Is Incline Walking on a Treadmill Good for Fat Loss?
Cardiovascular exercise takes a huge range of different shapes and sizes. Ther's so much variety in terms of what you can do; it can be hard to narrow down what is going to work best for your goals. Fat loss is a big consideration for the majority of people in any fitness training, and this needs to be at the forefront of any choices that you do make. One hugely popular way to try to burn fat in cardio exercise is incline walking on a treadmill.
It's a great way to burn off a lot of calories safely and reliably that has low impact and minimal risk. Most people can do it without much difficulty and no real issues regarding your fitness level. It's a big consideration for many of us. It does burn a lot of calories, and that's always strived for, but is that enough for fat loss?
Walking in general
When we break it down, the most obvious thing to look at when reviewing any exercise is what it is that you’re actually doing. Walking is the staple motion with the incline being the variation to the standard. Walking is a great way to exercise at any fitness level, and it has obvious benefits. It helps blood flow, aerobic health, lung capacity, blood pressure, just about everything cardio exercise has to offer! This does include a reasonably high-calorie burn if you do it in the right way, and that's pivotal in losing body fat.
Walking is an excellent example of LISS training. It's one of the most effective ways to burn fat per calorie, and this is precisely what we're looking for here. As you walk on an incline at a reasonable speed of 3-4 mph, you'll be raising your heart rate to somewhere around 140 bpm, and that's the ideal place for you to be for this kind of training to take a good effect! This happens because you are still more than able to breathe correctly throughout your exercise and keeps the activity completely aerobic which is something that doesn't happen when we get out of breath. The oxygen is what is allowing the fat burn to be more effective.
Fat loss is the same for a lot of exercises with how efficient it can be. The only real downside that comes along with walking is that you need to put some real hard time into it. Walking is of course not the most dramatic of movements, and for a good calorie burn, even with the incline, you're looking at a lot of time being taken up. This is usually summed up to 3-6 hours per week. That's a lot of time walking, and that can't be used to commute or anything else like regular walking due to needing the incline. Just food for thought.
The other main variable that will affect how much your fat loss is affected by the exercise is speed. The speed of your walking is, of course, going to determine how much fat your burn over a given time. The incline will make a dramatic difference to your time and your speed, so it's important to find a healthy balance where you can hit this golden 3-4mph speed. Any slower than this and you probably need to be reducing the incline you’re walking on for the best results.
That's all we need to think about when looking at incline walking and fat loss really, other than one huge pitfall that so many people seem to fall into. If you are holding onto the handles of your treadmill rather than letting your arms sway, you are doing it wrong. You will not see the benefit of the incline in any way what so ever. It's an error that so many people aren't aware of, but you need to know! Don't hold the handles!
Ultimately, it's an incredibly effective fat burning exercise. Both in terms of calories burned over the duration, as you'll get similar results to a lot of other more intensive cardio exercises, and how much fat you are burning per calorie. Especially instead of burning more glycogen as is the case with most cardio exercises. It's a great way to lose weight and fat at the same time, making it a fundamental of weight loss which is usually the reason. Even for trying to get more toned or lean while still building muscle, it's one of the most effective tools you can use. Give it a try!
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