Most treadmills have heart rate programs included in their programming, however if your treadmill doesn’t here are 6 heart rate workouts that you can do using your treadmill’s heart rate monitor or your personal monitor.
The heart rate monitor is one of the most important pieces of equipment on a treadmill. You will find one on almost all treadmills and it measures your heart rate throughout your exercise program.
Before you can begin any of these workouts you must know your own Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). This is best calculated by your doctor during a treadmill test of cardiovascular fitness.
If you are over 35 years old, overweight or very unfit, you should consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Testing to know your personal MHR is highly recommended, although there is a general formula that can be used to calculate an average MHR according to your age. People of the same age vary widely in their fitness level and you should keep in mind that it is designed for the average person. So if you know that you are less fit than the average person of your age, you could calculate as if you were 5 or 10 years older.
One thing that you must remember and that is most people over estimate how fit they actually are, so when in doubt add at least 10 years to your actual age. You can always lower your age as you see yourself getting more fit.
Here is MHR formula:
MHR = 220 – age
So for a person 20 years old, MHR is 220-20=200. For a person 35 years old it is 185.
After you know your MHR you can pick from the following workouts and use the Heart Rate Monitor on the treadmill to know that you are going at the correct speed for you. So for example if your MHR is 190 and you pick workout 1, then you should be at a speed where the monitor shows that your heart rate is between 60% and 70% of 190, i.e. between 114 and 133.
The workouts that have a lower percentage MHR will feel easier, although they may be longer. If you are beginning an exercise program you are recommended to start with the lower MHR workouts to avoid putting a lot of stress on your heart. As you become fitter, you will find that you will increase the speed of the treadmill to reach the same heart rate. After increasing your fitness measurably with one workout you can move on to another.
With each workout, do stretching exercises before and after the workout. When you are ready for one of the higher MHR workouts you should warm up and cool down with 5-10 minutes of #1 at the beginning and end of your workout.
Here are the treadmill workouts:
1. Beginner Treadmill Walk: 50-60% of MHR, every day for 30 minutes. This is a gentle and easy walk and a good way to start using your treadmill. Remember that although you are using your treadmill in your home, you should always wear a good walking shoe or sneaker.
2. Weight Loss Walk: 60-70% of MHR, every day for 45-60 minutes. This is a faster walk but still suitable for most people and will help you burn off calories as well as increasing your fitness level. Some people prefer to stay with this routine but as they become more fit and lose weight, they start using a weighted walking vest which will help them burn more calories during their workout.
3. Quick Walk: 70-80% of MHR, every alternate day for 20-60 minutes. On the other days, you can do either #1 or #2. You will breathe heavily but should not get out of breath – if you do, you are probably not fit enough for this one yet. When you are ready for it, this can be very beneficial for cardiovascular health and will result in a level of fitness that many people will be happy with.
4. Distance Walk: 65-75% of MHR for 6-8 miles, once each week. This will improve your long distance walking strength and bearing and can be useful for race preparation. You will notice that your MHR is a bit lower than in #3, but you will be walking for a longer distance.
The Speed and Racing Walks should only be attempted once you are comfortable with the previous 4 workout programs.
5. Speed Building Walk: 85-90% of MHR for 8 minutes, then 55-65% of MHR for 2 minutes, repeated 3 times. Finish with 5-10 minutes at 55-65% of MHR.
6. Racing Walk: 80-90% of MHR for 20-30 minutes, twice per week. This will be a very fast pace of walk and at first you may need to run to reach this MHR.
Like any other form of exercise, it is very important to exercise regularly and begin gently to get the most out of your treadmill workouts. Starting off slow will also get you into the routine of learning how to put aside time for exercising.
Here are two very good videos. The first will show you how to calculate your heart rate zone and the second is an excellent interval training workout.