Can I Use a Treadmill If I’m Overweight? 

Treadmills are suitable for overweight people

Ivan Kurmyshov/

By Simon Gould

Treadmills are quite versatile pieces of fitness equipment. You have many options to make a workout is easy or as hard as you like and you’re in control. You can walk, you can jog, you can run, and you can do this at any varying speeds. It’s all up to you.

Running outside means that you’re limited to the route you choose, hills maybe just round the corner and speed may not be a choice you can make. A treadmill can do all these things using the flick of the finger on the console. You decide how fast you go and you decide how big and long any hills are.

Running is one of the best calorie burners there is. You will burn around 100 calories+ per mile and the heavier you are the harder it is to run. Therefore the more calories you burn in a shorter amount of time. Even walking can be a great calorie burner for heavy people especially if you use an incline. There are websites where you can enter your speed, weight, time and activity you’re told how many calories you’ve burned.

Treadmills encourage weight loss by having calorie burning programs. They give you a routine designed to help you lose weight. Many people extole the virtues of the weight they’ve lost by treadmill running and you could be one of them. This is still true for people when they have walked on a treadmill.

The good and the bad

The good news is that treadmills are far kinder to the joints than running outside is. This is very good news for overweight runners. The belt is nice and cushioned to make every step easier than running outside. There can be no hills or uneven surfaces which can cause more injuries.

Over the web there are many options for different people when it comes to working out on a treadmill. We have our own walk plan for overweight beginners, a treadmill running plan for weight loss and the famous couch to 5k plan. This plan is good for the beginner who only has a moderate amount of weight to lose and you control the speed.

The bad news is that treadmills are still an impact exercise, and a large one at that. The very act of running means every step takes a hard pounding on the running surface. Even if that surface is a cushioned treadmill belt. Overweight people need to think of this

Many treadmills bought for the home have a big limitation for the maximum weight they can withstand. This means new overweight exercisers would need to go to a gym or health club and use their stronger treadmill. This brings all sorts of difficulties for possible embarrassment at the gym.

So what’s the advice

The most important aspect of fitness for an overweight person is to take it easy. You’re not going to see results immediately and this is true of anyone starting an exercise plan. Slow and steady really does win the race. You will, in time, reach a stage where exercising becomes fun and improvements quicken.

Running on a treadmill can be quite flexible. Many beginners are advised to follow a walk/run plan. This is good for the moderately overweight runner to follow. The speed of the run is dictated by the runner and walking is an activity everyone can do to some extent. If you own a treadmill you’re watched by no one, you wear what you like and you can exercise to your hearts content.

You could always just walk on the treadmill to lose weight in itself and when your weight drops to a suitable level you can start incorporating some running into your routine. Still instead of running you could try an incline. Then you can carry on walking and you will burn more calories as you are using more effort.

There is one thing you need for treadmill running and that’s a pair of running shoes. Even if you’re only walking a good pair of running shoes are an essential investment. They give important cushioning themselves for your ankle and knee joints and can be bought for sub $100. Any good running shoe shop can point you in the right direction.

See your health care professional

You should check with your health care professional before deciding on any new exercise program. This is especially true if you are very overweight or obese. They will do a quick check up of your vital signs and give you some advice on the suitable exercise options available to you.

A professional may advise you to try a low impact activity because of your weight. This could be an elliptical trainer or swimming where impact to your lower body would be kept to a minimum. Swimming especially has virtually no impact at all. This would give you a start in getting your body used to exercise and enable some weight loss before the treadmill is attempted.

It’s always best to be on the safe side when it comes to your health. Your professional will be pleased at your willingness to make a difference to yourself. You will also, in time, reduce your likeliness of getting many overweight and obese health problems like diabetes and heart problems.

Whatever you do if you’re overweight and want to lose weight and get fit then an exercise program is ideal. All you need to do is take the first step because we all have to start somewhere what ever weight we are. You will feel so much better after exercising and the weight loss will be very rewarding.


So treadmills are suitable for overweight people. You just may need to walk at first. Walk at a brisk speed if you can and go for 5 to 10 minutes. After a week go for a further few minutes. Keep increasing the duration until you are doing 30 minutes. By this time you should start seeing results visibly in the mirror.

Try and do this 3 times a week or more if you can. The World Health Organization recommend doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week for great health benefits. This equates to 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week and one of those health benefits is weight loss among many others. Walking is defined as moderate exercise.

Do include your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. Eat healthily and watch those portion sizes. The combination of exercise and diet is a winner for losing weight. This all makes exercise essential if you’re over weight and a treadmill can be part of it. You will be taking the first step in a very important personal journey.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.

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