There haven’t been nearly enough love songs written for the treadmill. The treadmill is one of the most consistent, dependable, modifiable fitness tools out there. Of course, we love getting outside, but when weather or circumstances make that difficult (or even when you just want the convenience of having a water faucet or restroom nearby), the treadmill is a runner’s best friend with some seriously healthy benefits that you can’t always get pounding the pavement.
For one thing, if you’ve got a time, distance or calorie burn goal, there’s no guesswork involved in choosing a route (because we’ve all done the old “run .38 miles past your house in order to hit the mark” thing, right?). Once you hit the end of your workout, you can just step off the machine and go on with the rest of your day. And if you’ve got a specific pace you’re trying to run — whether it’s an interval, tempo or steady workout — you can set your treadmill to do exactly that. Plus? It’s easy to push yourself by upping the speed or incline when you’re feeling good (or slow things down just a smidge when you’re not having your strongest day).
One of the coolest things about the treadmill, though, is how easily many new models integrate with all the other awesome fitness tech we use and love. We’ve been getting the scoop from the folks at Horizon Fitness about their ViaFit system, which is a wireless connectivity system that enables select Horizon Fitness and Vision Fitness cardio equipment to share workout data with popular apps and wearable devices like Facebook, FitBit, Jawbone and Runkeeper, and you guys? It’s pretty exciting. (Maybe even more so because we’ve got a sweet discount on it just for you below!)
It takes your treadmill (or elliptical, or whatever) from being just a fitness tool to being more like a workout buddy. It can connect to your food journal to help you track calories burned, let your (human) friends know when you’ve hit another fitness milestone, log all your data in all the places (OMG YES) and even shares on your social networks (if you want it to, of course).
7 Ways to Spice Up Your Cardio Workout
Love the idea of all that, but still worried that the treadmill will feel like a dreadmill? Here are 7 FBG-approved tips for spicing up your treadmill workout, including a few features from Horizon Fitness that just might have you itching to skip the sunshine and stay inside for your next run.
- Find the right tunes. When you’re working out on a home machine, you can even blast your music, no headphones needed, but either way, be sure to mix up your playlist to keep it interesting. We have plenty of suggestions, or, if you like being surprised, try one of these music apps.
- Get the wind blowing. Using fans in front of you not only keeps you cool, but helps you feel like you’re moving fast.
- Set some bigger goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish in each workout is great, but if you want to up the ante (and the motivation factor), try setting a weekly goal. Need some help tracking it? ViaFit lets you set a calorie, distance, time or number of workouts per week goal. Sweet!
- Get some virtual support. Whether you join a virtual running community with set “group” runs on each day or just rely on your own awesome social networks to keep you going, having friends in virtual places is a real bonus.
- Stay in sync. You can really watch your healthy habits come together when you let your workout data sync with a food journal like MyFitnessPal. That way, the hard data (calories in, calories burned) gets updated automatically, and you can use your updating time to focus more on how amazing your workouts are making you feel, because hey, that’s really what getting fit is all about!
- Switch up the workouts. Doing the same two-mile walk or 10k run at the same comfortably uncomfortable pace day after day gets dull. So don’t do it! You can get in a different type of workout every day on the same machine. Need some examples on different types of equipment? Try this, or this, or this, or something like this! Remember, just because you’re getting in a workout on the treadmill, that doesn’t mean that has to be your entire workout.
- See some sights. With the interactive Virtual Active workout programs on select Horizon Fitness and Vision Fitness cardio equipment, you can run, hike and cycle through actual HD footage of gorgeous trails all over the world without ever having to set foot outside. Admit it — it would rock to see those gorgeous views from a summit without the risk of tripping over a root, right?
Alright, now that you’re undoubtedly convinced that the treadmill can be your new BFF, we’ve got great news: Horizon Fitness is offering $100 off select Horizon Fitness cardio machines for FBG readers. Just go to Horizon Fitness and use the code FBG between August 6 and August 17, 2015. Treadmills! Ellipticals! Exercise bikes! You can take your pick and get a rockin’ deal.
What’s your favorite type of cardio equipment? And do you have any tips for making it fun that we left out? —Kristen