When the goal is losing weight, using a treadmill is an effective way to burn extra calories. However, cardiovascular exercise alone is not the most efficient way to shed pounds. Though running on a treadmill for two hours a day will help you lose weight, it's more important to balance cardio and strength-building exercises alongside a healthy diet.
The Weight-Loss Recipe
One pound equals 3,500 calories. A basic weight-loss plan includes cutting 500 calories from each day, seven days per week. This adds up to 3,500 calories lost, or one pound down. Running on a treadmill for two hours at a pace of 6 miles per hour -- a 10-minute mile -- burns approximately 1,080 calories for a 130-pound woman. While this is well beyond your goal, it's not a realistic nor healthy aspiration. Instead, balance your daily 500 with diet and exercise. For example, by simply cutting 230 calories from your diet and including 30 minutes on the treadmill at the same pace, you will effectively burn 500 calories.
Cardiovascular exercise includes any movement that increases your heart rate. It aids in weight loss by burning calories and builds endurance so you are able to remain active for longer periods of time. Activities include not only running but also biking, dancing, swimming, hiking, skating and most sports. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days per week.
Strength training in the form of lifting weights is extremely important in the fight against fat. High-intensity weightlifting increases metabolism by 20 percent and, since muscle burns approximately three times more calories than fat, you will burn extra calories even hours after your workout. Strength training is especially effective against stubborn problem areas. Though you can't technically spot reduce in fat loss, those who lift weights lose more deep belly fat than those who just do cardio. By strength training three days per week, you will achieve noticeable results.
Build a Better Diet
It is entirely possible to ruin a hard workout with poor dieting habits. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. It's also important to control your portion sizes. Not only will this help sculpt a slimmer body, but it will also reduce your risk for heart disease and other health conditions.