Treadmill walking to lose weight: Tips to avoid common mistakes

Megan Smith
 min read

There are some things to avoid if you’re interested in treadmill walking to lose weight.

treadmill walking to lose weight tips to avoid common mistakesTreadmill exercises are an excellent method to get a cardio workout. Still, to maximize your workout, there are some things to keep in mind.

The suggestions below will show you the way to a smoother and faster pace.

These tips will also enable you to burn more calories and will ensure that you get the full benefits of moderate cardio exercise.

Overstriding during treadmill walking to lose weight

When you overstride, your front heel strikes the ground too far ahead.

And even if you think that you’re walking at a faster pace, it’s more likely that you’ll hit the front of the treadmill.

And that is something to avoid since you can injure yourself. A good, fast stride is simply the opposite.

Your front heel strikes near to your body while your back foot stays on the ground longer to promote a better push-off.

This push-off in the back will give your walk more speed and power. Your muscles will work more efficiently and thus burn more calories.

Initially, you might need to lessen your stride and simply take shorter steps. Focus on your back foot and use it to push off with each step.

Concentrate on this for a few minutes during each treadmill session until it becomes automatic. You’ll find yourself walking faster and with less effort.

Looking down instead of ahead

An effective walking posture is best obtained by looking straight ahead.

If you’re watching your favorite series while exercising, make sure you can see your screen without having to look up or down.

An incorrect posture can result in lower back pain, neck discomfort, and shoulder pain.

It stops you from breathing properly and enhances the bad sitting posture that many individuals develop from staring at a screen for hours.

Give your shoulders a backward roll to inspect that you aren’t hunching them forward throughout your workout. A check every few minutes is enough.

Using the incorrect shoes

Are your feet simply an appendage? Are they helping or just hitting the ground?

The proper way to walk is to strike with the heel in front while the rest of the forward foot lifts off the ground. 

Then, you roll through the step from heel to toe. 

When the toe is on the ground, you are midway into the next step, and the forward foot is now the rear foot.

The toe will provide the necessary push while you take the next step.

You can only have a solid cycle of a heel strike, a roll through, and a push off with the toe if you wear flexible shoes.

If you are using stiff walking shoes, you may not be able to roll from heel to toe.

Instead, a stiff shoe forces your foot to slap down without flexibility, giving you the appearance of a bad-tempered, flat-footed boss!

To fix it, take several minutes during a walking session to consider what your feet are doing.

Are you striking with the heel pushing through the action? Is your rear foot providing you a proper push-off?

There are a few things you can concentrate on to make this happen. First, pretend that your forward foot is showing its sole to someone facing you.

Focus on keeping the rear foot on the ground for longer and giving that determined push-off to reveal the sole of your shoe to somebody behind you.

If you can’t do tthe above with your current footwear, it’s time to buy better walking/running shoes which give more flexibility.

Holding onto handrails during treadmill walking to lose weight

You might want the assurance of keeping the handrails for stability, but that is not a natural way of walking.

If you hold onto the handrails, you can’t use an optimum walking posture or move naturally with a good stride and arm motion.

Train yourself to release the handrails, even if you have to run or stroll for a few sessions.

You will get a much better workout at a slower pace than you would at a much faster speed and holding on.

Of course, if you have some form of impairment or a balance issue, you must continue to use the handrail.

If this is the case, consult a fitness instructor or physiotherapist to attain a good posture.

It’s essential to learn how to let go of the handrail. If you avoid that, you will burn more calories and enhance your balance, to name just a few advantages.

Not using your arms during treadmill walking to lose weight

What should you do with your arms if you aren’t holding onto the handrails? 

Well, your arms are the key to a great walking exercise!

With the correct arm motion, you can actually go faster and burn more calories.

It also serves to resolve a few of the shoulder and neck problems you may be developing from being in front of a screen for long periods.

Did you know that your legs only move as fast as your arms do?

To accelerate your legs, initially accelerate your arm motion. And your legs will pick up the pace!

Postponing or overlooking upkeep

Both at the health club and at home, be sure to clean down the treadmill to keep it clean for the next session.

Sweat and moisture can cause corrosion so use a towel or paper tissue to remove sweat and moisture.

Focus on any sounds which may be early indications that the treadmill needs to be looked at.

Vacuum regularly under your treadmill to eliminate dust and lint that can jam the mechanism and inside of the treadmill.

Other home treadmill maintenance pointers consist of checking the strolling belt and deck monthly and oiling it at least once a year.

Leaning forward or backward

The proper walking posture is upright, without leaning forward or backward.

To make sure you’re doing this correctly, take a moment before stepping onto the treadmill to check your posture:

  • Keep the abdominals engaged while keeping a neutral spine.
  • Now, pretend you have a rope connected to the top of your head.
  • Imagine it being pulled upwards as if your upper body is raised up from the hips.
  • Do a backward shoulder roll, so you see whether you’re hunching up.
  • When you have a straight posture, step onto the treadmill, and start walking for fat loss.

Remind yourself to keep this stance during your workout. Every time you change speed or slope, check your posture once again!

Not following treadmill security rules

A common mistake is getting on a treadmill while the belt is moving at full speed.

