Believe it or not, you don’t have to blast your treadmill up to the highest speed to lose weight. In fact, just the opposite is true; walking or jogging at a comfortable pace that allows you to stay on your treadmill at least 30 minutes is ideal. And most importantly, your calorie intake has the greatest impact on whether or not you achieve weight-loss success.
To lose weight safely and effectively and give yourself the greatest chance at keeping lost weight off, aim to lose no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week, recommends the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Let’s say you want to shoot for 2 pounds per week: You could burn an additional 1,000 calories per day exercising, reduce your energy intake by 1,000 calories per day or better yet -- combine these two methods. A good place to start is to reduce your calories by 500 per day and increase your calorie expenditure by the same amount.
Burning 500 Calories
Your treadmill speed and your body weight determine the amount of time it will take you to burn 500 calories on a treadmill. For example, a 155-pound woman can burn about 501 calories walking for 90 minutes at a pace of 4 miles per hour (167 calories in 30 minutes). If the same 155-pound woman boosts her treadmill speed up to 5 mph and jogs instead of walks, she can burn about 596 calories per hour, and if she blasts her speed up to 6 mph she can burn about 744 calories in an hour.
Optimal Calorie Intake
If you eat too many calories, all your hard work exercising goes down the drain -- regardless of your treadmill speed. Most overweight women who exercise regularly need between 1,200 and 1,600 calories per day for successful weight loss, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you feel hungry eating 1,200 calories per day, try boosting your intake to 1,400 or 1,600 calories, and if you’re not losing weight eating 1,600 calories, try a 1,200-calorie plan.
Although your calorie intake is most important for successful weight loss, working out on a treadmill regularly will help keep your weight off long term. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, exercising 60 to 90 minutes per day can help prevent gradual weight gain and keep lost weight off for good. Your ideal treadmill speed for weight loss is one you can stick with day after day. If that means walking at a brisk pace of 4 mph, stick with that pace and gradually increase your speed as your endurance improves. Even if using a treadmill is your only means of exercise, you can still change up your workouts to prevent boredom and muscle staleness. Alternate between power walking, walking up a steep incline, jogging slowly for at least 60 minutes, fast running for 30 minutes or interval training -- alternating sprinting with slow jogging.
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.