The fancier gym equipment gets, the easier it is to overlook the humble treadmill. After all, what can this classic cardio machine really do for you that an elliptical or Peloton can’t? Plenty, as it turns out. Treadmills offer a unique form of cardio that comes with its own set of benefits, and with the right workout, they can be just as challenging — if not more so — than any other machine in the gym. In this article, we’ll answer all your burning questions about treadmill workouts, from how to choose the right machine to what kind of workouts you can do on it. By the end of this article you’ll be convinced that the treadmill is worth your time — and sweat.
Is Treadmill Good For Weight Loss?
Yes, treadmill workouts can be very effective for weight loss (5). In fact, they can be more effective than some other forms of cardio, such as cycling because they require you to use more of your body’s muscles.
When you walk or run on a treadmill, you are working your legs, hips, and core, as well as your arms and back. This means that you are burning more calories than you would if you were doing a similar workout on a stationary bike, for example.
Of course, the number of calories you burn during a treadmill workout depends on such factors as your weight, intensity, and duration. But on average, you can expect to burn between 300 and 400 calories in 30 minutes.
Weight loss aside, the treadmill can also be a great way to:
- Improve cardiovascular health – like other aerobic exercises, treadmill workouts can help to strengthen your heart and lungs (4).
- Improve bone health – the impact of walking or running on a treadmill can help to improve bone density, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis (8).
- Reduce stress – Exercise is a well-known stress reliever, and the treadmill can be a great way to blow off some steam after a long day (3).
- Boost energy levels – Treadmill workouts can give you a much-needed energy boost, thanks to the release of endorphins, which are known as “happy hormones (1).
Yes, treadmill workouts can be effective for losing belly fat. This is because they help create a calorie deficit, which is sometimes difficult to do through diet alone.
You’ve probably heard fitness gurus say you can’t spot-reduce fat, and that’s true — you can’t choose where on your body you want to lose weight. By burning more calories than you consume, you will eventually start to lose weight all over, including in your belly.
A combination of diet and exercise is usually the best approach for losing weight, including belly fat (7). In addition to doing regular treadmill workouts, make sure you are eating a healthy diet that is high in protein and fiber and low in unhealthy fats. You should also cut back on processed and sugary foods.
How Many Calories Does A Treadmill Burn?
The number of calories you burn while walking or running on a treadmill depends on your weight, intensity, and duration.
For example, a 160-pound person who walks at a moderate pace (3.5 mph) for 30 minutes will burn approximately 150 calories. But if that same person increases their speed to a brisk pace (4.5 mph), they will burn closer to 200 calories in the same amount of time (2).
Generally, the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn. In addition, the more intensity and duration you have, the more calories you will burn.
Read More: Treadmill Workouts: Pros, Cons, And Everything Else You Should Know
How To Choose A Treadmill
When choosing a treadmill, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, consider your budget. Treadmills can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Of course, you get what you pay for, and the more expensive models usually have more features and are more durable. If you’re just starting out, you may not need all the bells and whistles.
Second, think about where you will be placing the treadmill. If you have a small home gym, you may not have the space for a large, commercial-grade treadmill. In that case, a folding treadmill would be a good option.
Third, consider your fitness goals. If you are training for a marathon, you will need a different treadmill than someone who is just trying to lose a few pounds.
Marathon training requires long periods of time at a consistent pace, so you will need a treadmill with a long belt and a powerful motor. If you are just trying to lose weight, on the other hand, you may not need as much horsepower.
Finally, make sure you try out the treadmill before you buy it. Just because a treadmill has all the features you are looking for doesn’t mean it will be comfortable to use.
Be sure to walk or run on the treadmill at different speeds and inclines to get a feel for it before you make your final decision.
How To Use A Treadmill
Now that you know how to choose a treadmill, it’s time to learn how to use one. For your safety, always read the owner’s manual before using any piece of exercise equipment.
Most treadmills have similar controls, but there may be some slight variations from model to model.
- To start the treadmill, press the “on” button and then use the up or down arrow keys to select your desired speed. Start at a slow pace and then gradually increase your speed as you get comfortable.
- To change the incline, press the “incline” button and then use the up or down arrow keys to select your desired level. Again, start at a low incline and gradually increase it as you get comfortable.
- To stop the treadmill, press the “off” button. You can also use the emergency stop button if you need to stop the treadmill quickly.
- Don’t jump off the treadmill while it is still moving, as this could damage the machine or injure you. Instead, slow down the treadmill to a stop before getting off.
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What Speed Should I Walk On A Treadmill?
The speed at which you walk on a treadmill depends on your fitness level and your goals. If you are just starting out, it’s best to start at a slow pace and gradually increase the speed as you get comfortable.
When starting out you should be able to talk while you are walking, but you should not be able to sing. This pace guarantees your safety especially if you’re new to working out. Your fitness goals determine the progression of your speed. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, you should aim for a pace of 3-4 mph. This pace will help you burn more calories.
If you are trying to increase your endurance, on the other hand, you will want to walk at a slower pace of 2-3 mph. This pace will help you build up your endurance without tiring you out too much. That way, you can spend more time on the treadmill and ultimately increase your fitness level.
If you are an experienced runner, set your pace according to your goals. For example, if you are training for a marathon, you will want to do some of your runs at a pace of 6-8 mph. But if you are just trying to stay in shape, a pace of 4-5 mph may be more appropriate.
