These days having an exercise routine is as integral as taking a bath or having breakfast. It has the power to help get a hold of one’s physical health as well as generate enough energy to last through the day. However, not everyone prefers or needs to go to the gym and work with heavy dumbbells. There is an equally effective method that has been in practice for ages, long before gyms were a thing: going on walks/runs.

With the help of treadmills, anyone can go on runs and attain their fitness goals without leaving the comfort of their home. Moreover, treadmills have an incline feature that creates an uphill and downhill terrain to take things up a notch. This mimicry of varied outdoor patterns with a treadmill incline results in various advantages listed below.

incline on treadmill
Is Incline on Treadmill Necessary?

Advantages of incline walking in treadmill workout

Heart rate boost -Incline on Treadmill

It is hardly a secret that physical activities can raise the heart rate. This, in turn, causes improved cardiovascular exercises, calorie burning, and better flow of blood throughout the body. The heart rate is at its lowest when the human body resting. With the progression of workouts like walking or running outdoors, it gradually increases until it reaches the maximum range.

Now, when the flat ground is replaced with an inclined treadmill, it creates the experience of walking uphill. This inclined position makes the heart rate rise faster than usual even though the speed is kept at a minimum. For an average adult, running 5 minutes on a 15% incline can increase the heart rate to 180 bpm.

Improves posterior chain muscles -Incline on Treadmill

It is true that walking or running uphill can do wonders for the muscles in the legs. However, choosing a realistic unfriendly terrain is not the solution. In maximum cases, the only thing it does is cause risk aggravation. It increases the chances of injuries to the body’s joints.

Hence, experts often prescribe using an inclined treadmill instead. This helps to work the posterior chain muscles like the hamstrings and glutes with every step, not just the quadriceps.

It helps prevent injuries and significantly improves the chain muscles, which can, in turn, easily fend off sudden jerks, improving posture, and enhancing athletic performance.

incline on treadmill
Is Incline on Treadmill Necessary?

Activates lower leg muscles -Incline on Treadmill

Another benefit that treadmill incline training offers is leg muscle activation. Experts say walking in incline settings is better than outdoors because it helps strengthen the calves, glutes, hamstrings, and shins.

Once the flat surface is replaced with incline training, the muscle fibers are triggered and toned. Out of all others, the elevation activates and strengthens the peroneal muscles the most. This is often deemed the best way to heal weak ankles and legs. For those who are into muscle building, an inclined walk can aid in achieving fitness goals faster.

Elevates calorie burn to lose weight -Incline on Treadmill

These days most people prefer going on morning walks because of the cold weather. Nevertheless, the main motive of these walks or runs is to lose weight by burning more and more calories.

Now, what about those people who cannot afford the time to go on morning walks? For them, using a treadmill is a safe and satisfying way to achieve their fitness goal. In addition, when combined with a slight incline, this treadmill workout can cause much-needed exertion for fat burning.

Next, comes the question of how many are burned each day on a treadmill? The answer to this is slightly more complicated as the number of calories burned tends to differ from person to person. In addition, it depends on various factors like body weight, the intensity of the workout, use of handrails, and above all, the incline.

The reason for stressing the incline factor is quite simple. Research has shown that a person weighing approximately 70 kg when walking on a level surface for 1 hour at a pace of 5.6 kph will lose about 267 calories.

Now, when the person walks at the same speed on an incline, they will lose weight faster as burned calories will reach up to 422, which is almost done.

Reduced injury risk -Incline on Treadmill

According to experts, after the age of 30 to 35, the human body becomes more prone to injuries. This includes sore joints, knee aches, lower back pain, etc. Using a treadmill for exercise can help combat these issues without causing more stress and damage to the body’s joints.

A great benefit people receive from this exercise is it helps work the Achilles tendons and calves. This is a bonus for people suffering from plantar fasciitis and other foot problems. For those with aching back muscles, keeping the incline to a bare minimum is advisable to avoid additional stress. Once the pain in the lower body muscles subsides, the treadmill incline can be elevated.

Improve overall stamina -Incline on Treadmill

Apart from the benefits mentioned earlier, another advantage of incline walking is it improves the body’s overall stamina, including the mind, heart, and lungs.

The human brain is the organ that grants motivation and the ability to keep working harder. Continuous exercising on an incline rather than on level ground will help the brain and body get accustomed to the intense workout and more challenging situations.

Daily walking or running makes the lungs stronger, giving them the power of wind resistance. So it is suggested to athletes like runners and swimmers. Replacing the flat surface with a treadmill on a specific percent incline can help the lungs become more conditioned.

Lastly, the heart is another major organ affected by incline walking. With the treadmills on incline mode, the heart rate will start to spike until it reaches the highest level. This will indicate that the heart is working much harder than usual to pump blood and is therefore getting strong in the process.

These days most treadmills come with a display monitor to keep track of details like heart rate, blood pressure, etc., during the workout to help the user stay within medically approved limits. A treadmill with a greater percentage incline is even suggested to patients with high blood pressure to strengthen their heart and help it pump blood quickly.

Disadvantages of incline walking

It is undoubtedly true that incline walking comes with many advantages, from cardiovascular fitness to calorie burning and weight loss. Nonetheless, it also comes with a specific set of disadvantages.

The first thing that will be affected by the incline function is turned on are the legs. Even though it aids in muscle-building walking, initially, it will cause quite a lot of soreness. Here, the front and back leg muscles will be affected, including the personal, gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, and soleus.

Secondly, it might be the cause of shin splint. Again, these again. These may seem painful but can be treated with cold water, ice packs, stretching, and some rest.

Moreover, even though the training speed is the same as a regular walk, it can lead to shortness of breath. It will likely happen even at a slower pace, especially for beginners. Sometimes, there can be exercise, so the maximum heart rate should be monitored for safety.

As for those people suffering from chronic back pains, an incline walk can aggravate the situation. During such instances, it is best to consult a physical therapist to determine how high the gradient should be so as not to strain the hips and back further.

FAQs

What is a good incline setting on a treadmill?

A good incline setting on a treadmill is a relative concept as it will differ from person to person, especially for people with back pains. However, a 1% or 2% incline is always a good start.

Is walking on an incline good for losing weight?

The answer to this is yes, as an incline workout will elevate the intensity of the exercise. As a result, it will help burn more calories and increase the rate of weight loss while putting the same amount of input.

Is slight incline on treadmill better?

There is hardly a doubt the incline function on the treadmill can be beneficial. It can cause calorie burn, muscle building, and blood pressure. In addition to that, a workout on an incline is better than on a level plain as it strengthens different organs and fends off cardiovascular diseases.