Fitness & Equipment Guides > Is Incline Walking on a Treadmill Good for Fat Loss?

Is Incline Walking on a Treadmill Good for Fat Loss?

22nd Mar 19

Cardiovascular exercise takes a huge range of different shapes and sizes. There’s so much variety in terms of what you can do; it can be hard to narrow down what is going to work best for your goals. Fat loss is a big consideration for most people in any fitness training, and this needs to be at the forefront of any choices you make. One hugely popular way to try to burn fat in cardio exercise is by incline walking on a treadmill.

It’s a great way to burn off a lot of calories safely and reliably with low impact and minimal risk. Most people can do it without much difficulty and with no real issues regarding their fitness level. It’s a big consideration for many of us. It does burn a lot of calories, and that’s always strived for, but is that enough for fat loss?

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When we break it down, the most obvious thing to look at when reviewing any exercise is what it is that you’re doing. Walking is the staple motion, with the incline being the variation to the standard. Walking is a great way to exercise at any fitness level and has obvious benefits. It helps blood flow, aerobic health, lung capacity, blood pressure, and just about everything cardio exercise has to offer! This includes a reasonably high-calorie burn if you do it in the right way, which is pivotal in losing body fat.


woman on a treadmill set to incline

Walking is an excellent example of LISS training. It’s one of the most effective ways to burn fat per calorie, and this is precisely what we’re looking for here. As you walk on an incline at a reasonable speed of 3-4 mph, you’ll be raising your heart rate to somewhere around 140 bpm, and that’s the ideal place for you to be for this kind of training to take a good effect! This happens because you are still more than able to breathe correctly throughout your exercise and keep the activity completely aerobic, which is something that doesn’t happen when you get out of breath. The oxygen is what allows the fat burn to be more effectively.


Fat loss is the same for many exercises, with how efficient it can be. The only downside of walking is that you need to put some real hard time into it. Walking is not the most dramatic of movements, and for a good calorie burn, even with the incline, you’re looking at a lot of time being taken up. This is usually summed up to 3-6 hours per week. That’s a lot of time walking, and that can’t be used to commute or anything else like regular walking due to needing the incline—just food for thought.


people on treadmills at the gym

The other main variable that will affect how much your fat loss is affected by exercise is speed. The speed of your walking is, of course, going to determine how much fat your burn over a given time. The incline will dramatically impact your time and speed, so it’s important to find a healthy balance where you can hit this golden 3-4mph speed. Any slower than this, and you probably need to be reducing the incline you’re walking on for the best results.


That’s all we need to think about when looking at incline walking and fat loss, really, other than one huge pitfall that so many people seem to fall into. If you are holding onto the handles of your treadmill rather than letting your arms sway, you are doing it wrong. You will not see the benefit of the incline in any way whatsoever. It’s an error many people aren’t aware of, but you need to know! Don’t hold the handles!

Ultimately, it’s an incredibly effective fat-burning exercise, both in terms of calories burned over the duration (you’ll get similar results from many other more intensive cardio exercises) and how much fat you are burning per calorie. Especially instead of burning more glycogen, as is the case with most cardio exercises. It’s a great way to lose weight and fat at the same time, making it a fundamental part of weight loss which is usually the reason, even for trying to get more toned or lean while still building muscle. It’s one of the most effective tools you can use. Give it a try!

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.