Remember, the most important thing is to start at a pace that is comfortable for you and then gradually increase your speed as you get more comfortable with the treadmill.
How Long Is A Good Workout On A Treadmill?
Like other workouts, how long your treadmill workout should be depends on your fitness level and goals. Short, intense workouts are best for people who are trying to lose weight. In this case, 20-30 minutes on the treadmill should be enough.
If you are trying to increase your endurance, however, you will need to spend more time on the treadmill. In this case, a good workout would be 45-60 minutes long.Of course, if you are an experienced runner, you can adjust your workout time according to your goals.
What Is The 12-3-30 Treadmill Workout?
The 12-3-30 treadmill workout is a recent trend that has been gaining popularity on social media. It dictates that you walk on a treadmill at an incline of 12% and a speed of 3 mph for 30 minutes (9). The combination of the incline and the speed is said to help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
If you want to try this workout, be sure to start at a lower incline and speed to get your body adjusted. Then, gradually increase the incline and speed until you reach 12% and 3 mph.
Keep in mind that this is a high-intensity workout and may not be appropriate for everyone. Always consult with a doctor before starting any new workout routine.
Is It Better To Walk Longer Or Faster?
Speed and distance are both measures of how intense your workout is. You can use either one to gauge your progress and set goals.
That said, most experts agree that it is better to walk faster than it is to walk longer. This is because walking at a faster pace will help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time (6). Furthermore, walking longer gets increasingly difficult as you tire out, which can lead to injuries.
Of course, the best option is to find a balance between the two. Start by walking at a moderate pace for a shorter distance. Then, gradually increase your speed and/or your distance as you get more comfortable.
Read More: A Treadmill HIIT Workout That’s Simple And Effective
Should I Hold Handles On A Treadmill?
You should not hold the handles on a treadmill as it increases your risk of injury. Furthermore, it throws your posture off and can lead to soreness in your shoulders and neck. If you find yourself needing to hold the handles, it means that you are going too fast. Slow your pace down until you no longer feel the need to hold on. Your form is much more important than your speed.
Is It Ok To Treadmill Every Day?
You should not treadmill every day as it can lead to overuse injuries. Furthermore, your body needs time to recover after a workout. This is why it is important to have at least one day of rest per week.
If you want to treadmill every day, make sure to mix up your routine. For example, you can run on some days and walk on others. Or, you can change the incline and speed to give your body a different challenge.
The most important thing is to listen to your body and make sure you are not overdoing it. If you are feeling pain or soreness, take a day off to rest.
What Are The Side Effects Of Treadmill Workouts?
Treadmill workouts are generally safe. However, there are a few side effects that you should be aware of.
First, you may experience some joint pain, particularly in your knees and ankles. This is because walking or running on a treadmill puts a lot of stress on these joints.
Second, you may get injured if you overdo it. As with any workout, it is important to start slowly and increase your intensity gradually. If you push yourself too hard, you may end up with a muscle strain or other injury.
Finally, you may get bored if you do the same treadmill workout every day. This is why it is important to mix up your routine and keep things interesting. A combination of strength training, intervals, and inclines will help you avoid boredom and see results.
How Long After Using A Treadmill Will I See Results?
Like other forms of exercise, you will see the most results from treadmill workouts after several weeks or months of consistent training.
The key word is “consistent.” You need to be consistent with your workouts in order to see results. This means working out at least 3-5 times per week and gradually increasing your intensity over time.
If you are just starting out, you may not see much of a difference in the first few weeks. However, if you stick with it, you will eventually start to see results in terms of your endurance, speed, and overall fitness level.
Note that your results are also dependent on other factors, such as your diet and sleep habits. Eating healthy and getting enough rest will help you reach your fitness goals faster.
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How Do I Know If I’m Working Out Too Hard On A Treadmill?
There are a few signs that you may be working out too hard on a treadmill.
First, you should not be holding onto the handrails. This means that you are going too fast and your form is suffering as a result.
Second, you should not be out of breath or feeling like you can’t go on. Treadmill workouts should be challenging, but they should not be so difficult that you can’t complete them.
Finally, you should not be in pain. If you are feeling any pain in your joints or muscles, you need to slow down or take a break.
If you are unsure, it is always best to err on the side of caution and go at a slower pace. You can always increase your intensity later on as you get more comfortable with the treadmill.
The Bottom Line
Treadmill workouts are a great way to improve your fitness level. They also offer a variety of benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health and weight loss. However, it is important to be safe and avoid overuse injuries. Make sure to listen to your body and take breaks when needed.
With consistency and dedication, you will eventually start to see results from your treadmill workouts. Remember to mix things up to avoid boredom and stay motivated.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Biochemistry, Endorphin (2022, nih.gov)
- Can You Burn the Same Amount of Calories Walking vs. Running? (2019, clevelandclinic.org)
- Exercise for Mental Health (2006, nih.gov)
- Exercise for Prevention and Relief of Cardiovascular Disease: Prognoses, Mechanisms, and Approaches (2019, nih.gov)
- Effects of treadmill exercise on the regulatory mechanisms of mitochondrial dynamics and oxidative stress in the brains of high-fat diet fed rats (2019, nih.gov)
- Faster Walking Pace is Associated with Higher Cardiovascular Fitness (2018, clevlandlandclinic.org)
- Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies (2003, nih.gov)
- Walking is related to bone density and rates of bone loss (1994, nih.gov)
- What Is the 12-3-30 Workout? And Does It Work? (2021, clevelandclinic.org)