Is the treadmill a good exercise machine for weight loss?

Treadmills are the most popular home exercise machines for aerobic fitness. They simulate real life using the authentic movements of walking, running, or jogging. Most studies have indicated that the use of a treadmill for an aerobic effect results in the burning of more calories than any other indoor exercise equipment.

It’s important to research the different types of machines before you buy so that your treadmill does not end up as a clothes rack. Non-motorized machines are suitable for walking but don’t withstand the more vigorous movements of jogging or running. If you plan to jog or run, you’ll need a more stable version with a relatively quiet motor. Also, an emergency shutoff is absolutely necessary for a motorized machine.

“Consumer Reports” regularly conducts reviews of equipment. Treadmills range in price from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. The basic treadmill includes an electronic display that shows the speed, elapsed time, distance traveled, and the calories burned. The belt is at least 15 inches wide and 50 inches long. The incline has a 10% grade that can be adjusted during exercise. The motor allows for speeds of at least 8-10 miles per hour.

When beginning an aerobic program using a treadmill, start slowly. A warm-up speed of approximately 2-3 miles per hour for 5-10 minutes is necessary. A brisk walking speed is approximately 4 miles per hour for most people. (Use the “talk test” to determine if you’re moving at an appropriate intensity: it should take effort to talk, but you should be able to do so without being breathless. If you are gasping and cannot talk, slow down.)

Start your program with 0% incline and gradually increase the incline 3-5 percent every 10 days. Incline work will increase your aerobic fitness and the amount of caloric burn. For weight loss, this is a definite benefit. Also, depending on your weight, an increase of 3% to 5% incline is the same as increasing your speed by one-half mile.

Remember to always include a cool-down period at the end of your high-intensity walk, run, or jog. Lower the intensity and the incline, and walk for at least five minutes.