that are somewhat challenging in terms of the technique or skills you need.
This can make it so you have to spend more time before getting the full health benefits of the activity. Additionally, technically challenging exercises can sometimes involve a decent injury risk if you don’t do them well.
That being said, you generally don’t have to worry about these things when using a treadmill.
Besides keeping your body somewhat upright and learning the controls of the machine, it is relatively easy to get started with treadmill workouts.
You don’t need the perfect walking or running technique to get a lot of positive effects.
6. Using a treadmill can improve bone density
Not many people are aware of it but your bones can actually change nice amounts in terms of strength.
There is one study that compared the bone mineral density of 60 cross-country runners and 47 non-running controls with similar age and BMI.
Their measurements implied that running is beneficial for bone mineral density (7). This should apply to treadmill workouts too.
In turn, making your bones stronger can help you avoid breaking them.
Younger individuals may not be that worried about broken bones right now but it can still be worth paying some attention to this aspect of their health.
This is because as you get older, it becomes harder to strengthen your bones.
By working on bone density early, you can save yourself from trouble in the future.
If you like this benefit, you want to get to a point where you can run on the treadmill. The harder shocks from running pressure your bones more than walking.
7. Treadmills make it easier to track workouts
While you don’t always need to track everything to get in a good workout, details like speed, incline, and heart rate can sometimes improve your exercise routine and offer more results.
Treadmills tend to display many of these details. Not only during the workout but also sometimes through workout tracking apps.
One disadvantage to note is that not all of these treadmill measurements are equally accurate. For example, you should not take the estimation of calories burned too seriously.
8. Treadmills allow you to run and walk inside
You typically have to walk or run outside to get in a good workout. Even so, treadmills allow you to do these activities inside too.
This can be helpful in the sense that cold, warm, or rainy weather will generally not mess with your exercise routine.
Additionally, if you have your own treadmill at home, you can save yourself a lot of time going to your local gym and back.
9. Easy to make your treadmill workout more entertaining
One reason why many people say no to walking and running is that they don’t enjoy these activities. Partly because they can be somewhat one-sided.
The treadmill does not necessarily change the walking and running itself but it does allow you to compensate for it in other ways.
More specifically, treadmills sessions are relatively easy to combine with watching a TV show or movie on a smart device, listening to music, or if you keep the speed low enough, catching up with friends and family.
Additionally, you may find the incline and decline options on treadmills just a bit more interesting than walking and running outside.
Something to note is that there are also many treadmill alternatives that offer valuable benefits too. You may enjoy using/doing some of these more.