How long should I walk on a treadmill to see results? A common question, with a somewhat complicated answer.
The fact is, it depends on several factors. And all of these factors need to be considered to provide you with a usable answer.
So, let me break it down for you:
How Long Should I Walk on a Treadmill to See Results? 3 Questions to Consider
First, What Are Your Goals?
To answer the central question of this topic, we first need to have a clear idea of what we want to achieve. Too many people begin to exercise and have vague goals of what they want to get out of it. The issue is, not having clear objectives makes it difficult to know if you’re moving in the right direction.
So, what are your goals? Do you mostly care about losing weight? If so – how much weight do you want to lose? Ten, twenty pounds? Be precise. Also, make sure to add a deadline for the goal. If you want to lose twenty pounds, why not make it, “Lose 20 pounds in the next 20 weeks.”
Or you might not care about weight loss that much. Instead, you might want to improve your aerobic capacity and start feeling better. You can make both of these goals more concrete. For instance:
“Walk a mile on the treadmill in 13 minutes.” This is an example where you make the goal of ‘build aerobic capacity’ more concrete.
“Have more energy and feel better in the afternoon.” Though mostly subjective, this is also a more concrete goal than simply ‘start feeling better.’
Can The Treadmill Help You Achieve Your Goals?
The next important thing to consider is if the treadmill is the right tool for the job you want to pull off. Just as many people start off not knowing what goals they want to achieve, many of them begin to use equipment they think would be helpful for them.
Treadmills are popular pieces of equipment, so many people gravitate toward them, not understanding their true purpose and if it aligns with what they want to achieve. Walk into any gym on January 5 or as spring comes along, and you’ll see dozens of people walking and running on treadmills. If you asked any of them about their goals, most would come up with vague objectives like:
“Lose some weight.”
There is nothing wrong with trying to get fit. There is also nothing wrong with not having concrete goals from the start. We are human, we make mistakes, and there is always a learning curve to overcome.
But beyond that, before asking, “How long should I walk on a treadmill?” consider, “Is the treadmill the right tool for the job?”
What Is a Treadmill Good For, Anyway?
Before answering the main question of today’s post, we’d first like to spend a couple of paragraphs going over the treadmill’s primary uses.
Most notably, treadmills are machines that let us walk and run indoors. Most people use the treadmill for jogging, but walking on an incline is also a great way to push your aerobic system and strengthen your legs (1, 2).
Since the treadmill involves the entire body, you can use it to improve your endurance, coordination, and balance. It also helps you burn many calories, which is beneficial if you also want to lose some weight (3).
More experienced trainees can also use the treadmill for interval running, which is also great for aerobic conditioning but also taxes fast-twitch muscle fibers better. As a result, this type of training is excellent for building muscle, getting stronger, and having more lower body power (4).
Still, it’s worth noting that interval running on a treadmill is a bit riskier, and beginners should mostly stick to walking and some jogging.
So, How Long Should I Walk on a Treadmill to See Results?
Now that we’ve laid down the groundwork, let’s dig into the main question on your mind. If you start using a treadmill today, how long will it take you to see results from it?
Well, this mainly depends on how much you want to use it, how much effort you’re willing to put into your training, what your goals are, and how far you are from achieving them.
For example, let’s say that your primary goal is to lose some weight. According to online calculators, incline walking on a treadmill can burn up to 800 calories in an hour. This is if the person weighs 160 pounds, walks at five miles per hour, and uses an incline of five percent.
If you weigh that much and do three of these workouts per week, that would mean a calorie burn of nearly 2,400 calories. Combine that with a decent diet, and you can start seeing results in as little as two to four weeks.
Given that amount of training volume, you can also expect to improve movement proficiency and aerobic capacity quite well in as little as one month of training.
Oh, and don’t forget. Physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, unwanted heart conditions, and lowers your blood pressure as well. Taking care of your heart health and the cardiovascular system should be a reason on its own to start exercise regularly!
The treadmill is a fantastic device, capable of delivering many benefits, so long as we push ourselves and use it consistently.
The exact time it would take you to see results will depend on many factors. Instead of fixating on that, focus on creating a process that will eventually carry you to your goals. For example, you might use the treadmill diligently, but if you don’t also take good care of your nutrition, you will struggle to see good weight loss results.
In any case, with regular use, most people should no matter their fitness level, see some results within two to four weeks of training on a treadmill.
Do you need help setting up a treadmill workout routine? Or do you just need help getting started doing regular exercise? Visit my MASSIVE cardio exercise archive, LOADED with peer-reviewed studies, aerobic activity hacks, and cardio workouts that actually work!
See you there!
Other Helpful Resources
- Treadmill Walking Workouts: The Ultimate Guide
- Six Fantastic Health Benefits of Jogging In The Morning
- What Is The Best Treadmill for Home Use? Reviews and Top Picks
- What is the Best Manual Treadmill? Reviews and Top Picks
- Treadmill Versus Rowing Machine: Which Is Better?
- 5 Amazing Benefits of Having a Treadmill at Home
- Treadmill Pace vs Road Pace: What Is The Difference?
- Mackay-Lyons M. Aerobic treadmill training effectively enhances cardiovascular fitness and gait function for older persons with chronic stroke. J Physiother. 2012;58(4):271. doi: 10.1016/S1836-9553(12)70131-5. PMID: 23177232.
- Gergley JC. Comparison of two lower-body modes of endurance training on lower-body strength development while concurrently training. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 May;23(3):979-87. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181a0629d. PMID: 19387377.
- Falcone PH, Tai CY, Carson LR, Joy JM, Mosman MM, McCann TR, Crona KP, Kim MP, Moon JR. Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance, or combined high-intensity interval training using a hydraulic resistance system in healthy men. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Mar;29(3):779-85. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000661. PMID: 25162652.
- Nalcakan GR. The Effects of Sprint Interval vs. Continuous Endurance Training on Physiological And Metabolic Adaptations in Young Healthy Adults. J Hum Kinet. 2014;44:97-109. Published 2014 Dec 30. doi:10.2478/hukin-2014-0115