How to Burn More Calories on a Treadmill

The majority of treadmill users want to lose weight, burn calories, and use it as a cardio fitness device. However, the accuracy of the system of estimating the number of calories burnt is questionable. You need to consider several factors if you want to track calories burnt effectively.

Some of these factors include body weight, age, speed, intensity, just to mention a few. You can use a treadmill calorie burn calculator to discover the approximated calories burnt.

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Factors Affecting Calories Burnt On A Treadmill

Factors Affecting Calories Burnt On A Treadmill

The first step in approximating calories burnt on a treadmill is the understanding of all the factors that determine your calorie output. Even though the dashboard will show a figure of calories burnt, you need to understand that this is just an estimate. Both controllable and uncontrollable factors affect the number of calories burned on a treadmill walking or while resting. Some of them are discussed below.


If your motion is smoother, you may be burning fewer calories at a certain distance. For your body to get rid of excess fat effectively, some speeds are more effective, and this varies from one person to another. Running at a high speed can be more effective than walking fast or making use of a racewalking method.

Exercise Intensity

When your lungs and heart are working harder, you will burn more calories. You can measure this by monitoring your heart rate or pulse.

Holding Onto The Handrails

If you hold on to the handrails, there is every possibility that you will burn fewer calories. It is also important for you to note that the treadmill calorie burn chart does not factor in holding handrails. Hence, you may not be getting a clearer picture of the number of calories used up when running or walking on a treadmill if you hold on to the rails.


Running or walking up the hill will eliminate more fat than going on a level surface down the hill. Depending on the incline, it is possible to burn an additional 3 to 5 calories when walking or running up the hill.

Motorized Treadmills

When running or walking on a smooth surface and moving belt, you tend to burn fewer calories per mile in contrast with non-treadmill running or walking. You should have a minimum incline of 1% on a treadmill to boost performance.


When you cover a similar distance within a short period, you will certainly get rid of more calories because you will be exercising at a high intensity.

Stride Length

A shorter stride burns more fat because you will be hitting the ground more times per mile.

Body Weight

The more you weigh, the more fat you will burn per mile. This is because your muscles utilize calories for the movement of your body mass for the period of the workout.


Aging affects the rate of shedding fats. As you grow older, your rate of metabolism reduces, and this leads to a reduction in the rate of burning calories during exercises.


Researchers have been able to discover that men carry more muscle than fat, hence, they tend to burn more calories when exercising.

Treadmill Calorie Burn Display

Treadmill Calorie Burn Display

The majority of treadmills come with a calorie display. If you want to boost its accuracy, you should enter your weight as well as those of your shoes and clothing. If you can’t enter weight, there is every possibility that the figure will not be accurate.

If you can enter weight, the formula for calories burned on treadmill will rely on the distance covered, incline, speed, and weight entered. Your stride length, as well as intensity, are not factored into the formula.

Since calorie calculators don’t work the same, it is important to utilize many tools to get a more precise estimate of calories burnt during workouts. Even though a treadmill display gives a general approximate of calories burnt, you can use a calorie calculator to get a better result. This is more important if your treadmill does not allow you to enter weight.

Heart Rate Monitor or Fitness Tracker

The use of a heart rate monitor with a chest strap linked to a treadmill will help in considering intensity when estimating calorie burnt. If this is blend with speed and weight, you should be able to get the most satisfactory result. Some treadmills work perfectly with a wireless heart rate monitor.

What you will get may or may not be more precise than a heart rate monitor that makes use of heart rate, weight, and age to estimate calories burnt. However, you should get a better result than just using distance, speed, and weight.

Take note that there are many ways of measuring heart rate, and one method is more precise than the other. Heart rate monitors that come with a chest strap are usually more precise. Also, wrist monitors can be more precise, depending on how you wear them. Other ways include finger clips and grips on exercise equipment but they may not be very effective.

Playing with the treadmill intensity and speed can help you to confirm the precision of the calorie estimator or heart rate monitor. The first step you need to take is to work out with your usual incline and speed. You should alter a variable, like an incline. After jacking up the incline and the calorie burnt estimate or heart rate does not increase, it means the accuracy of your monitor is faulty.

Even though fitness bands help with the provision of alerts for notifications, you should not bank on their calculated calorie expenditures. No matter the tool you use to calculate your burnt calories, remember that all of them are only giving you an estimate.

Relevant Article: Is it Better to Run on a Treadmill or Outside?

How You Can Burn More Calories on a Treadmill

Even though some factors affect calories burnt on a treadmill, there are some things you can do to boost performance. You can engage in interval training through speed or incline increase with a short recovery period.

By adding to your workout time, you will be able to eliminate more calories from your body. For example, calories burned on treadmill for 30 minutes will be more than calories burnt for 10 minutes.

Don’t forget the “10% Rule”, which states that you should add to your running or walking distance by not more than 10% every week. This will prevent excessive stretching of your muscles for the effective building of endurance as time rolls by.

Bottom Line

There is no sacred formula to calculate calories burned on treadmill. You need to put so many things into consideration so that you will be able to get the most satisfactory outcome.

  • Updated March 18, 2023
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