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I'm happy to share that I've finally found an exercise that gives me a good workout but is doable for me with fibromyalgia!! I'm probably the last person to know about incline walking and it's benefits for people with muscle and joint injury and soreness tendencies, but I'm so thrilled to have discovered this. I only have to do 30 minutes a day but am getting toned (never thought that would be possible for me), good sweating and cardio going on, feeling good endorphins and am not killing myself to do so. That was not really possible for me with just walking, and my knees would begin hurting requiring breaks from it. I could actually keep going past a half hour when incline walking but am more concerned with doing consistent exercise everyday that I stick with because it easily fits into my busy homeschool mama life. I'm started at a 6 incline but am currently doing level 10 all the while at 1.7 miles speed. I'm feeling so many benefits of regular exercise. Totally hooked on that endorphin high!

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A major benefit of treadmills is the ability to increase the incline of the treadmill deck. Increasing the incline increases the intensity of workout. In other words, you can walk more slowly on an increased incline and get the same or greater health benefit compared to walking faster on a flat surface. Additionally, walking on an incline may help reduce the risk of muscle injuries or joint pain. A 2011 study conducted by Colorado State University researchers found that subjects walking at about 1.7 mph at a 6 percent incline were able to reduce risk of injury on the treadmill and still get the same health benefit compared to walking at twice the speed on a flat treadmill.

https://livehealthy.chron.com/recommended-start-limits-brisk-walking-beginners-treadmills-6333.html

 

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Incline treadmill walking is a good exercise for busy people. It can give you the benefits of a 1-hour workout in 30 minutes.

The fact that you will see results in a short duration will also motivate you to exercise regularly. If you’re too busy, make sure you walk for at least 15 minutes a day.

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If you want to tone your legs and butt, incline treadmill walking is the way to go. Walking on incline tones the glutes, hamstrings, and calves more than walking on a treadmill without the incline.

According to this study, using a 9-degree treadmill incline increased glute activation by 345% and hamstrings showed a 635% increase in muscular activity. Researchers also found that increasing speed led to an increase in muscular activity. Muscle activity increases significantly when the incline is set at 3 degrees and above.

https://flabfix.com/benefits-incline-treadmill-walking-30-minutes-day/

Edited by IfIOnly
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Thanks so much for posting this! I am going to try it.  I have been using the treadmill the opposite way-- with very little incline at a faster pace for a longer time.  I would love to get better results.  Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for posting!  This interests me.  We have a treadmill but I feel like I walk "wrong" when using it and my knees hurt.  I wonder if an incline would help me walk normally and not have knee pain.

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1 hour ago, alisoncooks said:

Very cool! Do you have a home treadmill? 

I'm trying to support local businesses as much as possible right now and have a Planet Fitness membership. It's $10 a month . There is no yearly commitment for that price though because they're just trying to stay afloat. My gym has blocked off every other treadmill and exercise machine to meet the social distancing guidelines and requires masks or face shields and sanitizing of equipment after use. They're doing the best they can. It used to be packed, but there are free machines throughout the building even with so many machines decommissioned. I sure hope they are able to hang in there and make it through the pandemic.

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Awesome! I was just wondering what sort of machine you used. 

My DH is toying with getting a Planet Fitness membership. Our closest is 40 min away...but in the town where he works. So, convenient him...not so much for me. 🙂

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3 hours ago, happi duck said:

Thanks for posting!  This interests me.  We have a treadmill but I feel like I walk "wrong" when using it and my knees hurt.  I wonder if an incline would help me walk normally and not have knee pain.

How do you walk? There are tutorials online that have helped me figure out the right posture and stride. I found out I was putting my feet much too far forward and in front of me and few other things. I guess your foot should land closer to your body and the focus should be on the push off.  My knee pain has disappeared since using an incline. 

This article was helpful to me if you're interested. https://www.verywellfit.com/treadmill-walking-mistakes-to-avoid-3436655

Edited by IfIOnly
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Wow!

