Walking on a treadmill is a great cardiovascular exercise that burns fat all over your body. As you walk, you raise your heart rate and increase the circulation and blood throughout the entire body.
Besides, walking on a treadmill is a low-impact exercise compared to jogging or running. It is one of the most simple and gentle exercises suitable for everyone.
But if you’re looking to use the treadmill to lose weight, the question is how long do you have to walk before you actually lose weight?
Let’s do the math here, to lose a pound of fat, you’d have to burn more than 3,500 calories a week. That means to trim 500 calories a day walking on the treadmill.
If you are walking at a sluggish pace of 2 mph, you would only manage to burn about 175 calories in an hour. Double the pace to 4 mph to a brisk walk, you would only manage to burn 325 calories.
In other words, we’d have to walk 90 minutes on the treadmill 7 days a week to burn the necessary 500 calories a day to lose a pound in a week.
That’s why simply walking on the treadmill is not going to work it, you need to plan out a good treadmill workout.
1. Create Calorie Deficit
Calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. In order to create a calorie deficit, you can exercise like hell, but even then you’ll only be shaving off the total number of calories you can eat in a day (your intake is around 2,000, and an intense workout will set you back 350 or so).
By reducing your calorie intake by 500 a day, you can lose a pound a week. Then doing exercise on top of this, you are in a perfect position to amplify your results and accelerate your progress. Walking workouts do just that.
2. Change Your incline
Having a treadmill is like owning a mountain in the comfort of your home. Olympic sprinters prepare their body by adding resistance to their sprints, and they do this by sprinting up hill instead of on a level.
If you’re doing a walking workout, you can increase resistance by increasing the incline of your walk. Doing this will make you engage the large muscles groups – the thighs, quads, glutes and calves, which in turn will dial up the load on your cardiovascular system, as you need to pump more blood around your larger muscles.
If you walk for five minutes on the maximum incline you heart will be working as hard as if you were running without any of the speed or impact. So, gradually increase your incline accroding to your level.
3. Vary Speed and Stride
If you’re trying to lose weight but you maintain at the same speed and incline every time you hit the treadmill, you can run into a rut. That is the laziness of keeping up with a boring routine and your workout will drizzle the burn in your calories.
As you commit to one pace, your body optimizes its rhythms to do the movements required of it as efficiently as possible. That’s why you need to keep changing it up.
By varying the speed of your walk throughout your workout you will keep your body and prevent yourself from falling into a comfort zone where the exercise becomes “easy”, and therefore isn’t burning as many calories as it could.
There’s a hilariously titled discipline in running training called Fartlek, where constant variation in rhythm, speed, and distance maximize the body’s response to exercise. This is a toned down version of that.
Equally, you can vary your stride on a treadmill. It’s possible to walk almost entirely doing alternate lunges, or a wide stride, or putting one foot just in front of the other very quickly. Doing this will activate different muscle groups to different extents, and allow you to keep yourself entertained as you go.
4. Adjust the Intervals
Now you have some techniques to play with – adjusting your speed, stride pattern and incline – you have to set yourself challenges that build an interplay between these variables. Interval training requires periods of intense exercise interspersed with a period of recovery.
That means you want to be moving for two minutes a moderate pace with a slight incline to warm up before adjusting either the incline, speed or stride significantly and doing this for one or two minutes at a time, before switching between elements to emphasise different qualities of movement or resistance before giving yourself a period to recover.
If you are looking to do a 30-minute treadmill workout to lose weight, break this into blocks of five, with two minutes recovery, then three one minute exercises playing with speed, depth and stride respectively, will help you maximize the weight loss benefit of your treadmill session. As you get stronger, more time, longer intervals, and more intervals between recoveries will help you progress.
5. Plan a good treadmill workout
There’s no point doing the workout if you aren’t recording it because data is everything in making quantifiable progress. Just measuring your weight at the end of each week is not enough to take full control.
Measure your heart rate throughout your session and take a look at your calorie count at the end of each session too – this will help you see how your body is changing and strengthening in response to what you’re putting it through, and encourage you to develop and push your workout sessions in order to create the maximum result.
Remember, if your body is always working toward the economy, that means it doesn’t want to burn fat. The better at exercise it gets, the less it will burn, so you have to push it harder to get the same results. The good news is this also makes you fitter, stronger, healthier and happier.
Walking workouts are can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight with a calorie deficit diet. They can help you prevent and manage a wide range of conditions that can cause health complications in later life, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
The practice of intense walking will strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mood, and if you push yourself, improve your balance and coordination too. All from walking. It’s time to re-evaluate this simple but effective method and give it a chance.
It’s time to re-evaluate this simple yet effective method. So, add walking on a treadmill to your fitness regime and try the benefits of it.