The Speed and the Incline of the Treadmill and the Effect on Burning Calories

Running fast on a treadmill burns a lot of calories.
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You will increase the number of calories you burn while you’re walking or running on a treadmill if you increase your speed and/or increase the incline of the machine’s surface. In fact, running fast and running uphill are two of the best exercises for burning calories and losing weight. Combining these two exercises while exercising on a treadmill has a tremendous effect on burning calories. However, running uphill is such a difficult exercise that you should take precautions before you start your exercise program.


Calories burned while exercising depends on effort. More intense exercises increase heart rate. When your heart beats faster, more oxygen is pumped to your muscles. The larger amount of oxygen causes your body to burn more calories while you exercise. Exercising vigorously requires a heart rate of 70 to 89 percent of maximum heart rate -- 220 heartbeats per minute minus age. Exercising lightly requires a heart rate of 35 to 54 percent of maximum heart rate. A 190-pound person burns 863 calories per hour bicycling vigorously, but only 518 calories per hour bicycling lightly, according to Wisconsin’s Department of Health and Family Services. One pound equals 3,500 calories. The chart also estimates that vigorous bicyclists are bicycling 14 to 15.9 mph, while light-effort bicyclists are bicycling 10 to 11.9 mph.

Walking on a Treadmill

Treadmill exercises simulate walking and running and burn about the same number of calories. A 150-pound person walking on a flat treadmill surface burns 170 calories per hour walking 2 mph and 272 calories per hour walking 4 mph, according to the “Discovery Health” newsletter. A 200-pound person will burn 226 calories per hour walking 2 mph and 362 calories per hour walking 4 mph. Walking uphill requires more effort and burns more calories. The 200-pound person walking 4 mph for one hour will burn 608 calories when the treadmill is set to a 5 percent incline, 862 calories when it’s at a 10 percent incline and 1,106 calories when it’s at a 15 percent incline.

Running on a Treadmill

Running uphill on a treadmill for one hour is so difficult that a 30-minute workout might be preferable. A 150-pound person running on a flat treadmill surface for 30 minutes burns 344 calories running 6 mph, 449 calories running 8 mph and 551 calories running 10 mph. A 200-pound person running for 30 minutes will burn 458 calories running 6 mph, 599 calories running 8 mph and 735 calories running 10 mph. The 200-pound person running 8 mph for 30 minutes will burn 721 calories when the treadmill is at a 5 percent incline, 844 calories when the incline is at 10 percent and 971 calories when it’s at 15 percent.


Exercise expert Dr. Kenneth Cooper urges previously sedentary people who are at least 40 years old to take a maximal performance treadmill stress test at a doctor’s office before beginning a strenuous exercise program. Cooper's recommendations for people who are exercising vigorously include stretching for three to five minutes before exercising. He cites slow toe-touching and bending your torso from side with your arms extended above your head as appropriate stretching exercises. After your exercise is over, you should keep moving for at least five minutes because stopping abruptly can keep too much blood pooled below your waist and increase your chances of a heart attack or stroke, according to Cooper.

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