Did you know that running for one hour or more per week reduces your chance of coronary heart disease by 42%, according to Harvard researchers.
Here are some ways to make it more effective and fun:
Adjust the treadmill's speed for about 50% of your full effort. Set the incline at 3% and run for 20 - 30 seconds, then return to a zero incline for 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence at 5%, and then 7%. That's one repetition. Do eight to 10 repetitions.
Try "Negative splits" by running faster at the end than at the start. Start at a jog, and at every quarter mile, punch the speed button one beep higher. (You can do this for any length interval.) Push this as long as you like, but give yourself a smooth cooldown.
This makes it less tedious, and training your body to start slow and end fast will pay off next time you're in a road race; you'll hold back at the start when your adrenaline is high, and finish strong when others fade.
Run for 3 minutes at a 3 percent incline, then flatten it out and maintain the same level of effort by speeding up the belt a few notches for 1 minute. Recover with a minute of jogging, and then repeat the sequence three times.
If you're bored with the readouts on the treadmill, add another source of input: a heart-rate monitor. "You should train at 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, because as you exceed 80 percent, results do not increase proportionally to your work," says Richard Stein, M.D., a spokesman for the American Heart Association. See how inclines affect your rate, and notice how quickly your heart recovers from a burst of effort.
Just mix things up and have some fun!