How to Run on a Treadmill to Lose Weight

Using a treadmill to lose weight should be approached in the same manner as outdoor running to lose weight.

Nearly any run that can be completed outside can also be done on a treadmill and therefore the same running methods and strategies can be used.

One of the main aims when using a treadmill should be to run freely and use your natural running style, just as you would if you were running outside. While this sounds simple it’s something that many people just don’t do.

They either alter their running style or don’t concentrate on how they are running, or both. This affects their weight loss success because they end up burning fewer calories and losing weight much slower than what they could.

With this in mind here are 3 tips explaining what you should avoid when using a treadmill to lose weight…

  1. Don’t hold onto the rail

Most treadmills have a rail at the front that you can hold onto while you walk or run.

If you’re new to treadmill running or have very poor balance then it’s perfectly fine to use the rail. However, try to reach the point where you don’t have to use the rail because it’s just not a natural way to run.

Many people use the rail for the wrong purpose. They’re perfectly capable of running without it but they use the rail to try and make running easier. They even put weight on their arms to take more weight off their legs.

While it may seem that the rail will help you run longer, burn more calories, and lose more weight, it actually slows you down and does the opposite.

How many people have you seen running outdoors with their arms extended in front of their body?

The simple reason why nobody runs like this is because it’s an unnatural and slower way to run which is why using the rail affects your running performance and therefore your ability to burn calories and lose weight.

By holding onto the rail you’re teaching yourself to run with your arms extended in front of your body which means that you’re learning how to use a very poor running style.

Your running improvement will be slower than if you just ran naturally and therefore every time you run on a treadmill you’ll be burning fewer calories than what you could be.

So the solution is simple: If you don’t need the rail for safety reasons then don’t use it.

  1. Don’t get distracted

Some people try to do anything they can on a treadmill except run and this mainly involves sending text messages to their family and friends, or even trying to read books or magazines.

This actually takes a bit of skill and usually involves holding onto the rail with one hand to make sure they don’t fall off.

This is where you need to decide what your main priority is…

Do you want to use a treadmill to send text messages or read a book? Or do you want to use a treadmill to lose weight and make significant improvements to your life?

If you are willing to run with so little effort and concentration that you’re able to send text messages or read a book then you need to seriously think about how much you really want to lose weight.

By sending text messages or reading on a treadmill you can only run very slowly and your running style will be very poor. Your running improvement will be slow and therefore you’ll burn fewer calories and find it harder to lose weight.

  1. Don’t take it too easy

When using a treadmill there’s nothing wrong with distracting yourself from running by watching television or listening to music or the radio.

This can make running seem easier which can help you run longer or faster and therefore burn more calories, but it can also have the opposite effect. It’s easy to become too distracted and slack off during the run.

You may end up really enjoying your television programme and feel quite good about running and watching television at the same time. However, in reality you may have had a poor quality run and done very little to help you lose weight.

The key here is to take running seriously. If it’s just an afterthought or a sideshow while your main priority is watching television then you’re likely to struggle to lose weight and you’ll be wasting your time.

Just to summarise

Always use your natural running style when using a treadmill. This allows you to improve your running ability at the quickest rate and means that you’ll find it easier to burn calories and lose weight.

Also, don’t go into running half hearted. If you’re going to use running to lose weight then give it a proper chance and the respect it deserves…

Running has made a huge difference to thousands upon thousands of people’s lives and it can just as easily do the same for you.


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3 Responses to How to Run on a Treadmill to Lose Weight

  1. ifeoma says:

    Thank you for the article, it was very useful to me. I’ll like to know how many calories I can burn in a day to shed 5kg in 3weeks, I’m presently weighing 73kg.I’ve not been running for a while, I Only use tredmill. Reply ASAP

    • James says:

      You’re welcome Ifeoma. Your question would require quite a lot of detail to answer because of different factors relating to your running, diet, and your body.

      What I would say though is that trying to lose 5kg in 3 weeks is too much. You may be able to lose the weight but it will be harder to keep it off. A more realistic and healthier goal would be to lose 2kg in 3 weeks.

  2. Adrian says:

    Hi James
    I weigh 18 stone, could you tell me the best way to start losing weight, using a treadmill that i`ve aquired. How should I start off i.e. how often to run, for how long and how fast/slow.
    Much appreciated.