By Simon Gould
Losing weight is ideal on a treadmill because the surface is so soft and easy on your legs. That means even people who are quite over weight to begin with, can still use a treadmill for weight loss. You can lose weight by walking or running and I’ll go through the best speed for results a bit further down this page.
Consistency is the key
Speed is important but that doesn’t mean you should go fast. Exercising often and regularly will lose you weight. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exercising between 75 and 150 minutes per week. This equates to 30 minutes per day, 3 days per week for aerobic exercise. This is the kind of exercise that generates maximum weight loss.
Aerobic exercise is classed as vigorous activity by WHO, this includes walking on an incline and jogging, or running. This is good on a treadmill because it has an incline and the console will show your speed. In order to exercise often you need to be able to accomplish the workout and that’s why you don’t need to go fast. You’re not trying to win a race but lose weight, so the length of time and frequency are the most important factors.
Treadmill walking speed to lose weight
- 3.1 mph
Like I said before, you don’t need to go fast and in fact I don’t advise it. People tend to walk naturally at 3.1 mph and even this may be a brisk walk for some. But, go at that speed on your treadmill and set the incline to 3% or number 3 on the console. This may feel hard especially if you’re heavy so you may need to work up to the aim of 30 minutes, 3 times per week.
If you do find it tough then do 10 minutes in the first week, 20 minutes in the second and 30 minutes in the third and beyond. The more you weigh to begin with the faster the weight will go. You will see results quickly and hopefully that will spur you on. If you have your own treadmill then there really is no excuse to get started.
I have some other walking workouts for weight loss and I’ll link those here. You may have some treadmill workout programs designed to burn calories or lose weight and you could give those a try and see which you prefer. As long as you do something you can stick to and do regularly as part of a new lifestyle, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can achieve.
Treadmill jogging or running speed to lose weight
- 5.0 mph
Jogging is just running but a little slower and that’s what I advise for weight loss. The best speed is around 5 mph, as long as you’re physically lifting your feet off the ground as you stride works. This is hard and you may want to start running when you’re already down to a certain weight. If you’re heavy there’s no shame in starting with the walking routine first.
My walking on an incline had you building up very quickly. If you haven’t exercised much if at all and you want to run, you will have to build up to 30 minutes a lot slower. I recommend starting at 5 minutes, 3 times per week, then 10 minutes for the following week, then 15. Go up 5 minutes per week until you get to 30 and when that’s reached you’ll be an experienced runner.
There is another way of training to run for 30 minutes. That is the couch to 5k, this is a combination of walking and running over 9 weeks. It’s a gradual build up over those weeks in a safe way and at the end you’ll be able to run for 5k which is 3.1 miles. This is slightly quicker than 5 mph if you managed to do it in 30 minutes but is worth a try.
I have made a couch to 5k especially designed for a treadmill. It’s actually easier to do it on a treadmill because the console shows the time which is an important part of the routine. Here is my couch to 5k treadmill program I’m referring to. I also have some other jogging or running weight loss workouts you may want to try:
- 3 treadmill incline running workouts for weight loss
- Treadmill running plan for weight loss
- 3 treadmill jogging workouts
How many calories you’ll burn
If you follow my recommendation of walking 3.1 mph on a 3% incline for 30 minutes, a 170 lbs person will burn 259 calories per workout. If you jog at 5 mph with no incline for 30 minutes and you weigh 170 lbs you’ll burn 351. So if you do this 3 times per week you’ll burn around 750 to 1000 calories. Combine this with a sensible diet and you’ll definitely see results.
The site I’ve used to make those calculations is this treadmill calorie burn calculator. You can enter your actual weight to see accurate numbers for you. The Mayo Clinic says it takes 3,500 calories to burn one pound of weight which sounds a lot but don’t let that put you off. You’ll be surprised at the number on the scales and the inches off your waist, butt and hips with regular exercise.
It would have been very easy for me to say, go this speed to lose weight on a treadmill and leave it at that. But it’s not that simple, the odd workout at a certain speed won’t cut it. If you want to get slim then you need to exercise regularly and that’s been the point I’m trying to make. Yes, some speed is needed and the workouts are hard but do them often for a period of time and you’ll get results.
I am a testament to this, I lost 30 pounds by running on a treadmill and the speed I go is 5.2 mph. That is slow and is considered jogging but that’s all you need to do. This will get you all the benefits of regular exercise WHO says you’ll get and one of those is weight loss and maintenance. Overall, stay at a speed that works for you, or one I’ve recommended, and you’ll lose weight.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.