How to Make Your Treadmill Workout Less Boring

While it would be nice to be able to walk or run outside each day, sometimes it’s just not practical. This is especially true in the winter, when its dark and rainy, or the sidewalks and trail are covered with a thick layer of snow and ice. However, you don’t have to hate every single minute on the treadmill. Today I’m going to share 3 ways to keep your indoor cardio more enjoyable, or at least, less boring.


  1. Do intervals. Running or walking at a steady state, staring at a blank wall, is pretty boring. I did a 5K treadmill run last week during the snowstorm at a steady pace. I watched the seconds crawl by, feeling I should have been further along than I was and wishing I was doing pretty much anything else. Enter: Intervals. Intervals work to prevent boredom in two ways:
      1. You only need to focus on a short period of time before you switch it up. Your brain will only focus on the seconds or minutes of your interval, instead of the entire duration of the workout.
      1. Most likely, you will be working at a higher intensity during the interval. Now, instead of focusing on how bored you are, you are focusing on pushing your body and keeping the intensity up. If you are new to exercise, you can still change up the pace of your workout but keep the intensity lower.


Here are two of my favourite interval workouts:

      1. 1-minute run/ power walk at 2% incline, next minute at 4% incline, and next minute at 6% incline. Take 2 minutes to recover and repeat for 3-4 rounds! Warm down + stretch! You can modify this workout by upping the speed instead of the incline.


      1. 50 seconds hard (sprint, incline walk, etc.), 10 seconds rest. Repeat 4 times. Take 1 full minutes rest. Then, go 40 seconds hard, 20 seconds rest. Repeat 4 times. Take 1 full minute rest. Finish with 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest. Repeat 4 times.


  1. Alternate a treadmill burst with a strength or core circuit. Walk or run for 2-5 minutes on the treadmill. Then, do 3 rounds of 3 strength exercises. Immediately, get back on the treadmill for another 2-5 minutes. This is a great way to keep your heart rate up during a circuit workout and increase your cardiovascular fitness.


  1. Find other ways to distract yourself. If you are doing a steady state walk or run, and do not need to focus on working hard, watch something on the TV or on your smart phone. Listen to a podcast or energizing playlist. Some people ONLY allow themselves to watch a special show if they are working out as motivation to stick to the workout.


As a final note, regardless if you are loving your indoor workout or not, choose an attitude of gratitude. You get to work out. You have the option to work out in a safe, warm environment. You get to take good care of your body so that you can feel energized for the rest of the day.


Tanja Shaw is a Certified High Performance Coach, host of the Fit and Vibrant You podcast and founder of Ascend Fitness + Lifestyle. She helps men and women transform their bodies and life, and to love the way they feel again with fitness, nutrition, mindset and lifestyle coaching. Learn more at

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