A beginner treadmill workout can be a great introduction to exercise equipment and develop the foundation of a solid go-to regime. Not only will it warm up your muscles, it will also help you get comfortable in the gym.

If you do not know how to manage the incline and speed functions on the treadmill (or how to gauge your pace), take into consideration the following six tips that can aid in guiding your next workout.

BEGIN BY WALKING

It”s best to figure out your speed by first taking it slow. A moderate pace begins at around 3 mph. Then, you can steadily build momentum.

It’s best to warm up for at least five minutes at an easy to moderate walking pace, maybe a 2.5 mph or 3 mph pace. Next, try and increase the pace until you are slightly out of breath for the duration of your workout, anywhere from five minutes to 15 minutes for beginners.

FIGURE OUT HOW LONG YOU’LL WORK OUT

More then ever when it comes to maintaining your pace. Try and go into your routine knowing how long you intend to sweat. This way, you’ll get a lot out of your beginner treadmill workout and it will help maximize your effort.

If you are doing a five-minute warmup, five-minute workout, and five-minute cool down you may push yourself a bit quicker than if you are planning to make it through a 30-minute treadmill workout.

TRY THE THREE-MINUTE TEST

If you’re just starting out — and paying attention to your body — you might need a test to properly track your progress.

It’s called a 3 minute test.

  • Walk for one minute
  • Jog for one minute
  • And run for one minute

Afterward, if you’re still comfortable and breathing ok, increase your speed by a few mph.

Each day you will feel a bit different; some days you will work out at speeds faster than others, and that’s fine, it’s important to allow your body recovery time.

MAKE SURE TO WARM UP AND STRETCH

While warming up is a necessity for all physical exertion, this pre-workout ritual is especially crucial when increasing the incline on a treadmill. Upping the incline will tilt the machine so that it resembles the feeling of walking up a hill, firing up the muscles in the back of your legs.

At first, make sure to warm up your muscles by walking on a treadmill without an incline. Then, if you feel like it, step off the treadmill and enjoy a good hamstring stretch between your warmup and inclined walk.

This can help you avoid discomfort and maximize the effectiveness of the work you do after.

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

Unless you happen to live in a super-hilly city, your daily terrain is pretty flat most of the time. If this is the case, your beginner treadmill workout should include a subtle incline to begin with. This is to avoid injury (such as shin splints).

The goal here, comparable to other workouts, is to approach it with a slow and steady attitude. As you introduce new exercises and intensity levels to your routine, your body will need some time to adapt and get used to. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself right away.

DON’T RUN ON AN INCLINE FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME

At the foundation, a treadmill is meant to simulate walking or running outside — so sprinting uphill for 30 minutes just is not that real to begin with.

For a beginner treadmill workout, try and focus on no longer than five minutes of incline work at a time.

Use that moderation approach with the incline setting, and starting out, maybe limit it to a minute on incline and a minute on flat. Typically, the steeper the incline, the shorter the time doing the incline.