A treadmill is a great piece of cardio equipment, pretty much no matter how it is that you use it. Running and walking are both great ways to keep in shape, and they help to achieve different things too. Two common questions, however, is how they can help you lose weight and how long it would take.

Well, running is one of the best forms of cardio exercise. It's versatile, practical, and at the end of the day, it's pretty hardcore if you push yourself hard enough. Because of this, it is incredibly effective, and a treadmill amplifies that. They let you change up your workout to fit your exact needs and provide support for your knees to keep you in good shape while you're doing it, minimising risk.

So, what they do and how long it takes is broken down into a handful of different factors. They are all pivotal in the role they will play on your progress, so it's a good idea to know about all of them individually, and how they come together to affect you in the long run.

What exercise factors affect weight loss


woman on treadmill wiping sweat

The most complex of the pillars that you need to know about is how you are going to use the treadmill. Your intensity has a huge impact on your result, as you might have guessed. There are several different approaches you can take, like LISS or HIIT, but they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Overall, if you're looking to lose weight, the best approach for you is likely to be HIIT training around four times per week. You'll burn the most calories in the least time, and this is crucial to your weight loss.


The duration of your workouts goes pretty much hand in hand with how hard you are working. If you are walking on an incline for 30 minutes every day of the week, you get close to the calorie burn of doing a HIIT workout three times a week. This is how effective your workout time is. Over-exercising harms the body too, so working out for too long can damage your weight loss and not only in the long run if you aren't careful.


As we've already brushed over, the final pillar to how a treadmill helps you lose weight is the frequency of your use. Your workout time and your intensity are pivotal to your result, but so is how often you use it. One power workout once a week is probably not going to have much impact on weight loss, but neither is a five-minute sprint twice a day. You need to find the right balance for your needs and working out as and when you need to.

So that's the trifecta of factors that tell you how a treadmill affects weight loss. How long it takes, is a different game altogether. The combination of the factors we've described determines this. There's no right or wrong answer for this, and the time that any progress takes is pretty flexible all in all. There are a few common items that affect weight loss out of exercise, though, so let's look at them on a smaller scale.

Factors that affect weight loss outside of exercise

Calorie deficit

foods that make up a balanced diet

Your weight loss is ultimately going to be reliant on your calorie deficit per day. It's one of the fundamentals of weight loss. To lose weight, you need to be consuming fewer calories per day than your daily needs. Making this deficit should ideally be a combination of eating and exercise. That's where the treadmill comes into play. If you use it several times per week to create a calorie deficit of around 250-500 calories every day (in combination with your diet, 50/50 split), then you'll be losing around 2lbs per week. This is ideal for healthy weight loss, and you should stick at 1-2 lbs per week if you keep it up!

Starting weight

Another factor that can determine how long it takes you to lose weight is the weight you are when you start out. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn during exercise, since you're using more energy to move more weight. This gives you a little boost when you first start out, but it may not be sustainable over time. Your progress might slow down as you lose more weight, so don't get put off if it happens!


Finally, your metabolism has a big role to play in your weight loss too. Different things affect it, including your starting weight and your age, your height, gender… the list goes on and on. This is important to keep in mind. Your age especially has a more significant impact, as you lose muscle mass over time. Muscle burns more calories when resting than fat, so you're burning fewer calories naturally per day, which makes it very easy to put on weight.


So, overall, it's a very tricky question to answer. There's not really one right answer aside from the calorie deficit per day that will give you results. Everyone is unique, and how they use equipment like treadmills as well as other forms of exercise will affect people differently. Being healthy is ultimately the priority, so as long as you get the recommended amount of exercise per week, eat healthily while keeping a small calorie deficit in mind, you will reach your goal eventually. Treadmills are amazing pieces of cardio kit, and they give you an awesome workout pretty much no matter how you use them.

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.