Treadmill Cardio Conditioning for Beginners

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If you are new to working out on a treadmill, the chances are you are starting out with a low level of fitness.  That’s ok – what’s needed is to come up with a training program and stick to it.
That could be something like a day on and a day off to begin with and then slowly increasing the number of the days you work out and the amount of time you devote to each training session.  It’s totally up to you.  The thing to remember is not to get lazy and skip a training session.  In the end, if you work out daily your fitness level will increase and you will be in a better shape sooner than you expected.
Running or walking can be a great form of cardio exercise but can easily go downhill when it becomes repetitive and unexciting.  Try some of these tips to spice up your workouts:
  1.  Make a fitness playlist for your ipod or mp3 - music is a great motivator.
  2.  Warm up -  warming up allows your muscles to loosen up and prepare your mind and body for a rigorous workout.  Try starting off at a comfortable speed and then increase the speed by one every 1 to 2 minutes for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Cool down - it’s important to cool down so your heart rate and breathing recovers back to normal.  Try going back to your base pace, and decrease the speed by one every 1 to 2 minutes.  Remember warming up and cooling down also helps prevent injury and cramping.
  4. Keep track of your progress - make a note of your time, pace and mileage.  This will give you the motivation to push a little harder once you are able.
  5. Add intervals – this doesn’t matter if you are walking or running on the treadmill.  By constantly changing your intensity your heart is challenged at a greater level which is linked to boosting your metabolism.  Try some of the interval workouts below to get an idea of what I mean.
  6. Try adding some body weight exercises to your workouts - all you need is a little space beside the treadmill.  To begin with you could try mixing in the body weight exercises 2 days a week.  Examples of body weight exercises include things like:  Squats, Lunges, Push-Ups, Planks, Burpees, etc.
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Interval training simply means a period of high intensity work like running, followed by a period of low intensity work like walking.  Having said that it can also mean a period of high intensity walking followed by a period of slower low intensity walking.  Below are some ideas for first level beginners, second level beginners and advanced beginners.
Workouts for first level beginners
(1 minute running + 4 minutes walking) X 5 for 25 minutes
The best workout is 1 minute jogging at a speed of 75% followed by 4 minutes of walking at a slower pace.  This cycle will be repeated five times making a total of 25 minutes.  The intervals in between would ensure that you run for 5 minutes and walk for 20 minutes.

Workouts for second level beginners
(2 minutes jogging + 4 minutes walking)  X 5 for 30 minutes
At the next level, there is one slight difference that you might have noticed.  You will be jogging for twice the duration while the recovery interval period of walking remains the same.  So, the ratio of work out to rest has increased to 1:2 from 1:4.  This makes the workout more effective as more time is spent on jogging at a higher speed. You end up running for 10 minutes and walking for 20 minutes.

Workouts for advanced beginners
(2 minutes jogging _+ 2 minutes walking) X 5 for 20 minutes
This is the most challenging workout for beginners as the workout and recovery interval are the same now.  The ratio is 1:1 now.  The recovery time between running bouts will be less and so the total workout time is reduced to only 20 minutes.  You will run for 10 minutes and walk for 10 minutes overall.  

These are a few examples of workouts made for beginners.  There are a myriad of variations with recovery intervals.  If you are a beginner then begin your workout by following these.  Later, you can adjust your workout to suit your needs. 

Good luck!

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