02 May Can you lose weight walking on a treadmill?
Yes! Treadmills are highly effective – even when just walking on them
Treadmills are the most popular home gym machine in the world for a variety of reasons. Near the top of the list are advantages such as being extremely easy to use, convenience, safety, privacy and effectiveness.
That’s right, treadmills are highly effective – even when just walking on them. A person can most definitely lose weight and achieve better health by walking regularly on a treadmill, coupled with following a sensible diet.
Numerous sources estimate that more than 60 million people own a treadmill. Walking is the most natural form of exercise and can benefit people of all ages. Regular walking burns calories and tones muscles.
Mix it up
One of the best things about owning a treadmill is the multitude of ways to exercise on it.
A person can vastly change the speeds, incline or decline, and easily perform interval training workouts. You can walk, jog or sprint. Treadmills can benefit anyone from a rehab patient, to an elite athlete trying to push themselves in high-impact running, or the couple next door who regularly walk.
The treadmill is a fantastic machine, enabling people to control the impact, intensity and surfaces on which they’re moving.
To get the best results from using your treadmill, make sure to vary your speeds and workouts.
The American Heart Association and American College of Sports Medicine both suggest 30-minute workouts (walking or running) five days week to improve and maintain heart health.
How do you actually lose weight walking?
To lose weight, a person obviously has to burn more calories than they consume.
The number of calories that someone actually exerts walking on a treadmill depends on many factors, including the individual’s body composition and the duration, speed and resistance level of the walk.
For example, Healthstatus.com reports that a 30-year-old woman walking at the slow pace of 2 mph would burn 175 calories in an hour.
If she can double the pace to 4 mph, which is fast but not impossible, she would burn 325 calories.
Many people make the mistake of walking for 20 or 30 minutes, but never challenging themselves by going faster than 2 mph. If you can go a little faster then go for it.
I’m a big advocate of interval training, which involves speeding up the pace for several minutes and then slowing it back down. You can build up your endurance over time to increase how long you walk at a fast pace.
For example, walk slow for the first five minutes, walk faster for the next five and keep alternating. Most treadmills allow you to set up custom interval workouts or you can choose a pre-programmed walk.
According to ACE Fitness, the idea that “lower-intensity exercise puts you in the fat-burning zone, so it’s preferable to higher-intensity exercise” is a myth. ACE reports that running at 65 percent of your maximum pulse is the ideal intensity to trigger the body to start burning fat for fuel.
High-density lipoprotein, aka good cholesterol, helps decrease a person’s risk for atherosclerosis, which is a blocking of the arteries that can possibly cause heart attack and stroke.
Regular walking on a treadmill at a brisk pace for 30 minutes may help boost HDL levels by as much as 5 percent, according to MayoClinic.com.
I love the ways that a treadmill also can help motivate a person. Thanks to the technology available, a person can see lots of different data at all times during their workout. Most treadmills display a visual readout of calories burned, pulse rate and other pertinent information makes it something of a motivational tool, too.
Watch the heart rate monitor on your treadmill and strive to reach 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, or walk between 3 and 4 mph, depending on your height and leg stride. Many treadmills come with programmable workouts, allowing you to enter your age, height and weight to achieve the right speed for you.
And, you can control the entertainment by watching TV, listening to music or podcast.
Final pep talk
Consult with your doctor before starting a new walking regimen, especially if you have existing health conditions. If you haven’t been exercising regularly start slow and build up gradually. Even slow walking is better than not walking at all.
Make sure you have a good pair of shoes to walk in – your feet and whole body will thank you.
I highly recommend shopping at a specialty fitness running store to get fit with the best shoe possible.
Make sure to get a treadmill that’s right for you.
3G Cardio fitness editor Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. Consult a doctor before making any significant changes in your exercise routine or diet. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@3Gcardio.com.