8 Treadmill Benefits (and 3 DISADVANTAGES)

Treadmills are extremely popular among fitness enthusiasts. People use treadmills for various reasons, including weight loss, improving cardiovascular health, and strengthening muscles. Treadmills offer a slew of benefits that can help improve your overall health. 

This blog post will discuss some of the key benefits of using a treadmill and how you can get fit and stay healthy! Keep reading below.

Benefits of Using a Treadmill

Without further ado, let’s review the advantages of using a treadmill:

Efficient Weight Loss

treadmill weight loss benefits

A treadmill is one of the most efficient ways to lose weight. 

  • It helps burn more calories than other forms of exerciseRunning at 5 mph burns 288 calories, whereas vigorous bicycling on a stationary bike burns just 278 calories. High-impact aerobics is worth 252 calories, whereas weight lifting puts you at a modest 216 calorie deficit. These values are for 30 minutes and a 155-pound person.
  • A treadmill can tone your muscles and improve your cardiovascular fitness. This muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness are the pillars that regulate your metabolism, thus helping you burn more calories even when resting.
  • A treadmill is a great way to get your heart rate up and break a sweat. Getting in an anaerobic or VO2 max zone is essential for your body to use fat cells as fuel.
  • A treadmill is an excellent way to keep your weight under control. Losing weight can be easy, but keeping it off is not. Luckily, running on the treadmill has a significant afterburn effect that burns calories up to 48 hours after you work out. In combination with building lean muscle, this afterburn ensures you will avoid weight loss plateaus.

Pro tip: These aren’t just the benefits of running on a treadmill. Walking can also accelerate weight loss, especially if you’re challenging yourself. For some people, that might mean walking at a steep incline. For others, it might mean a 2 mph speed. Just make sure to listen to your body and push your limits without being in pain.

Improved Cardio

Cardio is essential for heart health. It keeps the heart strong and pumps blood efficiently throughout the body. 

A treadmill is a great way to get your cardio workout in because it’s an easy and effective way to raise your heart rate and get your blood flowing. 

Walking* or running on a treadmill requires you to use your large muscle groups, which forces your heart to work harder to pump blood to those muscles. The result is a healthier heart that is better able to pump blood throughout your body.

*Yes, improved cardio is one of the benefits of walking on a treadmill. Because walking is a total body exercise, it can quickly increase your heart rate in the aerobic zone. You only need about 100 steps per minute or a 10% incline.

And getting in the aerobic zone for 30 minutes per day is enough to prevent a range of heart-related issues.

Builds Muscle

running builds muscles

When most people think of a treadmill, they picture a bored person slowly plodding along on a never-ending journey to nowhere. But don’t be fooled – treadmills can be excellent workout machines that tone your whole body, not just your legs. 

By adjusting the speed and incline, you can target different muscle groups. 

  • If you want to tone your arms, try walking or jogging at a low angle while wearing wrist weights. 
  • If you want to train your core, emphasize the twisting motion and keep your abs engaged.

Bonus: If you really want to give your heart and lungs a workout, try interval training, alternating between high and low speeds. 

Improved Mental Health

It is well known that physical activity can positively impact mental health. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin, which have mood-boosting effects. Furthermore, it can help to reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality. 

However, not everyone enjoys going for a run or hitting the gym. 

For some people, the very thought of exercising is enough to send them running in the opposite direction. Fortunately, walking or running on a treadmill can provide many mental health benefits, including developing stress-coping strategies. 

Plus, you can watch your favorite TV show or listen to music while you work out, making it more enjoyable than many other forms of exercise. 

Even better, you don’t need to run at high speeds to see considerable improvements in your outlook and positivity. However, you do need consistency.

Reduced Body Fat

running reduce body fat

If you’re like most people, the thought of running on a treadmill sounds about as appealing as getting a root canal. However, there’s no need to break out into a cold sweat just yet. 

In fact, research has shown that regular treadmill workouts can be effective in reducing body fat. While running is more effective than walking at reducing deep-tissue fat, walking produces results too. 

