7 Ways to Make the Treadmill More Fun

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When the temperature drops, your motivation to work out can drop as well! Indoor workouts may be more comfortable in the winter, but it’s understandable to dread the monotony of the gym. While the treadmill is a great option for burning some major calories, it can also become extremely boring. Exercise is a vital part of staying healthy, so why not enjoy it? Here are some fun, simple ways to spice up your routine and beat boredom on the treadmill!

1. Use a running app

There are tons of fun, inexpensive workout apps that you can download to make your workout more fun!

  • Zombies, Run! is an app that turns your morning run into a story about surviving a zombie attack. In the game, zombies have attacked the town of Able Township, and in order to protect the town you must collect supplies while out running. “Zombies, Run!” can be used both inside and outside, it costs $3.99 and it’s compatible with Apple and Android devices.
  • Nike Plus acts as a GPS and records aspects of your run, like pace, distance and calories burned. The app, which is free in the iTunes Store, uploads all of the information to the Nike Plus website, allowing you to track your progress. The app can be used both inside and outside, but set it to indoor mode for treadmill workouts to make sure it records your stats. The best part? It links to your social media accounts so people can send you cheers along your run!
  • For music fans, Upbeat Workouts finds your prefect music by calculating your strides per minute and finding a song that has a matching tempo. Whether walking or running, “Upbeat Workouts” uses music from your own library to sync your workout with songs. It costs $2.99 in the iTunes Store, and is compatible with most Apple products.

With a variety of low-cost apps to choose from, you can turn a boring treadmill workout into an adventure!

2. Go to the gym with a friend

A little friendly competition can be the best motivation, so the next time you head to the gym, grab a girlfriend. Busy schedules can often make finding time to hang out with your friends challenging, and working out together is a great way to get fit and spend some quality time together. Challenge each other by racing, or do a fun interval workout together. Having your BFF by your side will make your workout more fun and help inspire you to give it your all. The best part? You’ll have someone to grab a post-gym treat with!

3. Watch a TV show

One of the key factors to beating boredom during an indoor workout is distraction! Save your favorite movie or TV show for when you’re at the gym. Here’s a list of shows to try if you’re in need of ideas.

Amanda Hancock, a senior at Miami University of Ohio, says that distraction is important while working out indoors. “I've found that watching part of a movie or TV show is really fun to do while running on the treadmill,” says Amanda.  “If you don't have anything to occupy yourself, the treadmill will get old really fast because the only thing you're looking at is the clock or mileage slowly going by.”

If your gym offers personal TVs, make a deal with yourself that instead of watching Homeland on the couch every week, you’ll watch it at the gym. That way, you’ll have at least one set workout per week! If you don’t have the option of actually watching a TV, you can always download your favorite show onto your iPod or phone.

4. Download a fun workout playlist

Music is a great way to pump you up for your workout, but it can be easy to get in a rut of listening to the same music over and over again. Create a special playlist just for when you work out to keep you from getting bored of the same music.

Along with watching TV, Amanda says she enjoys listening to upbeat music while she runs. “I also enjoy just creating an exciting playlist on my iPod, maybe with new music or music that will distract me from the treadmill,” she says.  Download a new, fast-paced workout playlist to help keep you motivated during those long workouts!

5. Do an interval workout

Running at a steady pace for long periods of time can make the time crawl by. Change up your workout by doing intervals! High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts offer a quick, effective way to burn a ton of calories. You can simply switch up your speed and incline, such as jogging at a comfortable pace for two minutes and then sprinting for 30 seconds, or even alternate between running on the treadmill and doing quick bursts of weight lifting. Interval workouts can be found online, or you can download an app like “Interval Run,” which costs $1.99 from the iTunes Store, to help guide you through the workout.

6. Create a training goal

While marathons may not be in your future, that doesn’t mean you can’t set goals! You can set small goals, like running one mile without stopping, or tackle a more difficult challenge, like completing a 5K. Whether you sign up for a race to train for, or just complete the distance on the treadmill, training for a certain goal makes every minute you spend running feel like an accomplishment. No matter how big (or small) your goal is, it will give you something to strive for and provide great motivation.

7. Listen to a podcast

Listening to a podcast is a great way to distract yourself while catching up on news and current events! “I always listen to podcasts (oftentimes NPR).  I have trouble sitting and listening to podcasts, so I pretty much only listen to them at the gym,” says Katherine Varga, a senior at the University of Rochester. “Sometimes I'll go to the gym because I want something to do while I listen to This American Life or Radiolab, not because I actually want to exercise.”

For collegiettes interested in science, Radiolab chooses a scientific topic every week and explores it in a manner that’s easy to understand. For collegiettes looking to catch up on the news, NPR’s  Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! discusses current events and interviews guests in a fun game show format. If you need a little workout inspiration, The Jillian Michaels Show discusses topics involving health and fitness.

Audiobooks are also a great option for multitasking at the gym. Whether you’re into mysteries or chick lit, or you just want to catch up on some reading for class, there are tons of audiobooks available on iTunes to suit any interest!

Whether you change up your workout, use an app to distract yourself or grab a friend and have some fun, there are tons of ways to make your treadmill workout more exciting! Staying healthy and fit is important year-round, so take your workout indoors and have fun while doing it!

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About The Author

Becky is a senior at the University of Delaware, majoring in English and minoring in journalism & advertising. Along with writing for Her Campus, she interns for a local publisher and is a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority! Her special interests in writing are health and nutrition. In her spare time, she loves running, cooking, all things outdoors and volunteering with her sorority.