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Make the most of your treadmill

Running is great for your health - it's a cardiovascular exercise that reduces the risk of heart attacks and high cholesterol. A treadmill makes running easier - you don't have to breathe pollution, you avoid the crowds and the pot holed roads, and you don't have to go outside when the weather is bad.

But how do you use a treadmill to get maximum benefit? Just follow these tips...

Wear the right shoes

A pair of lightweight running shoes are ideal for use on the treadmill. Make sure that they fit well and feel comfortable.

Warm up

Prevent strains by doing a few simple warm up stretches and exercises. Start at a low speed and work your way up to the desired level.

Keep your chin up

Don't fixate on the monitor when running - it will give you the wrong posture. Look straight ahead and glance down when you need to.

Stay hydrated

As you run, your body loses water through sweat. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks to stay hydrated.

Alternate speeds

The most effective way to use your treadmill is to run on intervals. Run at a low speed for one to five minutes, then switch to a higher speed for one to five minutes. Continue to alternate between fast and slow.

Stay entertained

If you're bored with your workout, you're less likely to stick to it. Listen to music or pop in a DVD.

Vary your workout programmes

Everyone's body is different. Try different levels, settings and speeds to see which programme best suits you. Give each programme four weeks before judging its results.

What to look for when buying a treadmill

  • A horsepower of 2.25 or more
  • Good range of pre-set programmes
  • Serious runners should look for a long beltsize
  • Incline effects - an incline of at least 10% is decent
  • Good cushion technology. Read online reviews to see what other customers have to say about it

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