I always felt that using an incline hurt my knee..but I was trying to do it at the same speed as flat walking. I never thought to slow down!

If/when it is safe around here to go to the gym, I may try that!

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@Ottakee @ktgrok  It looks like it's a two fold thing. There's less pressure on the knees, and the muscles that support the knees have the potential to be strengthened in a way they wouldn't with flat walking. Incline level and slower vs. faster makes a difference too. 

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In addition to the calorie burn, incline walking can increase gluteal, hamstring, and quadriceps muscle activation during a workout which can significantly improve strength and stamina to the muscles that provide support to the knees. Also, new research demonstrates that walking on treadmills at an incline of 10% or greater can significantly reduce frontal plane knee joint loading. This is great news for folks who wish to exercise but have to take it easy on their knees due to osteoarthritis concerns or have recently undergone a knee replacement.

https://fitphysicaltherapy.com/blogs/welcome-to-our-blog/incline-walking-good-option-for-knee-osteoarthritis-patients#:~:text=In addition to the calorie,provide support to the knees.

 

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Haight et al reported that slow incline walking resulted in smaller compressive tibiofemoral forces than fast level walking.14 Ehlen et al also found that slow incline walking reduced external knee adduction moment compared with faster level walking.8 It is still unclear whether incline walking is associated with large frontal plane knee joint loading when walking speed is at a fitness walking pace, defined by the American College of Sports Medicine as 1.34 m/s.1

1.34 m/s is pretty much 3 mph.

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Conclusion

Treadmill gradients above 5% significantly decreased frontal plane knee loading compared with level walking values. Also, a dose-response relationship between the frontal plane knee moment and treadmill gradients existed in gradient increments of 10%. Treadmill gradients of 10% to 15% or greater are recommended for rehabilitation and exercise protocols. This is in agreement with Lange et al, who suggested using a treadmill gradient just greater than 12% for knee rehabilitation purposes.10 Using a treadmill gradient in this recommended range would result in reduced frontal plane joint loading at the knee and greater use of the gluteus, hamstrings, quadriceps, and triceps surae muscles. This recommendation allows an individual to walk safely on an inclined treadmill and increase muscle activation of the lower limb for rehabilitation or exercise goals. The dose-response relationship findings may help clinicians create appropriate rehabilitation and exercise protocols.

https://lermagazine.com/cover_story/incline-walking-an-offloading-option-for-patients-with-knee-oa

Edited by IfIOnly
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I'm so glad you posted this.  I have an incline trainer but it's SO tiring.  I never thought to slow down below 2 mph.  I'll have to try that.

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I'm out of shape, so there's definitely that, but my heartrate is up where it should be for a good cardio workout despite going so slow. I don't know if I could go much faster and keep my heartrate in a safe target zone, at least for everyday exercise rather than 1 or 2 times a week of high intensity. But maybe that's just health guidelines for out of shape people like me? 🤷‍♀️

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3 hours ago, IfIOnly said:

I'm out of shape, so there's definitely that, but my heartrate is up where it should be for a good cardio workout despite going so slow. I don't know if I could go much faster and keep my heartrate in a safe target zone, at least for everyday exercise rather than 1 or 2 times a week of high intensity. But maybe that's just health guidelines for out of shape people like me? 🤷‍♀️

If you enjoy it and it's working for you, who cares about guidelines?  When it gets too easy make it a bit harder.

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5 hours ago, IfIOnly said:

I'm out of shape, so there's definitely that, but my heartrate is up where it should be for a good cardio workout despite going so slow. I don't know if I could go much faster and keep my heartrate in a safe target zone, at least for everyday exercise rather than 1 or 2 times a week of high intensity. But maybe that's just health guidelines for out of shape people like me? 🤷‍♀️

Your heart rate zone is what you should be paying attention to.  You will gain both stamina and speed with time; add just when your hr isn't going up anymore. 

