How Long Should You Walk on a Treadmill

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Walking on a treadmill is one of many effective forms of aerobic exercise, which promotes cardiac health and can assist in weight loss. While beginners can receive benefits from even a few minutes' occasional walking on a treadmill, these benefits can be maximized by following some well-tested maxims of aerobic exercise.

Beginning Considerations

  • For anyone beginning an exercise program, it's advisable to consult a physician. A doctor can help assess one's overall condition and readiness for strenuous activity.

Aerobics Mean No Stopping

  • In aerobic exercise, which maximizes the body's oxygen consumption, sustained work is the key. Continuous motion keeps the heart rate up, but any pause in activity sharply diminishes the workout's value.

Treadmill Comfort

  • It is advisable to start slowly when first using a treadmill. It takes some time to become accustomed to the motion and confines of the machine, as well as to gain comfort in stepping on and (especially) off the treadmill. Holding the handrails is always a good idea.

The 20-Minute Rule

  • The consensus of many experts on cardiovascular exercise is that 20 minutes is the minimum duration for an aerobic workout to yield full benefits. Aerobic workouts of more than 1 hour begin to yield diminishing returns. Three days per week is the minimum frequency.

Levels of Exertion

  • The intensity and the fat-burning effects of a treadmill workout depend not only on the workout's duration but also the pace of walking. Beginners should stick with a comfortable pace on a flat treadmill and aim for a 20-minute minimum duration before increasing the walking pace.

Incline Walking

  • Most treadmills can be inclined to simulate uphill terrain of variable steepness. While incline walking increases heart rate and the calories burned per minute, one should not attempt it until a certain level of fitness has been reached.

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