There’s no denying that treadmills are a popular option for those looking to lose some weight. The opportunity to reap some impressive weight loss benefits is one of the biggest reasons so many trainers choose to hop on a treadmill. These humble machines deliver a great aerobic workout that’s fun, accessible and highly effective. So, you might wonder whether an incline is any better. Is it worth the additional effort if normal treadmill use is already great for weight loss?
Benefits of Treadmill incline
Firstly, what does treadmill incline actually do? And why is it so popular? Adjusting your treadmill’s incline involves raising or lowering the platform to match the incline of walking uphill. This is great for imitating outdoor elements you would commonly experience during a walk or run such as hills and uneven terrain. Lifespan Fitness’ range of incline treadmills include models with 3 levels of incline all the way up to 22 levels on high incline treadmills. The incline naturally incorporates a greater number of muscles than would typically be used on a flat surface workout. When you change from a flat surface to an incline, it activates more muscles, such as your calves, hamstrings and glutes. As the incline increases, your muscles are forced to do more work as the body must exert more energy to propel itself forward.
All this means that an incline treadmill workout will naturally raise your heart rate, meaning you won’t have to increase speed for a higher cardio burn. Incline treadmill walking will still get your heart pumping, reducing the need to always have to incorporate high-speed running into your exercise regime. This will be useful for many users who may struggle with higher speeds, but still want to improve their cardiovascular health and accelerate weight loss. This also makes them useful for reducing impact on the joints, as high speeds can often lead to excess muscle tension in the knees and hips. However, it’s also worth pointing out that a high incline may not be ideal for those with lower back pain, and are encouraged to work their way up the levels in a gradual scale.
How does it burn fat?
Burning calories is all about maximising your energy output. The more muscles you’re working, the more energy you exert, and the more of your body you’re incorporating into a workout, all lead to a higher calorie expenditure. This makes choosing incline for your treadmill workout a no-brainer, as it maximises how much work your body is doing while on the treadmill. It increases energy expenditure regardless of whether you’re going for a light walk or a high-intensity sprint.
On average, you burn 30% more calories on an incline treadmill than a flat treadmill going at the same distance and speed. This is because your body is working harder to keep yourself moving, and is also having to utilise a greater number of muscles in the process. With an incline, you won’t be wasting any of the time spent using the machine, and walk away with the satisfaction that you’re maximising every part of your workout. You can be assured that getting yourself a treadmill with an incline will be worth it for not just burning fat, but all the various other benefits it affords.
The extra option of incline in your workout provides you with greater variation options, both during a single session or between different workouts. This makes them useful for those who like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), comprising of short bursts of high-speed or high-incline running followed by periods of moderate paced walks on lower inclines. These are a great way to burn more calories in a short period of time. This is where automatic incline machines will be the most useful, as they allow you to adjust the incline without stepping off the machine, leaving you uninterrupted in your exercise.
A lot of incline treadmills will come with pre-set programs that automatically adjust incline throughout your workout. This is especially useful for those who want to condition their bodies for outdoor terrain, and adapt to different environments. Most treadmills will also have a calorie tracker feature that allows you to witness how many calories you’ve burned based off the duration and speed of your workout. Some treadmills allow users to input their age, weight and height so the treadmill can more accurately track your progress.
Introducing an incline into your treadmill workout is undeniably the best option for those looking to increase their calorie expenditure. Not only does it accelerate the work you’re already doing, but allows you to cater your running or walking to your fitness level, giving you the option to progress incrementally as you improve.
If you’re just getting started with treadmills, make sure to check out our guide to correct treadmill use, or reach out to our friendly team if you have any questions about our range of products.