How many calories should I burn on a treadmill? To find the right answer, you need 3 pieces of information: 1. What is my exercise intensity in terms of percentage of my maximum heart rate? 2. How many minutes am I going to exercise for? 3. How many days a week will I work out?
You see, when taking into account the variables of your weight, gender, age, pace and incline (to name just a few), there is no definitive number of calories burned on a treadmill that will apply to everyone.
What Is a Good Amount of Calories to Burn Off on a Treadmill?
Using the treadmill to burn off extra calories may allow you a little more flexibility in your diet or help you reach your weight loss goals. But focusing solely on calories burned may hold you back from getting the most out of your treadmill workout. Instead, you may want to consider tracking speed, mileage, and incline to reap not only the health benefits, but a decent number of calories burned too.
A good number of calories to burn on the treadmill depends on your goals, and there’s no one correct number that fits everyone.
Consider Your Goal
A good number of calories to burn on the treadmill really depends on your goal, whether you’re trying to burn more calories to lose weight or give yourself more leeway with your diet. When it comes to calculating calorie needs, it’s generally understood that one pound of fat contains around 3,500 calories. If your goal is weight loss, burning an extra 500 calories a day on the treadmill may help you lose one pound a week as long as your diet stays constant. But if you eat more to make up for the calories burned on the treadmill, you’ll lose weight more slowly, depending on how many extra calories you took in.
If you want to burn calories so you have more freedom with your diet, then the number of calories you need to torch may depend on what you’re trying to make more room for. If it’s for a glass of wine with dinner, you’d only need to spend enough time on the treadmill to burn an extra 125 calories. But if you want to splurge on a piece of chocolate cake because it’s your coworker’s birthday, you may need to spend a little more time on the treadmill or up the intensity to burn the extra 350 calories that cake will cost.
Calculate Your Calories
The number of calories you burn on a treadmill depends on a few factors, including your weight, walking speed and the length of your workout. A 155-pound person walking fast at 4 miles per hour can burn approximately 340 calories in an hour. But if that 155-pound person bumps up their walk to a run at 5 miles per hour, they can burn up to 600 calories an hour. If you’re using the calorie counter on your treadmill to track calories burned, the number will be more accurate if it captures your weight, and you don’t hold onto the side rails during your workout.
Add Some Intervals
It’s certainly OK to focus on calories burned when you’re working out on the treadmill. But focusing on other goals, such as increasing your speed or incline, may help improve fitness and increase the number of calories you burn at the same time.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a type of workout where you alternate between periods of high-intensity exercise, followed by periods of low-intensity exercise for a set periods of time. HIIT may improve cardiovascular health and muscle strength, and is a good way to improve both your fitness and the number of calories you burn. It may also cut down on your workout time. On the treadmill you can create your own HIIT workout. Just vary the intensity by changing the speed, incline, or both.
How to Burn More Calories on a Treadmill
Many people use a treadmill to burn calories, help with weight loss goals, and support cardio fitness. But how accurate is your method of estimating the calories burned on a treadmill? Can you trust the treadmill’s display?
When tracking calories burned during a treadmill workout, there are many factors to consider, including your age and bodyweight and exercise intensity and speed.
Walking on a treadmill at 3.5mph (brisk pace) burns about 258 calories per hour if you weigh 150 pounds. Running on a treadmill at 6mph (a 10-minute mile pace) will burn approximately 680 calories per hour.
This article will discuss using a treadmill calorie calculator to find the estimated number of calories burned on the treadmill, plus other methods to track and increase calorie burn.
Factors Affecting Calorie Burn
Understanding all of the elements that can affect your calorie output is the first step in estimating the final “calories burned” number at the close of your workout. While the treadmill dashboard may display a calorie burn total, it’s important to note that this is an approximate number.
Every person is different, and a number of factors come into play when it comes to how many calories the body burns during exercise and when at rest.
The smoother your motion and the more trained you are in it, the fewer calories you will burn over a given distance. Some speeds are more natural and efficient for your body, and this will vary from person to person. At higher speeds, running can be more efficient than walking fast or using a racewalking technique.
The harder your heart and lungs work, the more calories you burn. Exercise intensity can be measured by your heart rate or pulse. You can also use a rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale—a simple method of assigning a number to how hard you feel that you are working.
Holding Onto the Handrails
You will likely burn fewer calories if you hold onto the rails while walking or running on the treadmill. Treadmill calorie counters don’t account for holding handrails, so if you are gripping the rails, the total you get is likely higher than what you are truly burning.
The moving belt and smooth surface reduce your calories burned per mile compared with non-treadmill walking or running. The difference in calorie burn can be made up by having at least a 1% incline on the treadmill.
