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How to Not Get Bored on the Treadmill

Ian started working out at age 40 and has since learned a lot about motivation, success, and developing a fitness routine.

The treadmill doesn't have to be boring!

The treadmill doesn't have to be boring!

Staying Entertained on the Treadmill

Getting yourself motivated to get to the gym is a big start in your fitness routine. It’s something that most people know they need to do, but we always find excuses to delay joining up. Eventually, however, you might make a New Year’s resolution, receive a recommendation from your doctor, or you just might get tired of feeling out of shape.

But once you’ve finally taken the first step (joining a gym), the next challenge is to keep your commitment and work out on a regular schedule. Whether it be work pressure, family commitments, travel, or something else, going to the gym often gets relegated to the bottom of the priorities list.

Let’s face it—while some people enjoy it and find working out to be its own reward, for most people, it’s a chore just like putting out the garbage or doing the laundry. You know you have to do it, but you don’t get excited about it. It’s easy to roll over and hit snooze on the alarm, thinking one missed day won’t matter.

Variety to Keep It Fun

Mixing things up helps you stay motivated. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get some variety into your workout. Modern treadmills have a number of features that can give you a more challenging workout, but also make it more interesting while you’re getting fit. People find that varying the incline, or changing the pace, can make a big difference to their mental attitude while walking or running.

Even with these variations, you might find yourself craving something extra to keep it going. With a couple of modern devices like a smartphone or a tablet, here are some of the best ways to make that treadmill session a lot more enjoyable.

15 Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated on the Treadmill

  1. Listen to music.
  2. Watch TV (most gyms have televisions on the walls along the treadmill line).
  3. Watch a virtual trail walk or running video on YouTube.
  4. Listen to an audiobook.
  5. Learn a new language.
  6. Read a book.
  7. Get current with the news.
  8. Find a fun podcast (or two).
  9. Download and watch episodes of a TV show.
  10. Navigate to a map of the U.S. and learn the locations of all the states.
  11. Navigate to a map of Europe/Asia/South America, and learn the locations of all the countries.
  12. Learn the capitals of all U.S. states.
  13. Learn the capitals of all European/Asian/South American countries.
  14. Catch up on email.
  15. Watch some educational webinars, or listen to some educational podcasts.

It's Okay to Skip a Workout Sometimes

There are often legitimate reasons to skip a workout. Maybe you need to prepare for a big presentation coming up at work, attend an awards ceremony at your son’s school, or watch your daughter’s first ice hockey tournament. It’s also important to recognize that a healthy lifestyle is more than just exercising; if you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, you might do better going to bed early or sleeping in an extra hour, so you can be more rested for the day.

One of the biggest reasons people put off going to the gym, however, is because they find it boring. If you’re in that mindset, you might need to find some extra motivation to help you keep up with your exercise goals.

This is particularly true if you’re starting out on the treadmill. It’s of the most popular ways to start exercising, and with good reason. Weights and other machines can look daunting, but everyone knows how to walk!

I’m a big fan of cardio and often work out on a treadmill as well as other cardio machines, such as an elliptical machine. But there’s no denying that this can be one of the more tedious ways to get a workout. You’re staying in one spot, repeating the same motion for a lengthy period, and if you don’t inject any variation, it can quickly become a real barrier to keeping up with an exercise routine.

Find What Works for You

I’m fascinated by geography, so looking at maps and learning geography is a lot of fun for me. A fun playlist, meanwhile, is probably the most popular diversion that people use to pass the time. A playlist can also pump you up throughout your workout!

For working professionals, many professional certifications or qualifications have continuing education requirements, and sometimes those can be at least partly fulfilled by listening to educational lectures. A good example is the Project Management Professional certification (or PMP). There are podcasts you can listen to which will qualify for at least some of the continuing education requirements to maintain the PMP certification, and it makes no difference if you are listening in the car or the gym!

Find what works for you! Music is a really good way to motivate yourself and make your workout more fun, but it may not be your thing. If something isn't working, try something else. Find your motivation, and keep going for your goal!


RTalloni on September 26, 2019:

My elliptical machine is a great place to listen information I want to learn about. Thanks for encouragement to keep at it.