The treadmill is a hugely popular aerobic exercise machine. Aside from being a versatile cardio machine, a treadmill can help you lose weight if that’s your goal.
In addition to helping you lose weight, working out on a treadmill has other benefits too. For instance:
- You can use the treadmill year-round.
- It’s possible to watch your favorite TV show while you exercise.
- The treadmill has handrails, which is ideal if you’re recovering from an injury.
- As with any heart-pumping cardio workout, it can help reduce your risk for heart disease and other chronic diseases, improve sleep, boost your mood, and improve brain function.
Treadmills are available at almost every gym, making it an accessible option for all fitness levels. Plus, if you prefer working out at home, treadmills can easily become part of your home gym, too.
Let’s explore the basics of treadmill weight loss, along with possible workout plans and tips.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves alternating sets of high-intensity exercise and rest.
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The idea is to work extra hard for short periods and rest between the high-intensity bursts of exercise. This burns a lot of calories, which helps contribute to weight loss.
Additionally, after a HIIT routine, your body attempts to return to a normal resting state. It does this by metabolizing body fat for energy.
Here’s how to do HIIT on a treadmill:
- Set the treadmill so it’s flat. Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to warm up.
- Run at your maximum speed for 30 seconds.
- Walk vigorously for 60 seconds.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times.
- Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to cool down.
For a more advanced workout, alternate between jogging and sprinting. You can also add more minutes to each high-intensity set. Ideally, your rest intervals should be twice as long as your high-intensity intervals.
Another strategy for treadmill weight loss is to switch up your routine. By doing a different workout each time, you can:
- Reduce your risk for injury. Repeating the same workout is stressful on your joints. It increases the risk of overuse injury, which can set you back.
- Avoid a training plateau. The more you do a certain workout, the less you’ll see results. Your body needs to be challenged to progress.
- Prevent boredom. You’re more likely to stick to your routine if you regularly mix up your workout.
Here’s a sample workout plan, where different treadmill workouts are incorporated into a balanced exercise routine:
- Sunday: rest, leisurely walk, or gentle yoga
- Monday: treadmill HIIT routine for 20 to 30 minutes
- Tuesday: light treadmill jog and strength training
- Wednesday: rest, leisurely walk, or gentle yoga
- Thursday: light treadmill jog and strength training
- Friday: treadmill HIIT routine for 20 to 30 minutes
- Saturday: barre class or bodyweight workout
It also activates more muscles, which contributes to building more lean muscle mass. This helps you lose weight, since muscle burns more calories than fat.
If you’d like to exercise on an incline, try this treadmill sequence:
- Set the treadmill to flat. Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to warm up.
- Set the incline to 1 percent. Jog at 4 to 6 mph for 1 minute.
- Increase the incline by 1 percent each minute. Repeat until you reach an 8 to 10 percent incline.
- Decrease the incline by 1 percent each minute. Repeat until you’re at a 0 to 1 percent incline.
- Walk at 2 mph for 5 minutes to cool down.
Generally, 4 to 6 mph is the average jogging speed. You can increase the speed or add more minutes to make this workout harder.
For an easier version, increase the incline by 0.5 percent each minute. Repeat until you’ve reached a 4 to 5 percent incline, then work in reverse.
In addition to weight loss, cardio activity like a treadmill workout offers many benefits. It may help:
- improve endurance
- control blood sugar
- increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels
- improve memory and cognition
- protect against Alzheimer’s
- promote healthier skin
- strengthen muscles
- decrease fatigue
- decrease joint stiffness
- relieve stress and anxiety
- promote better sleep
- increase energy levels
- boost your immune system
- improve sexual arousal
As a form of cardio exercise, using a treadmill is an excellent way of burning calories and losing weight.
If you’re not sure what type of treadmill workout is best suited to you, talk to a certified personal trainer. They can work with you to create a customized treadmill weight loss program.
For best results, combine treadmill workouts with strength training. Both forms of exercise can help support weight loss and overall health.
If you’re new to exercise, or if you haven’t worked out in a while, talk to your doctor before you start a new fitness routine.