Before stupid Covid I was doing incline HIIT intervals at the gym, and it was so hard at first, but as I kept doing it I was able to increase my speed an incline levels quite a bit for the same target hr. 

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I tried this today and it was very doable.  I only did 10 minutes at 6% incline and 1.7mph...but I also have a torn meniscus so didn't want to over do it.  I found it very doable to even easy.  My HR stayed at 100-105 so not super high (but my resting is 55-60).

As I progress, do you increase the time first, the incline first or the speed first?  To be honest, 20 to possibly 30 minutes will be my max ever on a treadmill.  So do I work up to 20 minutes at the current level and then slowly increase the incline?  

I tried googling this and ended up with 12 % incline at 4-5mph and that is NOT doable for an overweight 50 year old mom who has torn meniscus in both knees.

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Did this yesterday as well. I have a fancy NordicTrack so I could follow a trainer up a mountain, at times we were at 30% incline - oh my! Going slow and steady is the key. I started running this spring, but I have had too much joint pain as a result so this will be a perfect way for me to stay in shape - thanks. (burned 300 calories in 35 minutes!)

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6 hours ago, Ottakee said:

I tried this today and it was very doable.  I only did 10 minutes at 6% incline and 1.7mph...but I also have a torn meniscus so didn't want to over do it.  I found it very doable to even easy.  My HR stayed at 100-105 so not super high (but my resting is 55-60).

As I progress, do you increase the time first, the incline first or the speed first?  To be honest, 20 to possibly 30 minutes will be my max ever on a treadmill.  So do I work up to 20 minutes at the current level and then slowly increase the incline?  

I tried googling this and ended up with 12 % incline at 4-5mph and that is NOT doable for an overweight 50 year old mom who has torn meniscus in both knees.

That's wonderful! Having another exercise option is a blessing. Variation is good.

I would choose to increase the incline over speed first. I wanted to get to that at least 10-12 to 15 or greater range that the best for knees ASAP. 6 was pretty easy for me too. I was able to work up pretty quickly to 10. Right now my heart rate is in the high normal range for aerobic exercise (or sometimes higher😬) at 10 incline and 1.7 speed, and I know I'm pushing it. I'll be here awhile until that HR goes down. I think that's pretty pathetic and  unusual though. 🤷

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6 hours ago, lmrich said:

Did this yesterday as well. I have a fancy NordicTrack so I could follow a trainer up a mountain, at times we were at 30% incline - oh my! Going slow and steady is the key. I started running this spring, but I have had too much joint pain as a result so this will be a perfect way for me to stay in shape - thanks. (burned 300 calories in 35 minutes!)

Yes, slow and steady. I mean, how many people are running up mountains when climbing? Maybe for short stretches, but it's about endurance, not speed. I love seeing a pretty great number of calories burned for such a short amount of time working out too! And, wow, 30% is intense. Nice! I tried 15%, and there was no way I could keep up with that. 

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7 hours ago, Ottakee said:

I tried this today and it was very doable.  I only did 10 minutes at 6% incline and 1.7mph...but I also have a torn meniscus so didn't want to over do it.  I found it very doable to even easy.  My HR stayed at 100-105 so not super high (but my resting is 55-60).

As I progress, do you increase the time first, the incline first or the speed first?  To be honest, 20 to possibly 30 minutes will be my max ever on a treadmill.  So do I work up to 20 minutes at the current level and then slowly increase the incline?  

I tried googling this and ended up with 12 % incline at 4-5mph and that is NOT doable for an overweight 50 year old mom who has torn meniscus in both knees.

