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October 09, 2020 10 min read

Cardio exercises like walking, running, and jogging have tremendous health benefits. They get your heart rate up and can help significantly as part of a weight loss program.

Regular cardio regimens also help improve blood flow and keep muscle groups that are vital for balance and motion in good working order. Many people prefer to get their cardio outside, running or walking in parks and on nature trails.

However, for many people, this is not possible all or part of the time due to environmental restrictions, time constraints, or bad weather. 

Enter the treadmill. For over a century since its invention, the treadmill has been used for indoor cardio workouts. Whether running a high-intensity program to prepare for a marathon or getting a brisk walking workout for your general wellness, using a treadmill offers the user tons of benefits.

In addition to boosting your cardiovascular function, using a treadmill also works important muscles in the lower body such as the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. 

Walking on the treadmill might not be a high-intensity cardio exercise like running, but it’s the smart choice for people who need a low impact exercise. Walking on the treadmill could help people who suffer from knee problems. To try and make walking a more challenging cardio workout, modern treadmills have a built-in incline feature that mimics the grade of a hill. Setting an incline mode on a treadmill is generally very simple and it will amp up the walking workout significantly. 

Incline treadmill walking has been used as an effective recovery method for people who have recently suffered a stroke. Many of the benefits these patients saw after regular incline walking would be beneficial for everybody. For example, their average walking speed increased by half. Walking faster is better cardio and a more taxing calorie burn. 

Treadmills have also been constructed to make sure the user can work their upper body as well as their leg muscles. Most models have handrails for stability, but you can also use them to get a good workout for the upper body. In addition to the incline function, some treadmills also come with a mechanism that can measure your heart rate. This helps the user make sure they aren’t stressing their body too hard, which is especially important for people who are new to regular exercise. Avoiding escalating your cardio to your body’s maximum heart rate lowers the risk of injury. 

Many people only have one question on their minds: Is walking on an incline good for weight loss?

The short answer is that yes, incline walking is a better calorie burn than walking on an unelevated treadmill track. It doesn’t provide the calorie burn that running or other more rigorous cardio does, but if you pair it with our Veg Shred Stack and a planned calorie deficit, incline walking can certainly help reach a weight loss goal. 

Incline treadmill walking has many more health benefits beyond its fat-burning ability. If you’re interested in a low-impact cardio exercise that can help you warm-up or cool-down at either end of a tougher workout or a walking workout that builds important leg muscles and promotes a healthy lifestyle, read through this article to find out the 5 most prominent benefits of incline treadmill walking. 

People working out on treadmills.

Health Benefits of Treadmill Walking (& How to Get Them)

Before you even set the incline function, walking on a treadmill has many health benefits. Incline walking essentially offers many of these same benefits more intensely because it is more high-intensity than walking on a flat surface. We’ll move on to discuss the specific benefits of adding an incline to your walking routine, but first, let’s talk about how regular walking workouts can boost your overall wellness.

Mood Boost

Regular exercise of any kind, including a walking cardio workout, improves overall mood and brain function. This is most likely because it promotes good blood flow between the heart and the rest of the body, so the brain has more of what it needs to do its job. 

A walking workout will also encourage your body to produce more endorphins, which can reduce your stress level. Many studies have found that regular walking workouts also help limit depression, ADHD, improper sleep, memory loss, and anxiety. 

How to get it: Set a walking routine and stick to it. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to get the mood boost regular exercise will give you. If you’re busy or the treadmill isn’t conveniently located, try to start walking twice or three times a week and increase as you’re able to. If you really want to improve your brain function, use Focused-AF in tandem with your walking workouts.

Strengthens Your Joints

No matter what age you are, building strength in your joints is always a good idea. It will help you with daily movement and compound exercises like deadlifts if you’re into that sort of thing. Running and jogging on the treadmill does put your joints under some stress, but a walking workout on a treadmill puts no more pressure on your joints than an elliptical machine. 

How to get it: To start, make sure you have a treadmill that’s been designed to cushion footfalls. You should also take care to watch your body’s alignment throughout your treadmill walking exercise. Wearing shoes that have good arch support and plenty of cushion can also help protect your knees and other joints during a treadmill workout. If you’re experiencing too much strain, try shortening your stride as you walk.

Better Breathing

If high-intensity cardio workouts are proving to be too much, try regular treadmill workouts regularly to slowly build strength in your lungs. In addition to muscle building, walking helps your body regulate its breathing better. This is the same whether you have a lung condition or you’re perfectly healthy. Even though you can’t increase the size of your lungs, you can improve the way they use their supply of oxygen. 

Everyone gets out of breath after physical activity, although the amount of physical activity required to do so may change. Your lungs just use more of their breathing reserve if they’re weaker, causing you to feel a shortness of breath in addition to being out of breath. 

How to get it: Moderate walking for at least half an hour 5 days a week is enough to improve your breathing. This will in turn boost your overall wellness. You can also use controlled breathing, in which you measure your breathing according to the steps you take. Breathe in for 3 steps and then out for 3 steps. It’s a simple exercise that will help you pace your breath. Make sure you’re breathing through the nose and taking that fresh air all the way down into your belly.

How Is Incline Walking Different from Normal Treadmill Walking?

The incline feature on the treadmill puts your body to work much more than just walking on a flat surface. It mimics the grade of a natural uphill climb with a perfectly even surface, free of divots, holes, or plateaus. It consumes more calories, which makes it better for weight loss than treadmill walking on a flat surface. Plus, adjusting the incline feature is so easy on most treadmills that you can do so quickly, alternating between a flat surface and an incline or from a given percent incline to another. 

