Run for Your Life:
The Health Benefits of
Improve your hearts health? Lose a
few pounds? Or simply become more active? If that is your goal, then maybe
its time for you to do some exercise. But where do you start?
No matter how good our intentions are, we really cant force ourselves to
commute three or four times a week to the gym. What with our hectic lifestyles,
increased work loads, and various other commitments, we simply dont have
such luxury as time. As a result, our exercise routines suffer, which, of
course, points only to one thing our health.
For this reason,
Americans, young and old alike, are trying to search for solutions to their
exercise dilemma. They are looking for specifically one that will fit into
their demanding schedules yet still afford them with a quality workout with
positive results. The answer, of course, is the ever-present treadmill.
Experts agree that physical activity
need not be strenuous in order to be beneficial. In fact, only moderate amounts
of daily physical activity are recommended for people of all ages. Too much can
lead to injuries, menstrual abnormalities, and bone weakening.
American youths aged 12-21 years, almost half admit to not being vigorously
active on a regular basis
14 % of young people report that they
engage in no recent physical activity
This inactivity trend is more
common among females (14%) than among males (7%). Among black females, 21% are
inactive, while white females only comprise 12%.
As age or grade in
school increases, participation in all types of physical activity declines
Of all high school students, only 19% are physically
active for 20 minutes or more, five days a week, in physical education class
Between 1991 and 1995, daily enrollment in physical education classes
dropped form 42 percent to 25 percent
Well designed school-based
interventions directed at increasing physical activity in physical education
classes have been shown to be effective
Social support from family
and friends has been consistently and positively related to regular physical
Though not the be-all and end-all of everything, engaging in
physical activity does have effects that can be very beneficial to your health.
First, it helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. Not only
that, but it has a direct effect on weight control, building lean muscles, and
fat reduction. Physical activity can also prevent or delay the development of
high blood pressure and helps reduce blood pressure in some adolescents with
If physical education doesnt do the job
(especially if youre no longer schooling), then engage in physical
activity at home by your own initiative. Home exercise equipment, such as
treadmills and stationary bikes, have been known to produce the same effects as
running or walking outside.
A study published in the Journal of the
American Association showed that treadmills easily outpaced an exercise
bicycle, a rowing machine, and a cross-country skiing machine. The study was
conducted with a group of volunteers at the Milwaukee Veterans Administration
Hospital. The volunteers were made to do a series of workouts on different
machines, each time exercising at what felt like the same intensity.
To measure the number of calories burned, researchers used a special device.
Dr. Martin Hoffman of the Medical College of Wisconsin found that
the treadmill allowed the individuals to burn as much as 200 calories per
hour more than the bicycle ergometer, which came out having the lowest energy
The #1 Choice in Home Exercise Equipment
As a home exercise equipment, the treadmill presents both
convenience and affordability in one neat package. Its not as expensive
as other home exercise equipment and yet it produces very nearly the same
positive results. Not only that, but the treadmill has always been a favorite
among exercise enthusiasts, whether they do their exercises at home or in the
Using a treadmill to exercise and burn down calories is very
simple, even the most un-sporty individual can do it. Why? Because a treadmill
requires nothing more from you than doing something that youve been doing
for most of your life WALKING.
They will probably always
be the Number 1 item because they appeal to the two most popular forms of
exercising walkers and runners, said Communications Director for
the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Mike May.
the annual consumer survey of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association,
more than 45 million Americans currently use treadmills today, either at home
or in a gym. They are even more popular than stationary bikes (considered as
the Number 2 choice), stair machines, ellipticals, and rowing machines.
Perhaps, what makes treadmills really stick among the mass of exercise and
fitness enthusiasts is that it can guarantee a consistent workout in all
seasons and in all climates. With a treadmill, you do not have to think about
common running worries, such as weather conditions too hot, too cold,
too windy, too wet, too humid, and so on. Treadmills provide a means of
exercise that is just right.
Your goal when engaging in physical activity is to burn down
calories and keep yourself physically fit and healthy. Compared to just 500
calories per hour on the exercise bike, the average medium-intensity treadmill
workout burned 700 calories per hour. Dr. Hoffman said that one reason for this
difference is the amount of muscle mass that is used in both exercises.
Apparently, when you walk or run on a treadmill, you use more muscles than you
do on a bike, stationary or otherwise.
The greatest benefit of
treadmill exercise is burning calories. However, it is not the only reason why
you should consider this type of workout. For people with certain health
conditions, engaging in vigorous physical activity can be detrimental to their
lives and their health. People such as those with osteoporosis, hypertension,
and back pains are recommended to do no more than walking when they exercise so
as not to cause any overexert themselves. The treadmill, therefore, provides
them with an exciting alternative to just plain walking outside.
treadmill can add consistency to your walking workout. Most models have
programming in them that allow you to maintain speed and intensity throughout
your entire workout. They also have incline device that would let you control
the inclination of your walk, exactly as though you are walking up or down
Walking for 45 minutes, five times a week can cut your chances
of getting a flu or cold in half, according to a research conducted by the
Harvard Medical School. But you cant really walk, can you, if its
raining outside? That is why the treadmill - where climate changes dont
matter - is great to have around.
Furthermore, the treadmill can be
used by anyone young, old, male, female, pregnant, not pregnant
Lets take pregnant women, for example. While some aerobic activities can
be risky during pregnancy, walking is actually beneficial to both the child and
the mother. Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy can loosen ligaments. In order
to tone muscles down and strengthen the joints that support the growing baby,
walking is recommended for pregnant women.
The treadmill also helps
prevent injuries that could happen when you run outside on uneven or even wet
ground. Gravity can have very nasty effects, however beneficial running and
sunlight might be. A treadmill with good cushioning on the belt will help
support each foot-strike you make, making your running or walking easier.
Finally, if you are just looking to get in shape, walking or jogging on a
treadmill improves muscle tone and not just in your legs, but all over your
body. Strengthened muscles means the heart can pump more oxygen-rich blood with
each step you take.
Exercising the Right Way on a
You know what they say: You get the most out of
anything if you do it properly. Exercising the right way on a treadmill
is no different. If you want to get the most enjoyment and benefit out of
treadmill exercise, then do it the right way.
Here are some tips to
help you maximize the health benefits of treadmill exercise:
As your foot comes forward and your heel strikes the ground,
heres what you do: raise your toes and roll forward onto the outside of
your foot (but keep the entire shoe sole on the ground). As your foot passes
under your body, straighten your knee and press the ground with the ball of
your foot, maintaining pressure until your toes leave the ground. Do this for
the entire duration of your run.
2. Hip Rotation
your waist, allowing your hips to rotate naturally with the forward and
backward movement of your legs. Meanwhile, your shoulders should stay relaxed
and facing forward.
3. Arm Swing
Let your arms swing at
your sides in the same forward-backward direction as your hips and legs. As you
increase your speed, bend your arms at a right angle and swing them faster in
rhythm with your legs.
Do all of the above and youll be
fit in no time. Elaine Ward of NARWF says that to get the most out of your
walking routine, you have to consider the way your foot touches the ground, how
your torso is positioned, and how your arms swing. The above tips should be
able to help you do just that.