Speed and Incline Settings
If you cover the same distance in a shorter amount of time, you’ll burn more calories due to the higher intensity. And when you work out at a higher intensity, you’ll also burn more calories for a longer period of time after exercise.
Walking or running uphill burns more calories than going downhill or on a level surface. You will burn an extra 3 to 5 calories per minute depending on the incline of your treadmill.
How Many Calories Are Burned in 20 Minutes on the Treadmill?
How many calories you burn depends on many different factors.
Treadmills provide a variety of workouts, allowing you to set a pace suited for your level of fitness and avoid the outdoor elements. By setting the speed for walking, jogging or running coupled with your weight, the calories burned on a treadmill can range significantly.
The calories burned during a cardio workout lasting 20 minutes on a treadmill can vary depending on your weight and speed. For example, a 155-pound person running at a 12-minute per mile pace can burn 298 calories in 30 minutes, whereas a 185-pound person can burn 355.
Calories Burned on a Treadmill
Caloric burn ranges for everyone in any physical activity due to certain variables. For a treadmill workout, these can include the following:
Weight: How much you weigh plays a role in how many calories you burn. People who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, including while they are at rest, says the Mayo Clinic. For example, according to Harvard Health Publishing, a 185-pound person burns more calories in 20 minutes on a treadmill at 5 mph than a 125-pound person at the same speed — 237 versus 160 calories, respectively.
Gender: Men will generally burn more calories than a woman doing the same physical activity. The Mayo Clinic says this is due to men having less body fat and more muscle than women of the same weight and age.
Workout intensity: The intensity/pace of an exercise directly affects how many calories you burn; running at 8 mph burns more calories than running at 5 mph. Harvard Health Publishing provides a few statistics on walking and running speeds for a 125-pound person:
- Walking at 3.5 mph burns 120 calories in 30 minutes (80 calories in 20 minutes)
- Running at 5 mph burns 240 calories in 30 minutes (160 calories in 20 minutes)
- Running at 6 mph burns 300 calories in 30 minutes (200 calories in 20 minutes)
- Running at 7.5 mph burns 375 calories in 30 minutes (250 calories in 20 minutes)
Treadmill calibration: Some machines offer a treadmill calorie calculator in which you enter your weight and the treadmill will determine how many calories you burn depending on your speed and incline. You should note that treadmills don’t always provide accurate numbers, as they often aren’t calibrated correctly, according to a November 2015 study from the BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation journal.
Treadmill Modifications Affecting Calorie Burn
You can also burn more calories during a 20-minute treadmill session by performing two of the following workout alterations. You can make your workout harder by increasing the incline, or adding in a component to make the workout burn more calories, like bursts of activity (HIIT).
Increasing the incline: Setting the treadmill at an incline burns more calories than walking on level ground. The incline also helps build strength in the lower body because of the greater resistance that results from walking uphill. An incline also offers benefits beyond calorie burn. An April 2014 study from Gait & Posture found that walking at an incline can help people with knee replacements and osteoarthritis.
Adding in high-intensity interval training: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is comprised of short bursts (intervals) of exercises that last anywhere from 10 seconds to a few minutes at a time, and you push as hard as you can for the duration of the interval. These exercises are paired with short recovery periods. According to ACE, this anaerobic method of training continues to burn calories for hours after the workout. Such short intervals at a high intensity also burn more calories due to higher oxygen consumption.
Walking On A Treadmill – Calories Burned
Walking at a slow pace at around 3.5 miles per hour can be considered to be a light-intensity workout on a treadmill. A person who weighs around 125 pounds and he or she walks on a treadmill at a slow and steady pace can expect to burn off around 125 calories in 30 minutes. A person weighing more than 125 pounds will burn more calories, depending on the weight, but it is not really effective to use a treadmill to work out for half an hour at light intensity. It does not affect the overall weight loss by a significant margin unless you give it at least an hour every day.
30 Minute Treadmill Workout – Calories Burned
Now, if you step up your game and use the treadmill to walk briskly for 30 minutes, you can burn more calories on a treadmill. Walking at 4.5 miles per hour at a steady pace will allow a person weighing 125 pounds to burn just over 200 calories in half an hour. The heavier the person, the more calories will be burned. While this is a major improvement than walking slowly, it is still not a significant fat burner and you should not expect it to affect your overall weight loss efforts by a huge margin.
Running On A Treadmill – Calories Burned
If you really pick up your pace and start running, you can enhance your weight loss efforts and bring the scale down a bit. For a person weighing 125 pounds and running steadily at around 5 miles per hour on the treadmill, an estimated 247 calories can be burned on the machine in half an hour. That is significantly a lot more than the time you would spend walking on the treadmill.