Changing from one percent incline to another is one method used in something called incline training. This tactic can be used to push your body to its limit with a challenging cardio workout. Anything above a 15 percent incline is going to give you the most muscle activation, meaning it will be much better at building muscle. If you can go from a 15 percent incline to a higher one, it will mimic the health and muscle-building benefits of an uphill hike. 

Is Walking On an Incline Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, walking on an incline is fantastic for weight loss as long as it forms part of a larger program that includes macro counting and a calorie deficit. If you want to lose weight, include the right supplement and try some more high-intensity exercises a few times a week to burn fat. 

As a general rule, the more an exercise leads to muscle activation, the more energy it will consume, and therefore the more it will burn fat. Treadmill walking activates several muscle groups in both the lower body and the upper body. If you include some additional weight in the form of handheld dumbbells, you can work your arm and shoulder muscles. 

Remember that building muscle is counterproductive if you want to lose weight. Reach your weight loss goal before you start to build muscle or else the number on the scale isn’t going to change. Plus, when your body burns too much energy during a cardio workout, it can start consuming muscle mass. 

5 Benefits of Incline Treadmill Walking

Weight loss isn’t the only reason you should be adding incline treadmill walking to your routine a few days per week. Take a look at some of these other factors to see how incline walking can positively affect your overall wellness:

1. Heart Strength

Like most cardio, walking briskly on a treadmill incline will get your heart pumping. As we mentioned earlier, even walking on a flat surface will help your breathing and that will in turn help your blood flow if you practice regular incline walking. Your heart working harder during a treadmill workout is just what it needs to build up its strength. Unlike more high-intensity cardio workouts, incline treadmill walking can be slow and steady, allowing your heart to get stronger without shocking it.

If you want to improve your blood flow and find that running is too taxing on your joints or leads to soreness, consider increasing the percent incline for a low-impact exercise that will still help your circulation. 

2. Muscle Recovery

Whether you’re doing high-intensity exercises for your upper body like bench presses or it’s leg day at the gym, incline treadmill walking is one of the best ways to promote muscle recovery. The key to building muscle is to repair the damage done in the high-intensity workout. After this, your muscles will have grown to accommodate the previous damage. 

The worst thing you can do after a workout is go straight to the car or sit down somewhere. Your muscles need to be slowly reintroduced to stillness the same way they need to be primed before a high-intensity workout. Walking on a flat surface will keep your lower body activated, but incline walking will keep much more of your body moving. You can also use the handrails or free weights to keep your upper body in motion during a cool down. 

3. Boost Metabolism

You know incline walking helps you lose weight. Part of the reason why is because it will get your metabolism kicking, causing your body to burn more energy. More high-intensity workouts like HIIT will keep your metabolism burning for hours after the workout is finished. To a lesser extent, the same is true of incline walking. 

The body uses more energy when it’s regularly exerting lots of energy. That’s why some people struggle with weight loss when they only get physically active one or two times a week. Their metabolism is still dormant because they haven’t caused their body to burn significant energy in a long time. If you want to burn fat, metabolism is key, and incline walking is a great way to boost your body’s energy use.

4. Prevent Exhaustion

Muscle exhaustion is one thing if you’re in a strength training program and want to reach the limit to promote hypertrophy. For most people, though, total body exhaustion will be a discouraging factor in the middle of a cardio workout. Unless you’re used to the feeling of being out of breath after a long-distance run, you’re likely to avoid cardio workouts completely if you overdo it. 

Incline walking is a great way to get the benefits of cardio without wearing yourself out. Of course, if you want to set a higher percent incline and push yourself, you can still do that while incline treadmill walking. But it’s not necessary to get any of the other benefits. 

Sometimes exercising when you don’t exactly feel Rested-AF can give you an energy boost. Mostly, though, you don’t want to completely drain all your body’s energy reserves. This can cause you to overcompensate after the workout. Some even binge eat and risk destroying their weight loss progress to account for energy spent at the gym. With incline walking, you can get a good cardio workout without worrying that you’ll feel destroyed afterward.

5. Increase Your Fitness Level

The boosted metabolism and improved heart rate will all help your overall fitness level increase as well. Although incline walking doesn’t allow you to target muscle groups in particular and you can’t target where fat loss will occur, it does lead to muscle activation throughout the body. This will make it easier to do other exercises and physical activities. For this reason, many people use incline treadmill walking as a warm-up before more high-intensity workouts. 

Many powerlifters and strength training enthusiasts cut cardio workouts out of their routine completely, worried that the body will destroy muscle mass to get energy for the exercise. That’s a misstep, though. Some light cardio like incline walking is a great way to get your heart rate up without burning so much energy that your muscle mass will take a hit. 

A girl walking on a treadmill.

Safety Issues of Incline Walking

Incline treadmill walking is one of the best low-impact exercises out there. It’s still important to start slow if you have existing joint pain or conditions in your knees or lower back. If you experience increased back pain at a certain level during your incline training, lower the incline percentage until you can continue pain-free. The same goes for knee pain or any other kind. 

The good news is that walking at a lower incline will help build muscle in areas where you have pain. If you have back pain, incline walking regularly at a level you’re comfortable with can reduce that pain. Of course, if this is your goal you should take care to speak with a medical professional familiar with your condition first. 

The Benefits of the Incline Treadmill Live On

Incline treadmill walking is a great way to shed body fat when paired with the right weight loss supplement and diet plan. It’s an aerobic exercise that will also get your heart rate up and improve blood flow throughout the body. 

Besides lowering body weight and promoting better wellness overall, incline walking can also be used for building muscle. This is obvious for the leg muscles, but if you walk with additional weight in your hands you can also give your upper body a great workout. 

If you want a walking workout and don’t have much outdoor space, incline treadmill walking is the perfect blend of cardio that works perfectly as a warm-up or cool-down and won’t exhaust you. Add it to your fitness routine today for some positive health benefits and better muscle recovery.