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How Fast Should I Walk On a Treadmill?

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It can be tough to figure out how fast you should walk on a treadmill to get the most benefit. Different speeds are better for different people. You might walk faster than your friend, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting more out of your workout. But is that fast enough? How fast should I walk on a treadmill?

The best way to find out what speed is best for you is to experiment. Try different speeds and see how your body responds. You’ll soon find the perfect pace for you. Once you find the right speed, you’ll be able to get the most out of your treadmill workouts. You’ll burn more calories and improve your fitness level more quickly.

We’ll touch on a few key things to consider when looking to gauge your treadmill walking speed. First, it’s important to take into consideration your goals. Are you walking for weight loss, overall health, or as part of a larger program? Secondly, the length of your legs comes into play. And thirdly, it’s a bit of trial and error.

How Fast Should I Walk on A Treadmill?

Finding the perfect speed to walk on the treadmill can vary from person to person. On average, 3.2 miles per hour is an ideal walking pace. It’s fast enough to get your heart rate up but slow enough to allow for a good cardio session without getting exhausted.

This, of course, depends on the person walking as well. A smaller person may find this pace to be too fast while a larger person may find it too slow. It’s all about finding what works best for you.

How Fast Should I Walk on a Treadmill For Weight Loss?

To find your perfect pace, start by walking at a comfortable speed. After a few minutes, increase your speed slightly and see how you feel. If you can keep up this pace without getting too winded, then you’ve found your ideal walking speed. If you find yourself getting too out of breath, then back off the pace a bit.

If you’re walking for weight loss, then stick to a relatively comfortable pace that is just a bit challenging. If you walk too fast it will turn into more of an aerobic workout vs a weight loss effort. When your heart rate rises, your total output will likely decrease.

The target heart rate range for weight loss should be 60%-75% or so. To estimate your target heart rate, take 220 – your age and then multiply that by 75%. For example, a 40-year-old man would have a maximum heart rate of 180 (220-40). That multiplied by 75% would be (180 * .75) would be around 135 beats per minute at a top end.

In this scenario, a range of 120-135 would be a good one to shoot for while walking. If your pace puts you below that, you may need to speed it up a bit to get the full benefits of the effort you are putting in.

How Does Overall Size or Length of Legs Affect Treadmill Walking Speed?

Smaller people with shorter legs may have a difficult time keeping up at 3 miles per hour. Our recommendation is to start slower, around 2.5 miles per hour, and increase as comfortable to make sure you aren’t pushing too hard from the start.

If you’re smaller, say 5’8″ or less, start at around 2.5 miles per hour and see how it feels. If you have no issue keeping that pace, dial it up slightly to 3 miles per hour and judge it. Keep going until you are being slightly challenged, but not so winded you can’t hold a conversation.

Once you’ve found that pace, continue there for several sessions until you’ve increased your fitness level and then slowly move up. Make a goal of increasing .1 miles per hour each week until you’ve reached a speed that is almost pushing you to a jog.

The same logic applies here – just start a little slower and shoot for your target heart rate to identify what speed is likely optimal for your fitness level and goals.

What Is a Good Speed to Walk on A Treadmill to Lose Weight?

The ideal treadmill walking speed for weight loss is right around 3mph. This is a speed that challenges most people without pushing them into the aerobic heart rate zone. If 3mph isn’t fast enough, slowly increase speed until you find your perfect speed.

If you’re using heart rate as a measurement, there are a few easy ways to get your heart rate. Most treadmills have handheld sensors that will tell you what your heart rate is. While these are good estimates, they are not the most accurate method to get feedback from the old ticker.

The second method is more old-fashioned but very reliable. Check your pulse, and look at a digital clock. Count your pulse beats for 15 seconds and then multiply that number by 4 to get your beats per minute. Alternatively, you can count beats for 12 seconds and multiply by 5. This should give you roughly the same number

Thirdly, you can use a higher-tech option like a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. They are relatively cheap chest straps that give you constant feedback directly to your smartphone. The best part of these devices is they save your data and you can track it over time. This is one of the most valuable gadgets I use.

Is It Better to Walk Fast or Run on A Treadmill?

Whether it’s better to walk fast or run on a treadmill will be dictated by your goal, personal preference, and time you have available to work out. Walking and running can both provide great health benefits, but running is more efficient from a time perspective.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at some data below for a fictional 200 lb person and what their workouts would look like walking fast vs running on a treadmill over time. The big asterisks in this data is nutrition. Weight loss info is never complete without looking at the inputs (calories). But, all else the same, this is the relative impact of walking vs running.

chart of walking speeds and calories burned

As you can see, running the same amount of time as walking at the same bodyweight results in almost 3x the calorie burn and subsequent weight loss. It’s also much more difficult to run for 30 minutes than to walk for 30 minutes. In fact, if you aren’t trained or are just starting, 30 minutes of running may be too much for you.

If the goal is to lose as much weight as possible as fast as possible, it’s better to try to run as much as possible. A mixture of running and walking is a great way to accomplish this while fitting it to your current fitness level. If you are going to commit to a long-term running program, it’s critical to find the right pair of treadmill running shoes to help protect yourself from potential issues.


How fast should I walk on a treadmill? Honestly, there is no one perfect speed to walk on a treadmill – it varies from person to person. You should experiment with different speeds to find the one that is most comfortable and effective for you. Start slow and increase as needed until you find your ideal pace.

Keep in mind that if you’re looking to lose weight, running may be more efficient than walking if you are limited for time.

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.