Treadmill Walking to Lose Weight Plan and Tips

Treadmill Walking to Lose Weight Plan and Tips

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Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: July 20, 2023

Embarking on the journey to weight loss can often seem daunting, filled with numerous gym routines, diet plans, and expert advice that might leave one overwhelmed. However, the reality is far from complicated. A simple, accessible, and effective way to get started on this journey is to adopt the time-tested method of treadmill walking. This article aims to guide you through the intricacies of using a treadmill to shed those extra pounds while also highlighting the numerous benefits that come along with it.

Key Highlights

  1. Treadmill walking is an accessible and adaptable form of exercise that can effectively aid in weight loss.
  2. An optimal treadmill walking plan will be tailored to individual abilities and goals.
  3. Walking on an incline can significantly increase calorie burn, accelerating the process of weight loss.
  4. Combining your walking routine with a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for sustainable weight loss.
  5. Consistency is key – aim for regular sessions of treadmill walking every week for long-term success.

Treadmill Walking to Lose Weight Plan

a woman walks slowly on a treadmill at the gym

Initiating a weight loss journey can sometimes feel like stepping into uncharted territories. With the countless exercise programs available, choosing the one that’s right for you can feel overwhelming.

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Treadmill walking stands out as a popular choice due to its adaptability, accessibility, and effectiveness in helping shed pounds. This section delves deeper into creating a suitable treadmill walking plan to aid weight loss, factoring in different levels of fitness and personal goals.

The Basics

Creating a treadmill walking plan involves considering your current fitness level, individual weight loss goals, and overall health status. Walking workouts generally consist of three phases: warm-up, main workout, and cool-down.

  1. Warm-up: This phase helps prepare your body for exercise by gradually raising your heart rate and increasing circulation to your muscles. Start by walking at a leisurely pace for about five minutes.
  2. Main Workout: This is where the bulk of the calorie burn happens. Post warm-up, you should increase your speed to a level that’s challenging but sustainable for your targeted duration.
  3. Cool-down: As important as the warm-up, the cool-down phase allows your heart rate and blood pressure to fall gradually. It usually involves slowing down your walk for about five minutes.

An Example Plan

Here’s an example plan for a beginner aiming to lose weight with treadmill walking:

  • Week 1-2: Start with 15-minute sessions, five days a week. The breakdown could be: 5 minutes of warm-up, 5 minutes of brisk walking, and 5 minutes of cool-down.
  • Week 3-4: As your stamina increases, aim for 20-minute sessions. Break it down to 5 minutes of warm-up, 10 minutes of brisk walking, and 5 minutes of cool-down.
  • Week 5-6: Progress to 25-minute sessions. This could be segmented into 5 minutes of warm-up, 15 minutes of brisk walking, and 5 minutes of cool-down.
  • Week 7 and onwards: Finally, aim for a full 30-minute walking workout. This should include 5 minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of brisk walking, and 5 minutes of cool-down.

Remember to keep your walks engaging and prevent plateaus in weight loss, you can experiment with the incline and speed settings on your treadmill. Raising the incline or speed will increase workout intensity, making your body work harder and burn more calories. However, always ensure these adjustments are gradual and within your ability to maintain safety and avoid injury.

Listen to Your Body

While following the plan, it’s crucial to listen to your body. If you feel overly fatigued, it might be a sign you’re pushing too hard, and it might be best to take it down a notch. On the other hand, if the workout seems too easy, it might be time to ramp up the intensity.

Consistency is Key

In the end, the most effective treadmill walking plan is one you can stick with. Consistency is crucial when it comes to weight loss. Building a routine that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle will aid in creating long-term healthy habits. So, even on days when you might not feel up to a full workout, a short walk is still better than no walk at all.

Remember, it’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.

Why Treadmills Are Great for Weight Loss

Weight loss is a journey, and every journey needs a reliable vehicle. When it comes to fitness, treadmills have stood the test of time as a dependable piece of equipment that can accelerate weight loss effectively. Let’s delve deeper into why treadmills are such a great tool for weight loss.

