8 Treadmill Tips to Lose Weight

Learn how to use a treadmill for weight loss and improved health

treadmill weight loss tips
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Walking is an easy way to lose weight. And when the weather is poor, many exercisers use a treadmill for weight loss. Are you one of them? If so, use these treadmill tips to make your workout more effective so that you slim down, improve your level of fitness and get the body you deserve.

Treadmill Tips to Lose Weight

It doesn't matter if you are a treadmill beginner or a seasoned veteran. Anyone can take steps to make their indoor walking workout safer, more enjoyable, and more effective.

Consider these pointers to step up your treadmill walking routine so that you burn more calories during each session.

  • Choose audio over video. Many exercisers watch television while they use the treadmill. If you are losing weight effectively with that strategy, then don't change it. But if you want to burn more calories with exercise, pop on some headphones and crank up some tunes. Motivating music with strong lyrics and beats per minute (BPM) of 120 or above will help you to walk faster and burn more fat and calories.
  • Give yourself space. If you walk or run too close to the control panel of a treadmill, you may feel cramped. This may cause you to hold your arms too high. The result may be that your neck and shoulders get sore. To prevent upper body cramps, position your body in the middle of the treadmill band and you will be less likely to have aches and pains after your session.
  • Be nice to your heels. If you lead each step with your heel and then land hard on your heels, you can do damage to your knees and the rest of your lower leg. This walking pattern is called heel striking and it may cause more problems if you are overweight. To avoid problems, try to land gently in the middle of your foot. Then, as your body moves forward, roll through the ball (front part) of your foot. This smooth walking pattern will be easier on your knees and will probably make your treadmill workout easier on your body as a whole. And when your walking workout is enjoyable, you're more likely to do it more often and lose weight faster.
  • Pay attention to your upper body. You may think that your treadmill workout only exercises your lower body. But upper body movement matters, too. Move your arms alongside your body in a back and forth pattern rather than across your body. This may help to improve your posture and keeps the walking motion fluid. Once you get the hang of it, it will improve your coordination and help keep you balanced. Hold your arms at a 90-degree angle and keep your hands at hip level.
  • Maintain proper focus. What do you look at when you do a treadmill workout? You should avoid looking at the floor or your shoes. And looking up at the ceiling, an overhead poster or a high mounted television may cause you to tip your torso back, putting pressure on your hips. Incorrect focus and posture can make it harder to step forward properly. Try to focus in front of yourself, look straight ahead and keep a relaxed and upright posture.
  • Avoid rolling shoulders. It's easy to let your shoulders roll forward when you walk on a treadmill. But this habit causes slouching that can make your workout less effective. To make the most of your session, use your strong core to lengthen through your torso and roll your shoulders back. It should feel like you are trying to put your shoulder blades in your back pockets. 
  • Bring outdoor benefits indoors. Outdoor walks often burn more calories thanks to hills, wind resistance and uneven terrain. To mimic those elements indoors, set your treadmill to a 1% incline. It will make your walk more challenging and you will burn more calories as a result.
  • Buy the best equipment you can afford. If you choose to buy a home treadmill, do your homework before you invest. A cheaper model may break faster and may not be comfortable to use. And you should also invest in proper workout attire. Breathable exercise apparel will help your body feel more comfortable during your treadmill workout and good walking shoes will keep your feet healthy enough for a lifetime of strong workouts.

    *Edited by Malia Frey, About.com Weight Loss Expert

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