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20-Minute Walking Workout For the Treadmill

Too Cold to Walk Outside? Do This 20-Minute Calorie-Burning Treadmill Workout Instead

Cropped shot of a group of people exercising on treadmills in a gym


If you think you need to sign up for pricey boutique fitness classes or do sprints on the treadmill to get in shape and lose weight, we have some good news. You can burn calories, slim down, and improve your endurance simply from walking. Don't believe us? Just check out the stories of Kim, who lost 100 pounds simply from walking, or Natalie, who lost 75 pounds by going for walks in the evening.

If you're a true beginner, lacing up your walking shoes is the first step (pun intended). The second step is hopping on a treadmill and getting to work. Try this treadmill walking workout created by Alexis Craig, an NASM-certified personal trainer and a coach at the live fitness app Gixo (which includes a variety of walking classes). This 20-minute cardio session is based off how intense the workout feels to you on the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, from one to 10 — 10 being your absolute pick-me-up-off-the-floor max. Although there are ranges for speed and incline provided below, it's best to pay attention to how each interval feels for your body.

As you continue to walk and improve your strength and endurance, you can increase both your speed and your incline so it still feels like a challenge. "This walking workout involves skill building the walking gait and adds intensity to one variable at a time before the peak of the workout," Alexis said. "It also includes a warmup and cooldown so that you can make the most of your walking workout with a lower risk of injury."

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To get in a good walking workout, Alexis said it's also important to focus on form. She said to land on the balls of your feet with each step, pushing off the back foot. "This seems very weird to a lot of people because they are used to walking with a heel strike," she told POPSUGAR. "Heel striking leads to hyperextension of the knee and can cause a chain reaction to all kinds of injuries, so really try to lift up your front knee and land on the ball of your foot as much as you can, using your arms and breathing in cadence with your steps."

Looking for a new walking workout? Save this one and take it with you to the gym.

Time Speed (MPH) Incline Exertion Level (Out of 10) Notes
0:00-2:00 0 0 1-2 Warmup. Before stepping on the treadmill, warm up by foam rolling your quads, glutes, and calves.
2:00-6:00 2.0-4.0 0 5 Walk.
6:00-9:00 2.0-5.0 4.0-10.0+ 6-7 Ramp it up!
9:00-10:00 2.0-4.0 0 4-5 Recover.
10:00-13:00 4.0-5.0 0 7 Pick up the pace.
13:00-14:00 2.0-4.0 0 4-5 Recover.
14:00-17:00 4.0-5.0 4.0-10.0 7-9 Hit the peak. This is the climax of the workout.
17:00-19:00 2.0-4.0 0 3-5 Victory lap.
19:00-20:00 0 0 1-2 Step off the treadmill and stretch with a runner's lunge or runner's step twist.


Image Source: Getty / Nicola Katie
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