Busting the treadmill myth

I have been meaning to share this for a while but have been getting pulled in various different directions lately. In the recent past, the treadmills at my apartment gym have been on the blink and while our team was working on sorting things out, I was in a situation where I needed to get the cardio like kick, but without the treadmill to help me with it. I used a couple of options, that I will share further in this post.

If you are one of those, new fitness enthusiasts, who strongly believe in the notion “NO TREADMILL = NO CARDIO” then this post is definitely for you. Most people, that I come across at the gym, for some strange reason, believe that the treadmill is the only way to do cardio. So, if you are a gym newbie, then first understand what cardio is. To put it in very simple terms, any group of exercise that elevates the heart rate may be broadly categorized as cardio exercises (treadmill included :p ). In fact the word cardio itself is borrowed from “Cardiovascular” system, that comprises mainly the heart and blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

So if you are stuck in a situation where you’d like to do cardio, and cannot go out for a run, and also don’t have access to a treadmill, then try the below options. They work quite well:

1. One of my top favorites and by far the most underestimated exercises is right there in your building (read: staircase) –

Find a flight of stairs and run up&down a couple of  times. And if you live in a multi storeyed building, even better. Try to make it up to a minimum 5 floors and down, at least 2 times. and see your heart pound! The only fallout of this great cardio workout is that you won’t look glamorous doing it and there is also a fair chance that the neighbors think you are a jerk!

Direct benefit: Cardio; Quadriceps; Calves; Knee Joint Strength

2. Twenty Kicks – The great Bruce Lee once said, “I don’t fear a man who practices ten thousand kicks, but I am very afraid of a man who practices one kick, ten thousand times”! Try to kick an imaginary point somewhere at shoulder level – 20 for each leg and in quick succession. You’d be surprised how quickly this warms you up. If you can do it to music, even better!

Direct benefit:  Hamstrings stretch; Balance and of course elevated heart rate.

3. A bit of HIIT – Ok, HIIT is something that is gaining a lot of popularity, especially due the need to fit an effective workout into lesser and lesser time with people. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. Here’s how to do it.

– Stand in one spot and start a slow jog.
– Time yourself for 2 minutes.
– Now, for one minute, vigorously jog (typically at double the speed of your slow jog). Make sure you keep the pace up for an entire minute – no cheating!
Do at least 2-3 cycles of this slow-fast tempo and see your heart rate soar and yourself breaking a sweat.

So, the next time, you find yourself in a queue, waiting for some over enthusiastic fitness freak to get off the treadmill, OR in a situation where you just don’t have any cardio equipment around, try some of the above and share your experience.

I am quite sure, you will like the break from the routine and who knows, you might realize that the treadmill had lulled you into a false sense of fitness!

Do share your fantastic thoughts in the comments section. And I will get this into a pod cast over the weekend for those who’d prefer to hear it rather than read it 🙂


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