As a fitness trainer with over 25 years of experience, I've seen firsthand how ramping up cardio intensity, especially on treadmills, accelerates my clients' weight-loss journeys.
As many of them use treadmills in the gym, I usually suggest raising the incline to challenge their muscles and burn more calories.
And since I always strive to help them reach their weight loss goals faster, I set aside a few weeks to study the science of fat burning on inclines.
I also spoke with my colleagues at Total Shape to see if my research findings were consistent with their years of experience as sports experts.
Can an Inclined Treadmill Help You Lose Fat?
An inclined treadmill can help you lose more fat, including in the belly area, because it simulates walking uphill, which raises your heart rate more than walking on a flat surface.
Research published in the EDP Science journal has found that an increased heart rate due to intense exercise correlates with the increased burning of calories per minute .
Another study published on PubMed reveals that even a 1% treadmill incline significantly increases exercise energy costs, akin to outdoor running, boosting calorie burn during workouts .
As per the ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute, while incline walking aids in overall fat loss, it does not specifically target belly fat, debunking the myth of spot reduction .
Yet, walking uphill during a treadmill workout at the same pace as regular walking may increase endurance, improve performance, and increase lean muscle mass.
And since muscle burns more calories than fat, you can hasten the process of losing body fat even while at rest, based on a Gait and Posture journal study .
How to Maximize the Use of Incline Treadmill for Fat Loss
Ramp up your incline treadmill workout's speed and duration, and keep your body aligned for optimal fat loss.
High-intensity sessions make your heart race and pump harder, reaching peak capacity.
In this mode, your metabolism speeds up, switching to fat as fuel.
When you don't hold onto the railings, you learn to balance and align your whole body, allowing you to build better posture while working out.
Remember, clinging to the treadmill's handrails cuts calorie burning. Balancing without them builds posture and stamina, making workouts less tiring and more effective, says the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry .
What Are the Other Benefits of Walking Uphill?
Uphill walking slashes heart disease risk and improves glucose control, states the Journal of Sports, Science, and Medicine .
The other notable benefits are:
- It works your core muscles—external and internal obliques, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis—boosting strength and stability.
"Incline walking can strengthen leg muscles while introducing less joint load or pressure to the knee."
- Henry Wang, Professor, Ball State University
- Incline walking is a safer, low-impact option, ideal for older adults and those with joint issues.
- It can brighten your mood, fend off depression, and strengthen your immune system.
Whether on a treadmill or outdoor trails, incline walking caters to your preference, offering diverse and enjoyable workouts that can be customized to fit your fitness goals, be they weight loss, endurance, or core strength.
Read More: How To Do Walkout Exercises
Are There Any Risks?
How Many Calories Can I Burn by Walking an Incline?
Walking on inclines can burn up to 500 calories daily, depending on your weight, walking speed, and degree of incline.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), a 70-kg individual can burn about ten more calories per mile for every five percent increase in incline .
How Long Should I Walk on an Incline to Reduce Weight?
If you want to reduce weight, you should be able to walk on an incline for an hour every day. This can help you burn 3,500 calories per week.
According to research from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, one pound of fat has about 3,500 calories. If you can burn some extra calories, you can burn more unwanted fat .
Can Walking Burn Fat?
Walking can help burn overall body fat, including belly fat, if you regularly stay active and are persistent. To burn more fat, walk while in a fasted state, increase your walking duration, and include other workouts.
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