You’ve made the commitment to lose weight, now it’s time to design a game plan to guide you to a slimmer you. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to start slaving away for hours on the treadmill. With just a little time and dedication, that number on the scale will start dropping and you’ll be shopping for smaller size jeans.
The treadmill is a solid choice for beginners because there isn’t much of a learning curve. You already know how to walk, so lace up those athletic shoes and start moving. And no, you don’t have to run on the ‘mill like a mouse to lose weight. Walking briskly is enough to burn hundreds of calories. A 160-pound woman burns 314 calories per hour walking at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour.
Losing weight comes down to mathematics. You need to burn more calories than you eat. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you may need to spend 60 minutes most days of the week working out at a moderate intensity to experience significant weight loss. Fortunately, brisk walking on the treadmill counts as moderate intensity. If you want to burn even more calories, increase that intensity to a run.
Starting with unrealistic goals, such as aiming to work out for two hours a day, is setting you up for failure. If you’ve been inactive for an extended period of time, it's best to start slowly. At first, walk as long as you can or as fast as you can comfortably. Slowly build up to 15 minutes twice a week and then, over the next few weeks, gradually increase your time until you are at 60 minutes most days of the week.
Measuring Your Intensity
To lose weight, you need to sweat. At a moderate intensity, you should break a sweat after about 10 minutes of brisk walking. Your breathing should be deep, but you should still be able to easily hold a conversation. If you are able to sing, you aren’t working out hard enough to lose weight.
Finding an hour a day to get on the treadmill might sound impossible. Fortunately, you don’t have to do your entire workout all at once. Break it up into three 20-minute sections throughout the day, before work, over lunch and again in the evening, and you’ll have reached an hour without rearranging your entire life. Breaking up your workout leads to the same weight loss as one continuous workout.
- Mayo Clinic: Calories Burned in One Hour
- American College of Sports Medicine: Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies For Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain For Adults
- Mayo Clinic: Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise Intensity: Why it Matters, How It’s Measured
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.