How to Make a Treadmill Less Boring for Seniors

I want to talk about how to make a treadmill less boring when you’re a senior.  I have seen all sorts of articles about how to make this piece of gym equipment more fun, but they all have to do with boosting your challenge, running instead of walking, using high knees, and all sorts of other additions that I just don’t think is necessarily appropriate for most of the people in my age demographic. So, here’s what I do to make it a workout session and not an exercise in monotony survival.

How I Make My Treadmill Less Boring

Treadmill Less Boring for SeniorsI like to know how to make my treadmill less boring for those days when I just can’t get outside to walk because of the weather.  That’s all I use it for. It’s just for walking. I don’t jog or run on it. Sometimes I use the incline options and programs, but I don’t go to fast.  The point for me isn’t to risk overdoing things and causing myself injury or setbacks. I use it to make sure I can still get my daily exercise even when it’s not pleasant out.

If I don’t use specific techniques to make my treadmill less boring, it is about as much fun as a dentist appointment. I feel every passing second, let alone minutes, and it’s mental torture. I don’t know why this particular version of monotony is such a struggle, but it’s worse than waiting in line or sitting in an airport when a flight has been delayed. So, to make sure I still get my exercise each day, which I greatly value, I step on armed with an entertainment plan.

Steps to Make a Treadmill Less Boring

Here are the steps I take to make my treadmill less boring.  It works about 99 percent of the time.  Nobody’s perfect.

1 – Start with a Focus on Form

When I step on to the treadmill and get the thing moving, I begin by occupying my mind with my form. I pay attention to how my hands are holding the handrails and, once I’m ready, how my arms are swinging next to me with my elbows bent at a 90º angle. I pay attention to my posture, which is very important, and the length of my stride. This takes a couple of minutes and takes another minute here and there when I check in on my form occasionally throughout my walk.

2 – Pay Attention to Breathing

I find it hilarious that the moment I think about breathing, I stop knowing how to do it automatically. If someone says to me “breathe normally”, I automatically start to focus on doing it “properly”, which is certainly not how I naturally inhale and exhale.  That said, to make my treadmill less boring, I give my breathing some thought now and again, but particularly at the start.  I’m a person who is inclined to take shallow breaths or even hold my breath when I’m focused.  So, I try to pay attention to it to ensure I’m taking nice inhales and exhales for a while to kickstart a natural process that keeps it up.  It’s incredible how much it feels like a little meditation, even while walking, and it passes the time.

3 – Cover the “Dashboard”

One of the parts of using a treadmill that makes it the most boring is staring at the statistics and counters on the screen. So, I use my gym towel and cover it up. Once I have everything programmed, and I’m on my way, I move the towel so it’s covering the screens, particularly timers and counters.  That helps to eliminate the sense of passage of time.  At first, it took some effort not to keep checking on it, but over time, I came to prefer it this way. Time moves faster when I’m not watching the clock counting it.

4 – Watch or Listen

I got a pair of those big wireless headphones that go over the ears. They let me set up my tablet on the towel covering my stats. I either watch a video that is approximately the length of the walk I want to take, or I listen to an audiobook or podcast. I find that the time moves faster watching a video than it does with just audio, but video will also make me feel a touch motion sick sometimes, so it all depends on the day. It’s good to switch it up.

5 – Do a Walking Meditation

There are a few apps that offers some great walking meditations that are excellent to make a treadmill less boring. They’re great for making the time fly by and leave me feeling fresh and energized after my walk. They involve a lot of focus on breathing and tensing and releasing certain specific muscles as well as various types of visualization.  I like the InsightTimer app for this because it’s free, but Headspace also has some good walks if you subscribe.

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