How to Run on a Treadmill to Lose Weight

Using a treadmill to lose weight should be approached in exactly 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 to lose weight.

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 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 burn fewer calories and lose weight much slower than what they could.

With this in mind here are three tips of how NOT to run on a treadmill to lose weight:

1.   Don’t hold onto the rail

All 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 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 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 will affect your running performance and therefore your ability to burn calories and lose weight.

By holding onto the rail of a treadmill you’re teaching yourself to run with your arms extended in front of your body which means 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.

2.   Don’t read books or magazines

Some people try to do anything they can on a treadmill except run and this mainly involves trying to read books or magazines.

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

The rail may also used to lean on in order that they can take more weight of their legs and steady their upper body to make reading easier.

It’s up to you to decide what your top priority is. Do you want to use a treadmill to read a book, or do you want to use a treadmill to lose weight and make a massive difference to your life?

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

By reading a book on a treadmill you can only run very slowly and your running style would be very poor. Your running improvement will be slow and therefore you’ll be burning fewer calories than what you could be which means it will take much longer to lose weight.

3.   Don’t take it too easy

When using a treadmill you can distract yourself from the running by watching television or listening to music or the radio.

This can make running seem easier which means you may be able to 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 therefore slack off during the run.

You may end up really enjoying your television program 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 idle 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.

In summary

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

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.

James Porter is a qualified UK Athletics Coach and has been an active runner since 1997. He specialises in helping people use running to lose weight and make a real difference to their life in the process. To discover exactly how you can use running to lose weight, visit:

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