In addition, experiments also saw decreased abdominal fat and improved insulin sensitivity. 

Decreased Belly Fat

Belly fat is one of the most challenging types of fat to get rid of. But before you resign yourself to a life of muffin tops and love handles, consider this: many studies found that using a treadmill can help reduce belly fat. 

In general, participants must use the treadmill for just 30 minutes a day to see significant reductions in their waistlines and preferably do HIIT or incline walking/running.

And the best part is that you don’t even have to break a sweat to see results – just walking at a moderate pace will do the trick, according to numerous studies.

Improved Bone Density

running on a treadmill increase bone density

In today’s fast-paced world, finding the time to get to the gym can be tricky. However, there’s no need to worry – a treadmill can help you improve your bone density without leaving your house! 

Walking or running on a treadmill provides your bones with a workout as they bear the impact of your feet striking the belt. This impact helps to stimulate new bone growth, which can lead to increased bone density over time. 

In addition, treadmills provide a low-impact way to exercise, which is ideal for those who want to avoid stressing their joints. In fact, many people who experience knee pain running outdoors feel entirely comfortable running on treadmills.

Pro tip: If you have chronic or acute pain, consult your GP/ physical therapist before trying a treadmill. Afterward, consider a model with a cushiony, ergonomic belt and multiple adjustments to avoid future pain.

More Workout Motivation

There are days when the weather is less than perfect for a run outdoors, or you can’t seem to muster up the motivation to go to “Jim”. 

On days like these, a treadmill can be your best friend. 

By providing a safe and controlled environment, a treadmill allows you to get your workout in without braving the elements. 

In addition, the built-in display can be motivating, allowing you to track your progress and see how far you’ve come. Alternatively, your treadmill may have built-in virtual workouts that take you anywhere in the world.

What could be more spiriting than a run on the rugged hills of Sicily or a stroll along the beautiful beaches of Cambodia?

Risks/ Disadvantages

treadmill disadvantages

Running on a treadmill may seem like a safe exercise, but several risks are associated with this activity. Perhaps most notably, treadmills can be quite dangerous for those not used to running at high speeds. 

If you are not paying attention, it is easy to trip and fall, potentially causing severe injuries. 

Many treadmills are equipped with automatic shut-off features that kick in when the machine senses someone has fallen. However, these features are not always reliable, and people have been severely injured when they could not get off the treadmill in time. 

Besides, running/walking inside reduces that time spent outside, and being outdoors has been shown to have a plethora of benefits for mental health. 

For one, being in nature can help to reduce stress levels and clear the mind. Studies have also shown that spending time outdoors can improve mood, increase feelings of well-being, and reduce anxiety and depression. There are several theories about why this is the case, but one plausible explanation is that being outdoors helps to increase levels of vitamin D, which is essential for good mental health. 

Exposure to natural light early in the morning and evening (which is incidentally when most people go for jogs) has also been shown to increase dopamine levels. Dopamine is the reward hormone that basically makes you feel good about your life.

This exposure regulates melatonin levels, too, thus helping you sleep better. And we all know that good sleep profoundly impacts your perceived quality of life.

treadmill risks

Pain is common for treadmill users too.

If your treadmill’s belt isn’t cushiony enough, you can experience back pain, plus knee and ankle injuries. Besides, having a treadmill in your home makes it tempting to run for hours, especially if your weight goals include losing pounds quickly.

Luckily, all those drawbacks have solutions:

  • Make sure you purchase a safe treadmill and always wear the safety clip.
  • Go outside as much as possible. If not to run, then to play with your kids or drink your coffee on your office building’s rooftop. 
  • Purchase a cushiony treadmill that protects your joints.
  • Never overtrain and never push past the point of pain.

Wrap Up

There are many benefits to running and walking on the treadmill. Your muscles will be better sculpted, your weight will be the way you want, and your endurance will increase. Thirty minutes daily is all you need to look and feel your best.

Just make sure to pick the right equipment and continue spending lots of time outdoors, too.

Mary D. Brown

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