The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends getting 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderately intense exercise to maintain or increase your overall fitness level. That aerobic activity can include walking or running on a treadmill.
Whether you have one at home or use one in the gym, it's good to know what the numbers on your control panel translate to.
The console of a treadmill displays immediate feedback about your current workout, including distance, time, grade, calories burned and speed. If the console displays that your current speed is 10, this could mean 10 mph or 10 kph, depending on your treadmill make and model and how you set up your machine, says StartStanding.org
If your treadmill goes up to 10, that could mean 10 mph or 10 kph. Haul out your user's guide to make sure.
Miles and Kilometers Per Hour
A treadmill calculates speed with either one of two measurements: miles per hour or kilometers per hour. The miles per hour measurement is predominantly used in the U.S. Most other countries, including Canada, use kilometers per hour as the speed measurement.
Treadmills typically default to the standard measurement for the country in which it is sold. Some treadmills can display both measurements. Follow the directions in your user's manual to select the measurement you want to display.
Variety of Treadmill Speeds
The speed range of a treadmill varies by brand and model. Lower-end, less expensive treadmills can top out at 8 mph or 10 mph, which is 12.9 kph and 16.1 kph, respectively. Mid-range and higher-end treadmills typically have maximum speeds of 12 mph, or 19.3 kph. A handful of models max out at 15 mph or 24.1 kph. One mph equals 1.6 kph.
How to Read Your Speed
If your treadmill is set to English miles, a 10 on the speed screen represents 10 mph, which is 16.1 kph. If your treadmill is set to metric kilometers, a 10 in the speed screen represents 10 kph, which is 6.2 mph. Treadmills usually allow you to adjust the speed in 0.1 increments. If the treadmill displays three digits for the speed, it is displaying the speed down to 1/10 of a mph or a kph.
More Features of Your Treadmill
Speed is only one intensity setting on a treadmill. Most treadmills also offer an incline ramp that increases the difficulty of your workout. Depending on the model, treadmills typically have an incline range of 0 to 10, or 10 or 15 percent. The higher you incline the ramp, the more difficult it will be for you to run at any given speed. Check not only the speed setting, but also the incline setting, to gauge the intensity of your workout.
Nonfolding treadmills are the ones to consider because they accommodate higher speeds and steeper inclines than treadmills that can fold up. They also have a more robust deck and longer running surface.