What Speed Should I Put the Treadmill at for Jogging?

Treadmill jogging can help you reach a number of goals including strengthening your heart and lowering your weight. Jogging is generally defined as moving at a pace of less than 6 mph. Anything above that is considered running. But the speed at which you choose to jog depends on several variables, including your abilities and goals.

Man jogging on a treadmill (Image: Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Getty Images)

Burning Calories

If you are jogging for the purpose of losing fat, then obviously the faster you jog, the more calories you will burn. According to the American Council on Exercise, a 160-pound person will burn 97 calories in 10 minutes at a pace of 5 mph. That same person will burn an extra 24 calories in that time by increasing the pace to 6 mph.

Maintaining Target Heart Rate

If you're jogging to exercise your heart, you can aim to work at your target heart rate. While you can use the treadmill dashboard to help you figure the right speed for this, you can also find your target speed by using the simple "Talk Test." This test has long been an easy marker for prescribing exercise based on an individual's ability. This test is easily self-administered to help you figure out how hard you are working. According to the premise of the test, as long as you are able to have a light conversation while you exercise, you are exercising at near your target heart rate. If you find yourself having difficulty talking while exercising, you are working too hard. Reduce your intensity until you can comfortably carry on a conversation.

Learning to Run

If you're new to jogging or using the treadmill, focus more on the length of your workout rather than the pace. Aim to start with a 20-minute jog, choosing a pace that allows you to stay on the treadmill for the entire workout time. You may need to start at a very low pace or include walking intervals to complete your workout. As your fitness and cardiovascular system improve, try to keep up a pace for your entire workout and gradually increase your pace and your workout length.

Considerations

Speak to your doctor before beginning a new running regimen if you are new to running or have pre-existing chronic conditions. Start and end your jog with a five- to 10-minute warm up and cool down such as a brisk walk. The warm up will gradually increase your heart rate and blood circulation and the cool down will gradually return your heart rate to normal. Do not hold the treadmill handles while running. Start walking on the treadmill at a slow pace and gradually increase the speed instead of jumping on the belt while it is already at a fast speed.

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