How Long Is Too Much Treadmill Walking? (Answered)
By Simon Gould
Walking is great exercise that can improve your fitness level and lose you weight. Everyone can walk and we all enjoy it. It's something we have to do everyday but when is it too much? Walking on a treadmill is even better because you can use an incline to lose you more weight and improve your fitness levels more.
How much walking the government recommends
There are guidelines on how much walking you should do. The CDC says walking is moderate exercise and you should do this exercise for 2 hours and 30 minutes per week for important health benefits. This can be divided into 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. This sounds like a lot and it is and will need a lifestyle change to accomplish but that's what exercise is about.
The speed the CDC says should be brisk walking and can be done in 10 minute segments if you're struggling to reach the required amount. There are many other activities that are moderate exercise and these have an aerobic affect. They make you breathe a bit harder and your heart rate accelerate. Some of you might use the treadmill incline to burn some calories and give you some variety. This is all good but when is treadmill walking getting too much?
How much treadmill walking is too much
You don't need to go over an hour a day. If you enjoy your walking and you're matching or slightly exceeding the government recommendations then continue if you want to. These recommendations give "important health benefits" so you're doing yourself good. However, you can go further if you want to and I don't mean walking further. Once you go past 30 minutes then you may want to try something new.
It also matters how fast you go. If you're brisk walking on an incline, that's a hard workout. If you did that for an hour everyday you'll soon get injured and show other signs of overtraining. If you're determined to lose weight or get healthy it can be tempting, but less is more. Do it for 30 minutes per day only, and have a two days off per week. Don't let it take over your life.
Walking 30 minutes 5 days a week should have lost you a lot of weight and put you in reasonable condition. What I mean when I say go further is try and add some jogging or running into your routine. There are ways to put it in gradually. By jogging the CDC class this as vigorous physical activity and you only need to do this for 1 hour and 15 minutes per week or 15 minutes per day, 5 days a week.
Back to gradually introducing jogging into your daily workouts. There is a walk/run way of doing it. This involves walking for a minute and then jogging for a minute and repeating that procedure 5 times. This is something you should be able to do even if you haven't run for years. That's what the plan is designed for. I have a web page with one of the plans and it's made for the treadmill and it's the couch to 5k.
That couch to 5k will have you building up your jogging time each week and in the end, after 9 weeks, you'll be jogging for 30 minutes non stop! The speed you jog is not important at all, as long as you're lifting your feet off the ground at every stride you're good. People so often run too fast and not achieve the final weeks, slow and steady wins the race on this one.
Possible injuries from too much walking
Yes, you can get injured from too much walking, even though it's not classed as strenuous exercise. Just like a runner can get shin splints, so can excessive walkers. People who do long walks for charity often report of shin splints when the mileage has been high. Walking outside can give you ankle sprains, but these are less likely to occur on an even flat deck of a treadmill.
You should take two days off each week as a recovery if you walk very often. If you get any soreness or pain during or after walking, then stop and consider seeking medical attention. Especially if it doesn't clear in a day or two. If you're not looking forward to your walk, then you may be over doing it. If it's making you feel tired during the day, that's a sign of overtraining.
Remember to look forward and don't hold onto the handrails. Try to walk in exactly the same posture on your treadmill as you do outside. It's poor form that can cause injuries too, not just over use injuries like shin splints. Get some walking or running shoes that fit properly and don't walk too fast. Keep it brisk at the most and you'll be ok.
Remember if you're happy treadmill walking then, as long as it's not over an hour, keep doing it. If you're getting what you want out of it then ignore people who criticize or tell you to do something else. I do all my running on a treadmill and none outside and I get called on it all the time, but I enjoy it and that's what counts.
If you're finding it a bit boring and you've tried the incline and want something more. If you want to lose more weight and have reached a plateaux with the walking. Then jogging is something you may want to consider, it's just as easy as walking you just have to take the step and there's plenty of routines out there to help you make the transition. Just keep enjoying your treadmill exercising.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here's my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*