The treadmill is ranked number one in popularity among cardiovascular exercise equipments – at home and in the gym. Consider these 10-factors to get the best results from your exercise session and to make your treadmill workout safe and effective.

Working out on the treadmill burns calories and improves cardiovascular stamina.

Know your treadmill features

Take a few minutes to understand the features so that you can get the most out of your workout.

Incline: Most treadmills have the option of increasing/decreasing the incline. This feature increases exercise intensity.

Speed adjustment: Knowing how to set the speed can increase or decrease the intensity of your workout.

Programmed workout: What sort of programmed workouts does the treadmill have? Varying your treadmill routine is a great way to challenge your workouts.

Heart rate or pulse monitor: Most treadmills have a pulse monitor, either in a grip or a clip. You can even use a chest strap heart rate monitor to get feed back of your working heart rate.

Calories burned: Can your treadmill calculate calories burned? This calculation is dependent on your weight.

Use your arms

Avoid holding on to the handrails as this won't allow you to maintain correct posture. Bend elbows and pump your arms swinging forward and back from your shoulders.

Watch your posture

It is essential to focus on posture and keeping your body properly aligned while exercising. Pull your abs in and with feet firmly on the ground, strike first with your heel and then roll your entire foot until you push off into the next stride with the ball of your foot.

Stay hydrated

Drink water water before, after and during your exercise routine. Water loss due to perspiration and sweating needs to be replaced.

Avoid going too fast

If you find yourself over-striding or leaning forward in an attempt to walk fast -decrease speed and correct your posture. Too much, too fast, too soon are the main causes of injury. Make sure the exercise programme is structured, systematic and progressive.

Get on and off the treadmill carefully

Never get on or off the treadmill while the belt is moving. If you are not alert about this you could injure yourself. Start the treadmill at a slow speed and increase speed gradually. Know where the emergency halt switch is located. Often this is a bright red switch.

Warm-up and cool down

A warm-up prepares the body for the activity to follow. It is important to start at an easy pace to warm-up the muscles for 5-10 minutes. A cool-down prevents dizziness and extreme fatigue post-workouts. Always reduce intensity of the workout and finish with a cool-down of 5-10 minutes.

Vary your workouts

Vary your workouts — use the exercise bike, rowing machines or stair climber to prevent boredom from setting in.

Workout at a fitness intensity appropriate you for An exercise programme should always be safe and effective. Your workout intensity should suitable for your current fitness condition taking into account your age, medical history and goals.

Stretch after your workout

A good time to stretch is immediately after an exercise session, while the body is still warm. Stretching prevents muscle soreness and increases flexibility. Do these 3 stretches after your workout.

Calf stretch: Taking a giant step forward with the right foot, right leg bent, left leg straight, keep both feet pointing forward and left heel touching the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and then change sides.

Quadriceps stretch: Stand tall; grasp right foot with right hand. Bring your foot toward buttocks, keeping knees together. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Hamstring stretch: Slowly raise one leg and rest it on an elevated platform, such as a park bench or ledge. Keeping your hips square, bend at your waist and lower your trunk forward. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

BENEFITS

Convenience - You don't have to depend on outside weather conditions to

plan you walk or run.

Simplicity - It is simple to use

Entertainment - You can watch TV or listen to music while exercising

Fewer excuses - You can't use excuses such as bad weather to dodge your commitment.

Did you know?

Just five 30-minute walking sessions of approximately 2 miles each week can reduce the risk of heart attack by more than 25-per cent.