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How Many Calories Are Burned in 20 Minutes on the Treadmill?

author image Brooke Peyman
Brooke Peyman has been writing since 2004. Her articles have appeared in "The State Press." Peyman holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition communication from Arizona State University and has also earned her Yoga Alliance Certification.
How Many Calories Are Burned in 20 Minutes on the Treadmill?
A woman is running on a treadmill. Photo Credit ShotShare/iStock/Getty Images

A 20-minute workout on the treadmill can feel like an eternity, so you sure hope you're doing some serious calorie burning. How many calories you'll actually burn depends on whether your walk, jog or run, as well as your size. When you set the treadmill at an incline, you'll raise your calorie burn, too.

Go at High Speed

Running for 20 minutes on a treadmill involves all the major muscles of the body, builds cardiovascular endurance and challenges your lungs. If you set the speed to a level that forces you to run, you'll definitely burn a good number of calories.

Running for 20 minutes at 6 mph burns 246 calories, while running at 7.5 mph burns 310 calories, if you weigh 155 pounds. If you weigh more, you'll burn slightly more and if you weigh less, the number will reduce.

Walk Briskly

Treadmill walking burns fewer calories than running. But, if running is not appropriate for your fitness level, you can get the biggest burn out of your walk if you go as briskly as you possibly can.

Avoid holding onto the machine, too, as this reduces muscle activation, and subsequent calorie burn. Instead, swing your arms briskly as you walk.

Walking on a treadmill at 3.5 mph burns 99 calories in 20 minutes for the 155-pound person. Increase your pace to 4 mph and burn 111 calories.

Raise the Incline

Setting the treadmill at an incline burns more calories than walking on level ground. The incline also helps build strength in the lower body because of the greater resistance that results from walking uphill.

Most machines rise from 2 to 10 or 15 percent grades. How much more calories you burn depends on the grade of incline you choose.

Interval Training

Interval training is an efficient method of burning calories. According to the American Council of Exercise, interval training burns more calories than traditional cardio because it uses both the aerobic and the anaerobic energy systems.

Interval training involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by a recovery period. Intervals may incorporate 30- to 120-minute segments of running alternated with equal periods of brisk walking. The duration and intensity of the interval can be changed according to your fitness level.

For a 20-minute interval treadmill workout, warm-up for 5 minutes and then do five 1-minute all-out runs with 1-minute walks between them. Cool down for 5 minutes.

Exercise Recommendations

A 20-minute session on the treadmill per day only meets health organization recommendations for exercise if you jog or run. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity, such as running, helps improve your health. Calorie-burn isn't the only marker of a good workout.

When you walk for just 20 minutes per day, you only accumulate 140 minutes per week. Up your intensity, or your time spent, to accrue all the benefits of exercise.

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