5 Benefits of Walking on a Treadmill for Fitness and Wellbeing
Table of Contents
- 5 Benefits of Walking on a Treadmill
- Benefits Of Walking On A Treadmill Backwards
- Benefits Of Walking On A Treadmill Compared To Walking Outside
- How Long Should You Walk on a Treadmill?
- 3 Tips for Effective Treadmill Walking
- Wrapping Up
The benefits of walking on a treadmill extend beyond burning calories and building cardiovascular fitness. Whether you’re new to walking on a treadmill or you pound the tread multiple times a week, there are plenty of reasons to continue with your workout.
As you might have heard, the World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise a week, and walking is a great way to hit those minutes. 
Keep in mind that doesn’t need to equate to 10,000 steps a day, either. Although if this is what you’re currently doing and it works, keep on doing it!
Find out what walking only 2 miles a day could do for your fitness and wellbeing, and read on to see why we recommend clocking those miles on a treadmill.
5 Benefits of Walking on a Treadmill
What is the treadmill good for? Treadmills offer a convenient and flexible way to maintain or improve physical fitness.
Here are five key benefits to walking on a treadmill:
Rev Up Your Metabolism
Outside of dedicated exercise like weightlifting, running, and biking, walking counts toward something called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).
This is the number of calories you burn from simply going about your day-to-day errands and chores. It doesn’t include planned exercise. And walking counts toward this.
Walking on a treadmill has an accumulative impact on metabolism and a high potential to burn calories. So, if your goal is weight loss, walking on a treadmill could help.
And if you want to burn even more calories, consider adding interval training into your treadmill walking workout.
These mixed-intensity workouts help kickstart a process called EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
This means that your metabolism revs up in an effort to restore the appropriate oxygen levels. This is going to burn more calories for hours after you’ve finished exercising.
You can check out walking vs. biking to see how many calories you can expect to burn.
Tread belts are built with shock absorption and ample cushioning, making them low impact, especially when compared to walking on concrete outdoors.
Hilly or uneven terrain in nature could increase the risk for sore joints — so treadmill walking could eliminate that risk almost entirely.
Builds Stronger Muscles and Bones
Bone loading is a weight-bearing exercise that stimulates the bones to grow. Walking on treadmills could stimulate those bone-building cells and help strengthen the lower body muscles.
The low-impact exercise also helps strengthen the muscles surrounding joints, building stronger bones and muscles in the lower body.
And research tells us that 7,500 steps a day are plenty.  What’s more, as you age, this could decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis or muscle atrophy.
Boosts Cardiovascular Fitness and Prevents Chronic Illness
Walking counts as a cardio workout, which could protect your heart and lungs from chronic illnesses like stroke or heart disease. It can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Walking on the treadmill increases blood flow around the body and oxygen-rich nutrients to cells and muscles, improving circulation and increasing flexibility around the joints, which research tells us can even improve symptoms of arthritis. 
According to the American Heart Association, regular walks can lower blood glucose, insulin resistance and reduce the risk of some cancers.
What’s more, a stronger heart and set of lungs improve endurance.
Boosts Mood and Creativity
Walking releases endorphins which can help you feel calmer and happier. If you can’t get outdoors, walking on a treadmill could still help you feel less anxious or depressed.
Moreover, walking with others can improve feelings of connectedness, so why not invite a friend to the gym?
And even 10 minutes is enough to give you a boost. One Stanford study found that walking could boost creativity and creative output by up to 60% versus sitting down. Impressive. 
Benefits Of Walking On A Treadmill Backwards
It might sound like a fad, but there’s a method in the madness of walking backward on a treadmill.
Walking backward increases the load on the quadriceps, which are most active during knee extension, and could improve gait, balance, and speed.
Because your body isn’t familiar with doing it often, backward walking could also strengthen weaker, lesser-used muscles.
It could also improve knee pain and increase coordination while boosting cognitive control and a sense of awareness.
By challenging your body to adapt and move consciously, you could place a more aerobic load on the body and improve your walking technique.
A study by the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that combined backward running and walking could boost cardiorespiratory fitness. 
Since this is something of an advanced technique, it’s going to place a greater demand on your body, increasing calorie-burning potential.
Benefits Of Walking On A Treadmill Compared To Walking Outside
Walking outside is free and accessible, and navigating hilly or uneven terrain could help burn more calories.
Exercising outdoors also provides an extra endorphin hit, exposing the body to much-needed vitamin D and, most importantly, nature. But there’s an increased risk of injury in doing so because your environment is far less controlled.
Now consider walking on a treadmill.
Many tread belts are shock absorbent and cushioned, meaning less chance of being bad for your knees. They also feature great safety protocols. You can also control settings such as incline and speed, providing a more dynamic and challenging environment.
But the trade-off is price.
Gym memberships and home treadmills cost money, so not everyone can afford one.
Are you weighing up your options? Learn more about walking outside vs on a treadmill here.
How Long Should You Walk on a Treadmill?
Are you wondering, “How long should I walk on a treadmill?”
It’s entirely dependent on factors like goals, lifestyle, age, sex, experience, and body weight. So let’s break it down.
First, you’ll need to calculate your maximal heart rate (MHR), which you can do using our article above. This will help you figure out how hard to push and your overall exercise intensity.
Then, you’ll need to tailor it to your workout style.
To warm-up, aim for 5-10 minutes at 50-60% of your MHR.
Goal: Weight Loss
For weight loss, your goal should be walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes, five days a week.
At the very least, shoot for 50 minutes, three days per week at 50-60% of your MHR.
Goal: Cardio Endurance
If your goal is cardio endurance, aim for 30-60 minutes 5 days a week.
Try a brisk pace at 64-76% of your MHR.
And to hit the magic number of 10,000 steps a day, you’ll need to spend around 75-100 minutes walking on a treadmill.
3 Tips for Effective Treadmill Walking
Here’s how to maximize the benefits of treadmill walking.
Remember to warm up before starting a treadmill walking workout. Try this 10-minute leg day warm-up.
Before exercise, prioritize dynamic stretches and mobility exercises that work the joints and muscles through a range of motion similar to the one you’re about to do.
Gentle walks, hip rolls, and walking hamstring stretches are some examples. Different squats might also be handy to prepare your hip flexors and warm up the lower body muscles.
Save static stretches for cooldowns and full-body tension relief.
Play with speed and incline to work muscles harder and burn more calories.
If you struggle to hit a higher intensity, increase speed and inclines to include power walking and hill climbs, which could boost aerobic fitness and increase your heart rate.
Move between high intensity and low intensity to challenge your body.
Becoming more efficient at switching between energy systems like this is called metabolic conditioning and could boost your metabolism and aerobic capacity.
For example, increase the incline and speed for 30-90 seconds, then decrease back to a flat road and reduce speed to optimize recovery for a few minutes, repeating for several rounds.
Here’s what we learned about the benefits of walking on a treadmill:
- The benefits of walking on a treadmill include better cardiovascular fitness, boosted metabolism and mood, higher calorie burn, and stronger bones and muscles.
- To maximize the benefits of treadmill walking, consider speed, intervals, inclines, and intensity.
- Walking outdoors and on a treadmill both carry benefits and drawbacks.
- Is walking 4 miles a day good? What about 2 or 10 miles? It depends on your goals, experience, workout type, and biological factors.
- Walking backward on a treadmill could strengthen muscles and improve coordination, speed, gait, and more.
- Remember to warm up and cool down before and after walking workouts.