I was doing inclines in an HIIT class, so we were going by heart rate zones.  It's not your resting heart rate you want to compare to, it's your max.  The 'standard' max hr formula is 220 minus your age.  This is not always accurate (it isn't for me, mine is quite a bit higher than the average, which is not a bad thing, as I also have a low resting, it's just individual difference) BUT it's a good rule of thumb.  For a good, steady, workout your target hr should be about 71-83% of max; if you want to push yourself (don't have to!), it's still fine and healthy to be around 84-91% - that zone should be uncomfortable but doable.  Above that is the all-out zone that can only be sustained for 30-45 sec.  Kind of like a burst of speed or the incline version of a sprint, but don't hang out there - in fact, your body won't let you, lol.

We usually did steady state at 4-6% incline, pushes were 7-9% (usually not for more than a few minutes at a time), and all-out was 10-15%.  Speed depended on each person, but looking at the target hr.  I gradually was able to up my inclines to the higher ranges for the same hr.  I'd also agree to up the incline before the speed, but you can do combos too; I think you'll find your speed will gradually increase as you get used to it.

Have you read the book Spark?   It's a great read and talks about the benefit of working out at different heart rates.

7 hours ago, lmrich said:

Did this yesterday as well. I have a fancy NordicTrack so I could follow a trainer up a mountain, at times we were at 30% incline - oh my! Going slow and steady is the key. I started running this spring, but I have had too much joint pain as a result so this will be a perfect way for me to stay in shape - thanks. (burned 300 calories in 35 minutes!)

30%?  Where is the fainting emoji?  I don't think our treads went higher than 15%, and that was darned hard, even for a short period! 

Edited by Matryoshka
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1 hour ago, Matryoshka said:

I was doing inclines in an HIIT class, so we were going by heart rate zones.  It's not your resting heart rate you want to compare to, it's your max.  The 'standard' max hr formula is 220 minus your age.  This is not always accurate (it isn't for me, mine is quite a bit higher than the average, which is not a bad thing, as I also have a low resting, it's just individual difference) BUT it's a good rule of thumb.  For a good, steady, workout your target hr should be about 71-83% of max; if you want to push yourself (don't have to!), it's still fine and healthy to be around 84-91% - that zone should be uncomfortable but doable.  Above that is the all-out zone that can only be sustained for 30-45 sec.  Kind of like a burst of speed or the incline version of a sprint, but don't hang out there - in fact, your body won't let you, lol.

We usually did steady state at 4-6% incline, pushes were 7-9% (usually not for more than a few minutes at a time), and all-out was 10-15%.  Speed depended on each person, but looking at the target hr.  I gradually was able to up my inclines to the higher ranges for the same hr.  I'd also agree to up the incline before the speed, but you can do combos too; I think you'll find your speed will gradually increase as you get used to it.

Have you read the book Spark?   It's a great read and talks about the benefit of working out at different heart rates.

30%?  Where is the fainting emoji?  I don't think our treads went higher than 15%, and that was darned hard, even for a short period! 

Thanks for the heart rate info. That helped me relax some. I'm probably a little too cautious about it. It's just I have so many other issues going on and don't want to create anymore. Ugh. I really, really want to be successful this time with exercise too. 

The first image is just before my workout is finished. My heart rate is 150-155 consistently the last 10 minutes of the workout and 160 and just above if I drink water or switch channels or do something on my phone as well instead if just walk.

The other pic is after cool down. Almost 200 calories burned. Whoohoo.

 

IMG_20201018_145803741.jpg

IMG_20201018_150318985.jpg

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Heart rate: found a way to mostly keep it in 140-145ish range. Purposeful deep breathing and resting hands on side rails or heart rate monitor bar. Yay! I'm also drinking a ton more water just recently after getting a fancy new water bottle and dropped down to just 1 caffeine drink a day. I think I was dehydrated as well, which can less with your heart rate.

I was starting to feel unchallenged and bored and did a mix of 12, 11, and 10 incline today. Feeling a little sore like usual when I increase, but it's usually gone in the morning. I needed a change, so I'm happy about that.

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Forgot! I really felt the workout in my glutes more than before today. I'm all for more more butt muscle activation. I'm an hourglass shape, so def an area I hope to tone.

Edited by IfIOnly
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