The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends everyone engage in 2.5 to five hours of moderate-intensity exercise on a weekly basis to reap substantial health benefits. Whether you own your own treadmill or use one at a local gym, treadmill training can help you meet physical activity goals each week -- and help you catch up on your favorite television show while you’re working out.
You can vary your workouts on a treadmill so you don’t get bored doing the same routine day after day. You have many workout options: long distance jogging, interval training -- alternating fast sprints with slower jogs, walking long distances, walking up a steep incline, interval training using slow and fast walks or flat and steep inclines, and power walking using dumbbell weights. You could literally perform a different workout each day of the week using just a treadmill.
Believe it or not, treadmill training can actually help strengthen your bones. A study published in a 2011 edition of the “Journal of the American Medical Association of Thailand” found that walking on a treadmill at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes three times per week improves bone health in menstruating and menopausal women. This is good news for women who want to help prevent osteoporosis.
Training on a treadmill regularly can help reduce high blood pressure -- a main contributor to heart disease, which is a leading cause of death in the U.S. One study published in a 2009 edition of the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” found that 20 minutes of treadmill running reduces post-exercise blood pressure in subjects with hypertension. Researchers in this study also found that performing 20 minutes of resistance exercise -- like weight training -- also helps reduce high blood pressure after workouts.
Regular treadmill training can help you reach or maintain your goal weight. According to Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound woman can burn about 334 calories per hour walking at a pace of 4 miles per hour. Walking at a faster pace, up a steep incline or jogging will burn even more calories. If you burn 500 extra calories per day, you can lose about 1 pound per week if your calorie intake remains the same. A study published in a 2008 edition of “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” reports that regular treadmill training during a weight-loss program may help prevent weight regain in women.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary
- Journal of the American Medical Association of Thailand: Effects of the Treadmill Walking Exercise on the Biochemical Bone Markers
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Effects of Treadmill Running and Resistance Exercises on Lowering Blood Pressure During the Daily Work of Hypertensive Subjects
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Weight Regain Is Related to Decreases in Physical Activity During Weight Loss
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.