How Long Should I Run On The Treadmill? 2024 Effective Tips

How long should you run on a treadmill to lose weight? It depends. How fast are you running? How strong are your leg muscles already? Contrary to popular belief, you can lose weight on a treadmill under many routines and circumstances.

While the amount of time you use a treadmill won’t exactly determine how much weight loss you’ll experience, it’s certainly one way to keep track of your daily routine and chart the weight loss progress you stand to see.

How Long Should You Run On A Treadmill?

  • There is no minimum that you need to adhere to strictly. The ideal duration for a treadmill workout depends on your available time. The key is to focus on calorie burning. 
  • The length of your workout matters less than its intensity and effort. It’s important to monitor your heart rate with a heart rate monitor as you work out.

How Long Should I Run On The Treadmill?

How Long Should I Run On The Treadmill
The length of your workout matters less than its intensity and effort. Photo: Freepik

There is no minimum that you need to adhere to strictly. For many, the appropriate length of time is generally the amount of time you have to spare for the activity. More relevant to your calorie-burning journey will inevitably be the calories you’re able to expand while exercising.

According to MyFitnessPal, a person who weighs 150 pounds will burn approximately 366 calories per hour when running briskly on a treadmill. This makes treadmill running program significantly more time-efficient than similar types of indoor physical activity,[1] such as using an exercise bike or an elliptical. If time is of the essence, treadmill workouts are well worth the investment.

The length of time you choose, of course, is less important than the nature of the workout and the effort your body needs to expend to keep up with the machine. Mostly, any treadmill workout aims to elevate your heart rate and challenge your muscles with resistance and an incline.

Monitoring your heart rate with a heart rate monitor as you work out is important because it’s a great way to quantify the intensity of the activity and determine how hard your body is working. Of course, increasing the speed of the treadmill is one way to push it to the limit, which will improve your aerobic capacity, and maximize your effort.

If you’re running on a treadmill, you should aim for a heart rate of approximately 85 to 170 beats per minute or BPM. For intense exercise on a treadmill, you’ll see the most good health benefits somewhere around 200 BPM.

Running faster and at a steeper incline throughout your treadmill workouts is the way to go for high-intensity interval training. However, you don’t need to be taking it to the extreme as you run. Taking it easy once in a while is one great way to stay active while giving your body the time it needs to recover and rebuild.

Walking On A Treadmill

Walking on a treadmill is also nothing to sneeze at—even physical activity at a leisurely pace can burn up to 289 calories per hour. If your fitness level isn’t stellar, the brisk walking pace for longer periods is the perfect way to get into the swing of a new exercise program. As mentioned before, increasing the treadmill incline will also help you burn more calories and improve cardiovascular health.

The same goes for moderate-intensity exercise for even the fittest among us—marathon elite runners might consider watching a great movie or reading a book while walking at a moderate level or jogging gently. While running at higher speeds and giving it your all might feel like the best way to meet your fitness goals, doing warm-up carefully and giving your legs a break once in a while is the best way to prevent injuring yourself eventually.

How To Use A Treadmill: Top Helpful Tips

Work On Your Form

Work On Your Form
The proper running form ensures your safety while improving intensity. Photo: senivpetro/Freepik

Like outdoor running, proper running form[2] is the best way to burn calories and ensure your safety as your fitness levels improve. Factors such as stride length, stride rate, knee extension, speed, and touchdown points all impact your balance and the wear and tear that jogging regularly puts on your body. Watch lots of videos on the subject on sites like YouTube—once you have a good idea of what great running form looks like, we recommend practicing in front of a mirror to perfect your form as you run. Using music can also help you nail down your rhythm, as well. 

Invest In The Right Running Shoes

Shoes built for running soften the blow of each footfall as you run, which can help save your knees and prevent injury. They’re also usually much more comfortable to exercise in and can help improve your athletic performance,[3] too. In this vein, investing in other gear like ankle and wrist weights, a real heart rate monitor, and workout clothes can all make running on a treadmill a much more immersive experience.

Fuel Up Right

Calorie intake is key to weight loss, but depriving yourself before running on a treadmill isn’t usually the right way to do it. Fasted cardio[4] is one awesome tactic to employ when losing weight, but the energy you expend will deplete you; even if you do prefer to run on an empty stomach, recovery meals and shakes afterward are a must at the very least. When nourishing your body, it’s more equipped to build new muscle mass and maintain what’s already there. Without the right diet, burning belly fat by running on a treadmill might be more difficult; your metabolism will be slower, and you may not have the stamina[5] to work out at length.

Listen To Your Body

One of the greatest overall health benefits that a new treadmill routine may offer: you might become more motivated[6] to continue after you finally begin. Some call it the runner’s high—all that we know is that when we’re feeling restless, nothing sounds better than an intense workout. With that being said, though, you should never deny your body some rest if it’s calling for it. Eating well, meditating and stretching, and self-care can all help you stay in tune with your body’s needs at any given time. Do not force yourself to run at high speed if you’re fatigued. An afternoon off might be just what the doctor ordered.

Burning fat on a treadmill might feel like an exhausting, impossible task to a beginner. However, as you progress, weight loss will come naturally as your newly developed muscles become more capable of carrying you farther. 

Read as much as you can online, and do what you can to try new types of treadmill workouts. You can find a ton on YouTube and other fitness apps like BODi. Try it all and stick to the stuff you like—and, whenever possible, follow the advice of the experts. 

Final Thoughts

What’s the best way to lose weight on a treadmill? How fast should you run on a treadmill? One strategy is certainly to simply run as fast as you can until you can’t run anymore. Interval training can also aid you in weight loss by helping you sustain your workout at length. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re eating well, sleeping restfully, and finding the balance that long-term weight loss demands.

Resources

  1. Filipovic, M., Munten, S., Herzig, K. and Gagnon, D.D. (2021). Maximal Fat Oxidation: Comparison between Treadmill, Elliptical and Rowing Exercises. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, [online] pp.170–178. doi:https://doi.org/10.52082/jssm.2021.170.
  2. ‌Folland, J.P., Allen, S., Black, M.I., Handsaker, J.C. and Forrester, S.E. (2017). Running Technique is an Important Component of Running Economy and Performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, [online] 49(7), pp.1412–1423. doi:https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000001245.
  3. ‌Sun, X., Lam, W.-K., Zhang, X., Wang, J. and Fu, W. (2020). Systematic Review of the Role of Footwear Constructions in Running Biomechanics: Implications for Running-Related Injury and Performance. Journal of sports science & medicine, [online] 19(1), pp.20–37. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7039038/
  4. Hassane Zouhal, Ayoub Saeidi, Salhi, A., Li, H., M. Faadiel Essop, Laher, I., Fatma Rhibi, Sadegh Amani-Shalamzari and Abderraouf Ben Abderrahman (2020). Exercise Training and Fasting: Current Insights. Open access journal of sports medicine, [online] Volume 11, pp.1–28. doi:https://doi.org/10.2147/oajsm.s224919.
  5. ‌Hargreaves, M. and Spriet, L.L. (2017). Exercise Metabolism: Fuels for the Fire. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, [online] 8(8), pp.a029744–a029744. doi:https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a029744.
  6. ‌Teixeira, P.J., Carraça, E.V., Markland, D., Silva, M.N. and Ryan, R.M. (2012). Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory: A systematic review. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, [online] 9(1), pp.78–78. doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-9-78.