To counteract this, follow these steps when using a treadmill:

  • Stand with one foot on each side of the treadmill before switching it on.
  • Find the emergency situation stop switch.
  • Clip the security stop cord onto your body so it will stop the treadmill in case of a stumble.
  • Start the treadmill at a leisurely speed and carefully get onto the moving belt. Then start to increase the speed gradually.

We know that this seems to be very basic, but many treadmill users are injured when the belt starts moving at high speed unexpectedly.

Not paying attention to nutrition

Running and not losing weight is a common problem. Bad eating habits could be the cause…

Make sure to read our nutrition tips for maximum weight loss on a treadmill!

Not knowing your treadmill

If you wish to purchase a high quality treadmill, the following overview of the best treadmills for heavy persons can save you a lot of time and research.

The first thing to know about any treadmill you’re using or going to use, is how to turn it on and off.

If this is your personal treadmill, take a couple of minutes to check out the manual so you can discover its features. Only then you can make the most of it.

Make sure you understand the functions that will help you to burn calories, such as:

Heart rate display or pulse screen

Numerous treadmills have an integrated pulse monitor which will show you your heart rate.

If you don’t connect it, the data will be inaccurate and show you some surprising results.

A chest strap heart rate display is more accurate, and many treadmills make use of this feature.

Check if your treadmill has heart rate-controlled workouts.

Set work-outs

Varying your treadmill workout is a fantastic way to obtain better physical fitness.

Experiment with the programs supplied and discover which ones to use to spice up your treadmill walking workouts.

Speed modification

Find out how to set the speed and how to increase or decrease it during your exercise.

You should start at a manageable rate to warm up for 3 to 5 minutes, and after that, increase to your preferred workout speed.

Finish off with a cool down between 3 to 5 minutes at a slower pace.


Some treadmills allow you to connect to an app that will save your exercise history and earn badges.

Some treadmills are compatible with other exercise apps.


Most treadmills have a slope function. Increasing the incline will increase your heart rate, optimizing your cardio exercise.

Examine the guidelines for your treadmill to discover how to change the incline and you’ll immediately reap the benefits of treadmill slope workouts.

Many treadmills have pre-programmed hill workouts, which will help you burn more calories.

It is a known fact that you burn more calories per mile when walking uphill.

A 1% increase increases the number of calories burned by more than 10% on average.

Calories burned

The calories count depends on your weight, so you will be frequently reminded to supply that information.

While it is true that people who weigh less burn fewer calories, be aware that treadmill calories are often at odds with other tools, such as fitness bands.

Individual exercise history

Some treadmills store your information so you can compare workouts and see how you’re doing.

Not pushing yourself

If you stick to the same exercises, you are probably not enhancing your fitness as much as possible.

Your body adapts to the exercises you are doing. You need to change your workouts regularly to avoid a plateau.

To obtain the best results, your exercises need to vary by strength, duration, frequency, and/or the type of training.

Training types

Alternate your treadmill workouts with a gym bike, rowing device or a stair climber.

Add weight training, circuit training, or anything similar to get your body moving differently.


Once you have become familiar with using a treadmill, you can do it daily.

Walking at a vigorous speed for 40 to 70 minutes most days of the week leads to increased health benefits.

If you do strenuous walking exercises on the treadmill and sometimes have a day off, a leisurely stroll on those days could still be a very helpful treadmill exercise for weight loss.


You may need to increase the time you spend walking on the treadmill.

If you have had regular 30-minute workouts, it’s time to bump it up to as much as 45 minutes, at least once a week.

After some weeks, then push it up to as much as 60 minutes per treadmill walking session.


Add strength by increasing the speed or the slope.

Going too quickly: Treadmill walking to lose weight

Go only as fast as you can go while still maintaining an excellent walking posture.

If you find yourself overstriding, leaning forward, or hunching your shoulders, then reduce the speed until you are back to the correct posture. 

If you believe you aren’t getting an optimal exercise workout, but you find yourself uncomfortable walking at a higher speed, then it’s time to start running.

Running will push up your heart rate and provide a change.

Example of a running period treadmill exercise for newbies

  • Warm-up at an easy walking speed for 6 to 8 minutes
  • Increase your walking speed to one where you can maintain a correct posture
  • Now, begin to jog and increase the speed gradually
  • Jog for 5 to 7 minutes
  • Go back to your fast walking speed for 6 to 8 minutes
  • Jog for 3 to 5 minutes
  • Repeat up until completion of your workout, and finish with 5 to 7 minutes at an easy walking speed to cool down.

Getting bored easily during treadmill walking to lose weight

Some people find it boring to use a treadmill, so try to stay inspired.

Varying your treadmill workout is one solution. Some treadmills offer virtual trails with an iFit system or in combination with other apps.

Watching something or listening to music, a podcast or an audiobook will help beat the monotony.

Having a treadmill workout pal can also keep you motivated to continue walking to lose weight.

Conclusion: Setting objectives is crucial for weight loss 

Now you know the fundamentals of smart treadmill walking to lose weight, and it’s time to put them into action.

Thanks to its convenience, the treadmill is one of the most popular methods to exercise instead of outside activity during winter, which depends on numerous factors (think hot or bad weather and safety).

Keep in mind that when using a treadmill, you will need to insert the data regularly to enjoy all the benefits of this fitness equipment.

Taking the advice given here, you’ll remain safe and make the most out of your walking and running exercises.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More