Walking on a treadmill might seem as though it's the poor cousin of jogging, but don't shrug off this simple exercise just yet. A treadmill-based workout helps you burn calories to shed those extra pounds and improves cardiovascular health. Walking at a brisk pace helps you burn calories faster than taking a slow walk, and treadmills have different options to help you adjust the speed of your workout.
Getting accustomed to the long list of buttons on your treadmill can be overwhelming, and if you don't have the patience to figure out the machine's pre-set workouts, press the "Start" or "Quick Start" button to immediately get the belt moving. Walking for a few minutes at a moderate pace is an effective way to warm up for your workout; going straight into a brisk walk can lead to injury, such as a strained muscle.
Regardless of the simplicity of the treadmill, it will likely have buttons labeled "Speed +" and "Speed -" or something similar, depending on the manufacturer. As these buttons indicate, pressing them allows you to increase or decrease the speed of the belt. Although treadmills have different maximum speeds, most will move quickly enough for you to walk at a brisk pace. Press the "Speed +" button until the belt is moving at a desired pace for your walk.
Some treadmills are loaded with pre-set modes that give you different types of workouts to follow. Accessing these workouts requires you to press the "Mode," "Workout," or an equivalent button, depending on the manufacturer. Some modes relate to jogging rather than walking, but the more you experiment with your machine's pre-set modes, you'll be able to find one that accommodates your desire to walk briskly. Because everyone has a different level of athleticism, what you consider a brisk walk might be a moderate walk or a light jog for your workout partner. However, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website considers a 4 mile-per-hour pace as a "very brisk pace." If you have trouble maintaining this pace, lower your treadmill's speed slightly.
Walking is an effective way to meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' recommendation of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and MayoClinic.com reports that walking helps you lower your blood pressure, manage your weight and even boost your mood. Walking on a treadmill removes the nuisance of walking in inclement weather and allows you to electronically monitor your speed, distance and the calories you've burned during a session. A 155-pound person who walks for 30 minutes at 4 miles per hour will burn about 167 calories.
- MayoClinic.com: Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health
- Spine-Health: Treadmills for Exercise and Pain Relief
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- WeightLoss.co.au: Using a Treadmill for Weight Loss
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Calories Burned Per Hour
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.