When the “ditch-the-junk-food-and-start-exercising” season begins, the treadmill is always the default choice. And it’s easy to see why considering that it’s one of the most effective and efficient exercise machines when it comes to losing weight and getting in shape.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.” That equates to exercising on the treadmill for 30 minutes daily, 5 days per week.
But what can such a workout routine do to you? How much weight are you expected to lose? And what fitness goals can you achieve after one month of a treadmill workout?
Whether your goal is to lose weight, develop bulging calves, or improve your cardiovascular health, we’ve asked many experts to explain the progress you should expect.
Expected Results After One Month of Treadmill Workouts
Treadmills are a great option for anyone looking to lose weight. They burn calories at a faster rate than any other gym equipment, including the exercise bike, the elliptical, and the rowing machine.
After one week of exercising on the treadmill combined with a strict diet, you might lose 3-4 pounds. However, the rate will slow down to no more than 1-2 pounds per week by the second or third week. So your overall weight loss results after one month can reach 8-10 pounds.
That’s the general answer. However, no weight loss journey is linear, and things aren’t always that direct.
The speed at which you lose weight depends on your current weight, the frequency of your treadmill workouts, the duration you spend on each exercise, and your calorie intake.
So what would your weight loss results exactly be in a month? Let’s do more explanation.
To shed one pound of weight, you need to burn 3,500 calories. That can be achieved by combining an efficient exercise program with a healthy diet.
Suppose you weigh 150 pounds and exercise for 30 minutes on the treadmill daily. Depending on your starting weight, you can calculate how many calories you burn by walking or running for one hour on the treadmill.
Based on a study by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), these are the calories burned by a 150-pound person at different speeds:
- Brisk walking at 3.5 mph: 258 calories/hour
- Climbing at 4.5 mph: 300 calories/hour
- Jogging at 5 mph: 580 calories/hour
- Running at 6 mph: 680 calories/ hour
- Running at 7.5 mph: 750 calories/hour
- Running at 9 mph: 900 calories/hour
- Running at 12 mph: 1,200 calories/hour
So if you run at 6 mph for 30 minutes a day, you’ll have achieved a 2380-calorie deficit after a week. Keeping track of the calories you consume and cutting them down by 500 calories per day will help you achieve another caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. By adding both numbers, you’ll find that you’ll lose around 2 pounds per week.
Yet, you might lose even more than that during the first couple of weeks of exercising because you drop the “water weight” – the extra water held in your body.
Also, you burn more calories at first because your body needs more fuel to power the physical activity you do. As you shed the extra pounds, your body mass decreases, so your body needs fewer calories to run its functions.
Burning calories isn’t the only result you’ll get out of a month of regular exercise. After 30 days of treadmill training, you’ll feel increased strength in your muscles. Climbing the stairs won’t feel like such a chore, and even squatting will feel like a walk in the park.
That’s because walking or running on the treadmill engages different muscle groups, especially your lower body muscles, including the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Even your core, shoulders, and arms are worked when you swing them while running but at a lower intensity.
Don’t expect to see noticeable changes in the shape of your legs, though. Although regular workouts increase their strength, high-defined muscles can only be achieved after a few months of cardio exercises mixed with strength training.
Because the heart is a muscle, too, you’ll notice improvements in your heart health and cardiovascular endurance after a month of regular exercise on the treadmill.
As you gradually increase the intensity of your workouts, you’ll detect a boost in your stamina, speed, and energy levels. That translates into more time spent on the treadmill, bringing you closer to your weight loss goal.
That’s why runners use the treadmill to prepare for marathons, as it allows them to alter the speed and incline and do intervals to boost their performance.
In the long term, that reduces your chances of acquiring heart disease or blood pressure problems.
Improved Mood and Sleep
Among the many health benefits of the treadmill is its positive effect on your mood and sleep quality.
A study conducted on 40 individuals suffering from depression backs this information. During the experiment, people were divided into two groups. The first performed a 30-minute walking session on the treadmill, while the second group rested for the same amount of time.
After comparing the effect of the activity on both groups, they found that the group who walked scored better on the well-being test.
The explanation behind this result is that treadmill walking triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin – the happiness hormones. Consequently, when you walk or run, even for one session, your mood lifts, and other negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and sadness diminish.
Similarly, treadmill training can help you get better sleep after a couple of weeks. However, it may take 3-4 months of regular exercise for you to maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Treadmill in a Month
Now that you know what to expect after a month of treadmill training, here are a few tips to help you get close to your weight loss goals in just 30 days!
Don’t Stick To One Exercise Routine
Our bodies get used to the amount of time and effort we exert on each training session. It’s an adaptation technique that our bodies have to keep us living even when things get worse. They don’t differentiate between “exercising to lose weight” and “going into starvation mode.”
That’s why you might feel that your calorie burn has decreased after a few weeks. To fight this natural phenomenon, you need to vary your exercise plans.
Instead of doing the same exercise routine over and over, try doing interval training, change your speed regularly, and increase the incline.
Another thing to do is to vary the amount of time you spend walking or running. For instance, if you walk today for 30 minutes, consider going for a 15-minute jog tomorrow to alter the routine, and so on.
Let Go of the Handrails & Shorten Your Stride
When you hold onto the handrails and widen your stride, you’re basically letting the treadmill do the hard work for you as it’s supporting your body, and the belt is bringing your feet forward.
Rather than doing that, keep your stride length short and stand up straight while keeping your arms to your sides. Try to relax your shoulders and tighten your core to engage them in the workout and maintain a good posture.
Add More Weights
Heavier people burn more calories as they exert more effort to move their bodies. The trick here is to make your body heavier so that your body works harder. You can do that by holding hand weights while running or walking on the treadmill. Or you can just wear a weighted vest to add more weight to your body.
Emma James, 29 years old professional fitness trainer with Bachelor’s degree in Physical Fitness Technician from Boston University.