Controlled Environment

One of the prime advantages of a treadmill is that it provides a controlled environment for exercise. External factors like weather conditions, time of day, and safety concerns can often impede an outdoor workout routine. Whether it’s scorching summer heat, icy winter sidewalks, or just a late night at the office, a treadmill ensures that you can get your walk or run in no matter what the situation is.

Customizable to Individual Needs

Treadmills are highly customizable, allowing each user to tailor their workout to their specific needs. Most treadmills come with settings that let you adjust the speed and incline. These variations allow you to start from where you are, fitness-wise, and gradually increase the intensity as you build stamina and strength. Additionally, many treadmills come with pre-set workout programs that help take the guesswork out of your routine, enabling you to focus on your effort instead.

Effective Calorie Burn

Walking or running on a treadmill can burn a significant amount of calories, which is crucial for weight loss. The exact number depends on your weight, speed, and incline, but as an example, a 160-pound person can burn over 150 calories by walking at a brisk pace (3.5 mph) for 30 minutes. Increase the speed or the incline, and the calorie burn goes up correspondingly.

Lower Impact on Joints

Walking, particularly compared to running, is a lower-impact exercise, which is gentler on the joints, including the knees and ankles. This makes treadmill walking an excellent option for individuals who have joint concerns or are heavier. Plus, most modern treadmills are designed with shock absorption features that further minimize the impact on your joints.

Track Progress

Most treadmills come with digital monitors that display important data such as distance covered, time elapsed, calories burned, and heart rate. This feedback can be an excellent motivator as you can easily track your progress over time. It can also help ensure that you’re exercising at an appropriate intensity for weight loss.


From a slow walk to an uphill sprint, a treadmill accommodates a broad range of exercise intensities. This versatility not only aids in weight loss but also promotes cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and overall physical fitness.

In summary, treadmills provide a reliable, convenient, and efficient way to assist in weight loss. They cater to a wide range of fitness levels and allow for progression as you become fitter. Furthermore, by offering a safe and controlled environment, they eliminate many of the potential obstacles to maintaining a consistent exercise routine. Whether you’re a beginner just embarking on your weight loss journey or an experienced athlete looking to maintain fitness, a treadmill can be a key asset in achieving your goals.

Tips for Getting Started

a guy rests his hands on a treadmill before starting a walking workout

Embarking on a weight loss journey through treadmill walking may seem simple enough, but some essential tips can help ensure you get off on the right foot. Below are some pointers to help you make the most of your treadmill workouts:

  • Safety First: Understanding the safety features of a treadmill is paramount. Familiarize yourself with the emergency stop button or safety key feature and ensure you know how to use them properly before starting your workout.
  • Proper Footwear: Quality footwear is critical for comfort and injury prevention. Look for walking shoes that provide good cushioning, arch support, and adequate room for your toes. They should fit snugly around your heel and be flexible where your foot bends naturally.
  • Correct Posture: Maintaining good posture is essential during treadmill walking. Stand tall, keep your gaze forward, relax your shoulders, and engage your core. Swing your arms naturally and avoid holding onto the handrails unless necessary for balance.
  • Gradual Start: Don’t rush into high-intensity workouts. Start slow, and gradually increase your speed as your body adapts. An abrupt start can lead to unnecessary strain or injury.
  • Regular Hydration: Stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and other adverse effects, hindering your workout performance and recovery.
  • Warm-up and Cool-down: Always begin your workout with a warm-up phase of 5 to 10 minutes of easy walking to prepare your body for the upcoming exertion. Similarly, conclude your session with a cool-down period to bring your heart rate and breathing back to normal gradually.
  • Be Consistent: Regular workouts contribute more to weight loss than sporadic high-intensity ones. Aim for consistency, even if that means shorter or lower-intensity workouts initially.
  • Track Your Progress: Use the digital monitor on the treadmill to track your workouts. Keeping an eye on your distance, time, and speed can provide a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to improve.
  • Listen to Your Body: While it’s normal to experience some muscle soreness when starting a new workout regime, sharp pain or extreme discomfort is a warning sign. Listen to your body and adjust your workouts accordingly to prevent injuries.

