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Length Matters: How Long you Should run on the Treadmill based on your Goals

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

Love it or hate it, the treadmill is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and improve your overall well-being. But one question remains, how long should I run on a treadmill?

This article will cover how long you should run on a treadmill to meet your goals, regardless if you want to lose weight or improve cardiovascular health.

A man trying how long should he run on a treadmill
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How Long Should I Run on the Treadmill?

Like any other form of exercise, the right frequency will significantly depend on your physical activity goals and circumstances. If your focus is to maintain your fitness or complete the recommended amount of daily routine, then the treadmill can be a fantastic place to start.

The American Heart Association advises adults to incorporate a minimum 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours, of moderate-intensity workout per week. Alternatively, you can get 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or combine the two throughout the week.

To hit these goals, you might exercise on the treadmill at a brisk pace for 30-45 minutes 3-4 times a week.

These timeframes can be more than enough to stay in shape or improve your physical fitness. You don’t have to go all out either—combining jogging, brisk walks, and running can help you achieve your fitness goals without overdoing them.

How Long Should Beginners Run on the Treadmill?

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You’re not alone if 30-45 minutes on the treadmill sounds intimidating. Every beginner is going to have a different starting point, and your situation will vary.

If you’re just getting back into the swing of things or starting for the first time, you can start on the treadmill at a slow pace for 15-20 minutes. You can complete these sessions three times a week.

Afterward, you can slowly increase your time on the treadmill to 30-45 minutes over the next few weeks.

However, it’s essential to listen to your body and stay within your fitness range when starting a new exercise habit. You might only have the capacity for 10-minute sessions, or you might exceed 20 minutes with ease. Either way, pay attention to the signals from your body, and don’t go overboard.

What Speed Should Beginners Run At?

Just like treadmill duration, the right pace will depend on your current fitness level and goals. If you haven’t laced up your tennis shoes in a couple of years, you aren’t going to be as fast as you once were.

If you can reach 5 mph as a beginner, you’ll be in a fantastic range to increase your time and intensity. Five miles per hour is roughly a 12:00-minute mile, but you can always incorporate intervals of higher intensity and lower intensity to meet your goals. Training sessions at this pace are an excellent place to start.

Can The Treadmill Burn Weight?

Yes! Treadmill training is an excellent tool for burning calories and shedding weight. When you combine treadmill workouts with healthy eating, you can quickly notice results on the scale.

Simply walking or jogging on the treadmill can help you burn calories. However, higher levels of intensity can help you burn more calories over time. 

The right amount of time and effort will depend on your weight loss goals, but you can use programs and tools to help you achieve your desired results. For example, a brisk walking pace on the treadmill can be beneficial for many individuals. 

People testing for how long they can run on the treadmill
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How Long Should I Run to Burn Weight?

So, how long should you spend on the treadmill for weight loss? Although the answer will vary, you can use online Treadmill Calculators to get a better estimate. With these tools, you can enter your weight, speed, and distance to gauge how many calories you’ll burn.

For example, if a 180-pound person walks on the treadmill at 3 mph for 30 minutes, they would burns roughly 240 calories per session. If the same person increased the speed to 5 mph, they would burn 370 calories.

It’s generally recommended for overweight individuals to burn 400-500 calories a day for weight loss. So, if you burn 300 calories on the treadmill and eat 200 fewer calories a day, you’ll be well on your way to hitting your goals.

What About HIIT for Weight Loss?

You can also incorporate High-intensity interval training (HIIT) to hit your weight loss goals and improve your overall health. HIIT-style training is a form of exercise that combines short phases of high intensity followed by short rest breaks. Interval programs are effective in burning an increased number of calories in short periods.

For example, you may complete an interval that looks like the following:

  • Start with a 3-minute warm up at a brisk walk at around 3 mph.
  • Walk for 1 minute at 3-4 mph.
  • Jog for 1 minute at 5-7 mph.
  • Run for 1 minute at 7-9 mph.
  • Repeat the circuit four times.
  • Cool down for 3 minutes with a brisk walk at 2-3 mph.

This session won’t take much time and can dramatically improve your health. You can also adjust the speeds and time frames to meet your current fitness levels.

How Long Should I Run on a Treadmill for Better Cardio?

As mentioned earlier, it’s advised to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week to maintain cardiovascular health. 150 minutes a week is roughly 21 minutes a day, but it’s best to give your body time to rest in between sessions.

You can also calculate your target heart rate zone for a more accurate estimate of how hard you’re working. With your target zone, you can find the best speeds for improving aerobic capacity and hitting fitness goals.

How to Calculate Your Target Heart Rate Zone

You can use the following instructions to calculate your target maximum heart rate zone. Your long-term goal should be to sustain 20 minutes of exercise in your ideal zone.

  • Subtract your age from 220. If you’re 35, your maximum heart rate will be 185 beats per minute.
  • Next, set your target heart rate zone to 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. This range is practical and low-risk for most individuals. If you’re 35, that would be 111 to 148 bpm.

You can work your way up to 20 minutes at your target maximum heart rate zone. You might only have the aerobic capacity for 10 minutes when you start out before you adapt to the new routine.

Is 30 Minutes on the Treadmill Too Much?

Thirty minutes on the treadmill is excellent exercise. Depending on the speed, you can easily burn calories, improve cardio fitness, or meet other goals.

But just like other exercise programs, it’s essential to pay attention to your health condition and not overdo it. You may be OK to spend 30 minutes on a treadmill at low speeds, but increasing the intensity may lead to overexertion. Play around with your exercise variations to determine what’s right for you.

When Will I Notice Health Benefits?

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It’s possible to notice health benefits from the treadmill in as little as one to two weeks, depending on your goals. For example, you may see improvements in your mood after your first sessions and well into your first week of training.

Some individuals can notice weight-loss benefits in as little as one week on the treadmill, but this depends on the situation, intensity, and other lifestyle factors. Weeks of workouts could lead to higher results. 

For health benefits, you can notice results in around a month. Individuals with high blood pressure see lower readings after 4-6 weeks. Around this time, the heart and lungs become stronger and start functioning better.

Regardless, the health benefits from the treadmill happen quickly and stay as long as you keep training.

Is 15 Minutes too Little?

Lower-intensity exercise of fifteen minutes on the treadmill is an excellent starting session and can generate several health benefits. You may notice improvements to your sleep, mood, and overall health after one to two weeks of 15-minute sessions three times a week.

How Long Is Too Long?

There isn’t a definitive answer for dangerous treadmill workouts. However, it’s crucial to stay within your fitness range, pay attention to your body, and take rest breaks. Depending on your fitness level, a 45-minute session might be the maximum cut-off point.

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