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Why Treadmills Burn the Most Calories

Most of us appreciate that working out helps us to lose or maintain our weight.  If you’re looking to increase the calories you burn each day there’s no better workout than running on a treadmill. Burning calories during your workout comes from the amount of muscular effort you put into the movement.  Since running on a treadmill offers little room for cheating in your efforts, it’s the best way to increase the calories burned in your workouts.  Here are the reasons that treadmills burn the most calories of any exercise machine and how to maximize those benefits.

Holding your body upright

Running on a treadmill requires you to hold your body upright.  Because you’re supporting your own body weight, your body burns calories to simply hold you in an upright position.  To maximize this benefit, avoid holding the handlebar while running on your treadmill and concentrate on maintaining a strong posture in your upper body.

Core Strength.

Without the support of a machine to hold you, running on a treadmill also requires good core strength.  Core strength equals greater muscle engagement and more calories burned.  You can maximize this effect by focusing on drawing in slightly at your low belly to support your low back while running.  Adding in planks, hollow holds, and dead bugs to complement your treadmill workouts will also build core strength that will support you during your runs.


Treadmills are a unique exercise machine because your body provides its own resistance.  The difficulty of your workout is based on speed, incline, and how you carry your body in response to those challenges.  Increasing the speed of your run results in a higher calorie burn per mile run because of the force your muscles must generate to match that pace.  You can maximize this benefit by completing speed intervals on your treadmill.  The %heart rate speed based setting on the Horizon Elite T9 is also perfect for increasing your speed over time.  Try customizing your workout to complete your run of 20-60 minutes at 80% of your maximum heart rate.  This will target your lactate threshold to allow you to work harder for longer durations.


The incline setting on your treadmill is a powerful tool when it comes to increasing the calories you burn during your run.  Running on an incline increases the demand on your quads and glutes.  These are big muscles that burn a lot of calories, both during your run and while you recover.  Using the incline is a fun way to maximize the Calorie Goal setting on your treadmill.  Add 1 minute efforts to your workout increasing your incline to 3-5%.  While you fight to maintain the same running speed, your calorie count will climb.  You’ll also be building calorie churning muscle that will increase your post-workout metabolism.

Consider your Options:

While treadmills burn the most calories of any other exercise machine, they aren’t the perfect fit for everybody.  If you don’t enjoy running or need a lower impact option, choose a piece of equipment that will work well for your body. Using good form is the best way to get a serious calorie burn from your home workout.
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.




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