If you want results, yes. If not, then no.
This shouldn’t be the only thing you do with your treadmill...
In my article titled ‘Cardio’, I expounded on the many benefits of walking and said it was my preferred form of cardio. From an article by Tim Henriques (Director of the National Personal Training Institute of VA, I’ll just summarize the finer points of it.
Tim’s opinion and mine as well, is that walking on an inclined treadmill is the most effective and safest form of cardio if fat loss (without muscle loss) is the goal.
Tim’s Pros of walking:
- Walking does not over-stress the body, and in fact is restorative, you feel better after a walk, not worse.
- You can’t overtrain with walking. (Arnold Schwarzenegger once said that the body was built to walk 40 miles a day, so my guess is nobody is going to over-walk themselves)
- Walking is low intensity, thus it burns primarily fat for fuel, and walking briskly at an incline for 4-8 hours a week will burn a significant amount of fat.
- Walking burns almost no muscle, I won’t go into what’s going on with the glucose in your body when you do more intense cardio, just suffice it to say, it’s true.
- Helps the body recover from resistance training.
- Does not cause unwanted adaptation like more intense cardio does (it won’t make you lose lean mass or get weaker)
- Also, it’s great for stress relief, it’s functional, increases ability to perform physical tasks for extended periods of time, and it’s low impact on the joints (important for those who want to do this whole fitness thing long-term)
Tim’s Cons of walking:
- It doesn’t build muscle.
- Walking takes longer than jogging.
Here are Tim’s recommendations for a walking routine:
Start slow and low: In week 1, go 3mph at a 1% incline for 30 minutes, 3-4 times that week.
In week 2, go 3.1mph at a 1.5% incline for 33 minutes, 3-4 times that week.
In week 3, go 3.2mph at a 2% incline for 35 minutes, 3-4 times that week.
Just continue that trend of slowly increasing the incline by .5% each week, increasing the speed by .1mph per week and adding a few minutes each week until you are doing 45-60 minutes at a time at a 4.5-4.7% incline 4-8 times a week. Don’t go too much higher with the incline as you could run into the problem of shin splints.
A slow progression like this will get you into the best shape of your life. Add a sensible weight-lifting program to the mix and you will be the envy of everyone you know! Now get to it!