By following these tips, you’ll create a solid foundation for safe, effective, and enjoyable treadmill workouts. Remember, the key to weight loss is consistency, so find a routine and pace that you enjoy and can stick with for the long haul.

How Long Should You Walk?

When starting a walking regimen on a treadmill, one of the most common questions is about the ideal duration of the workout. The answer can vary based on individual fitness levels, goals, and availability. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you determine the right amount of walking for effective weight loss:

  • Start Small: If you’re new to exercise or have been inactive for a while, start with smaller increments—perhaps 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Gradually, as your stamina improves, increase your walking duration.
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes per week: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week for substantial health benefits [1]. This breaks down to about 30 minutes of brisk walking on most days of the week.
  • Work your way up to 300 minutes for additional benefits: If you aim for more significant weight loss and health benefits, the CDC suggests doubling the basic recommendation to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
  • Listen to your body: It’s essential to listen to your body’s signals. If you’re feeling overly fatigued or experiencing discomfort or pain, it might be a sign that you’re pushing too hard and need to reduce your walking time or intensity.
  • Consistency is key: It’s better to walk a little each day consistently than do a long walk a couple of times and skip the rest of the week. Consistency is crucial for weight loss and building endurance.

Remember, these are just guidelines, and your individual circumstances and goals may mean that your ideal walking time is different. The key is to find a balance that challenges you but is still enjoyable and sustainable in the long run.

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Walking on a treadmill provides the flexibility to adapt your workout to your unique needs, making it an excellent tool for weight loss.

How Many Days per Week Should You Walk?

As per the above recommendation, five days a week is optimal. However, it’s crucial to listen to your body and allow for adequate rest. Consistency trumps intensity in the long run for sustainable weight loss.

Can Walking at an Incline Help Accelerate Weight Loss?

Absolutely! Walking at an incline increases the intensity of the workout, which in turn boosts your calorie burn. It also engages different muscles compared to flat walking, thereby improving overall muscle tone and strength.

Don’t Sleep on Your Diet When it Comes to Weight Loss

While incorporating regular physical activity like treadmill walking is critical for weight loss, your diet also plays a significant role in your journey to a healthier weight. After all, weight loss fundamentally boils down to achieving a calorie deficit – burning more calories than you consume. Below are some essential tips to consider regarding diet when working towards weight loss:

  • Monitor Your Caloric Intake: Be mindful of the number of calories you consume each day. Even with regular exercise, if you’re consuming more calories than you burn, you will struggle to lose weight.
  • Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods: Prioritize foods that are high in nutrients but low in calories, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods are satisfying and nourishing without contributing to weight gain.
  • Limit Processed Foods and Sugars: Processed foods and beverages often contain high levels of added sugars, unhealthy fats, and empty calories, contributing to weight gain. Aim to limit these in your diet.
  • Portion Control: Even healthy foods can contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess. Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating.
  • Stay Hydrated: Sometimes, our bodies confuse thirst with hunger. Drinking plenty of water can help curb unnecessary snacking and keep your body functioning optimally.
  • Consider a Diet Plan: If you struggle with maintaining a balanced diet, consider consulting a dietitian or nutritionist. They can help create a personalized meal plan based on your lifestyle, preferences, and weight loss goals.
  • Treats are Okay: It’s okay to enjoy your favorite treats occasionally, but moderation is key. Depriving yourself completely can lead to binge eating and derail your weight loss efforts.

Remember, weight loss is a journey, and like any journey, there will be bumps in the road. Having a balanced diet doesn’t mean you have to be perfect all the time, but rather that you’re making more healthy choices than not. Combining regular treadmill workouts with a healthy diet will set you up for successful, sustainable weight loss.

Final Thoughts

Treadmill walking presents a convenient, versatile, and effective way to kickstart your weight loss journey. Its low-impact, customizable nature, along with the ability to provide a significant calorie burn, makes it an excellent choice for individuals of all fitness levels. Pair this with a well-rounded diet, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your weight loss goals. Remember, the key lies in consistency and perseverance. Happy walking!