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9/28/12 9:32 P

Thanks Deb. I appreciate your feedback. Wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. :)

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
9/28/12 4:00 P

Well done! You'll almost certainly get more benefit from 3 incline with no hands, than from 7.5 incline while holding on.

9/28/12 12:20 P

Just as an update: I did 2 miles in 42 minutes this morning with no hands. I decreased the incline from 7.5 on the machine to 3, and that helped a lot with balance. I will see if I can gradually increase the incline. After weeks of having it set at 7.5, I almost felt like I was walking downhill.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
9/19/12 3:23 P

Not that I've seen. Start a new topic for that, that's an entirely different issue and you'll get much more feedback. :)

KSJULS5 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (512)
Posts: 14
9/19/12 3:20 P

Have we discussed treadmill Vs. Elliptical on here? Any feedback? emoticon

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
9/19/12 3:15 P

Never hold on, especially at an incline. If you feel you "have to for safety's sake" then you're doing too high an incline. Back it down and work up slowly.

Holding on with the incline is worse than on the flat, because it pretty much negates the incline as well. You end up hanging/dangling off your arms instead of power walking up a slope.

KTIERNAN09 SparkPoints: (5,869)
Fitness Minutes: (4,949)
Posts: 49
9/19/12 2:26 P

I love using inclines when I'm using a treadmill! It ups the burn by a lot so make sure you are entering it in your tracker as, for example, "treadmill, 3mph, 7% incline."

As far as the holding on to the handrails issue, you will burn more calories by letting go, but if I'm at a high enough incline I know I hold on. at a 15% incline, it's just too risky in my estimation not to. So basically I say do what works for you. You don't want to use the rails as a crutch of course, but don't risk your safety either.

Best of luck!

9/19/12 12:06 P

I will slow down and let go of the handrails. I make a playlist of songs to go with each speed, so I have a list called 2.6, 2.8, 3.0 and so on. Maybe it's time to go back to 2.4. :)

To me, walking on the treadmill is way more iffy than walking along a fixed surface. You know those moving sidewalks in the airports with the signs that say "Hold On To Handrail"? Some of us are clumsy enough to actually need to do that.

However, I know I can do a much slower speed with no hands, so I'll try that. Thanks all for your input. I didn't know holding onto the handrails was so strongly discouraged.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
9/19/12 4:47 A

LOL. MARION320 if you reply to individuals, it's a good idea to include their name or quote them. As you can see, nobody can really tell which of your 4-5 recent replies were meant for whom with the way this forum does posting.

MARION320 Posts: 165
9/18/12 8:44 P

that's great. stay motivated.

MARION320 Posts: 165
9/18/12 8:43 P

that's tue.

MARION320 Posts: 165
9/18/12 8:43 P

that's true.

MARION320 Posts: 165
9/18/12 8:42 P

yes, that is true. Totally great workout.

MARION320 Posts: 165
9/18/12 8:41 P

okay. that's great.

HAPINANA SparkPoints: (15,768)
Fitness Minutes: (3,848)
Posts: 634
9/18/12 8:39 P

I agree with motivated.... totally different walking on treadmill than the street. You are walking on a moving surface...hello???

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
9/18/12 8:16 P


Wanting to hold on is not completely irrational.

From experience, we expect things to change as we walk along. Yet with the treadmill, our vision is telling us nothing is changing. The brain gets a bit confused by the conflicting signals, and wants to make us more secure in the face of this uncertainty by holding on. (It's the same reason why people get seasick on boats - the balance mechanism in the ears is saying the boat is pitching and rolling, but our eyes see no change in our surroundings.)

But the advice is the same, slow down until you can walk without holding on. Keep at it, and the brain will soon sort out the signals.


UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
9/18/12 3:04 P

Then you should ditch the treadmill and get out on the road.

Either you have an irrational fear of this machine (hey, you can walk upright on the road right? So why not on that), or you have a machine which is inherently unstable and feels very unsafe to use. If it's unsafe, I wouldn't use it.

Holding on removes all of the core work that your body does while walking/running because your arms are providing the stability now, and also removes all of the extra burn and effort your arms normally provide by swinging. It really is something that should be stopped at any cost - even if it means sticking to the road instead of the machine.

NAYLOR1985 Posts: 59
9/18/12 2:33 P

about the holding matter if im going .5 to warm up or 3 with a incline i have to hold on i just dont feel safe!

9/18/12 8:37 A

Thanks all for your comments. I goofed in my original post -- the incline is at 7.5, not 3. 3.0 was the pace. So it was 45 minutes and 2.02 miles at 3 mph.

I guess I do need to slow down and do it without hands. I don't lean on the handles -- for one thing, I'm not tall enough -- but I do use them for balance. I will try slowing down and doing it without hands. I try to keep a light touch on the handles, but I know sometimes I space out and sort of pull myself along.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
9/18/12 3:08 A

CALLMECARRIE yes you really do need to work on being able to use the treadmill without holding on at all. If you can't do it without holding on, you're going too fast. Slow it down, and work on that balance.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
9/18/12 1:07 A

2.02 miles in 45 mins = 2.7 mph.

I just used the calculator at
to look at the treadmill at different inclines at 201 lbs.

At 0 incline, walking 3 mph (the closest I could get) burned 219 calories. At 5% incline, 3mph would burn 365 caloires. So the increase in calorie burn from incline is substantial. Scaling back a bit from 3 mph to 2.7 mph, your numbers don't seem unreasonable. Of course, if we assume the 3 setting on your treadmill represents an incline of 3% (compared with the 5% incline int the example), 345 might be a slight overestimate, but not out of the ballpark.

3% incline means you would gain 3 vertical yards for every 100 yards horizontal.


9/17/12 10:59 P

If you are using your arms to support any of your weight, then the calorie count will be even less accurate. Is the treadmill not on solid ground and leveled properly? Are you trying to go too fast? You should work on being able to use it without using your arms for balance. Go slowly and work at it. Those balance muscles are important too. Do you do any core strengthening exercises?

9/17/12 4:07 P

I've also heard it said that the treadmill is "easier" because you don't have to account for variations in the road surface, your foot always comes down on the same plane. For me, it takes more energy to keep my balance on a treadmill than it does walking normally, because IT'S MOVING. In fact, I'm sure I would burn way more calories if I could do my whole treadmill workout without hanging on, but I can't do that.

Which makes me wonder ..... even if hanging on to the hand rails slightly decreases the number of calories I'm burning, isn't the flexing in the arms a form of exercise in itself, albeit not aerobic?

Probably overthinking this....

9/17/12 3:36 P

Unident, I don't know really, only repeating what I've been told. I do think the tread helps some though maybe not 2% incline worth. In any case, comparing apples to apples... on the same treadmill, more incline should equal more work and more calories assuming you keep the same speed.

I agree that I wish equipment would report fairly accurate calories burned rather than inflated numbers. I'd almost prefer lower numbers so I'd eat less rather than more.

At least using the same equipment repeatedly you can get a rough idea of progress. Comparing different workouts on the same machine should still give a good impression of intensity, if not complete accuracy on the numbers. Over time you'd get an idea of whether you're eating in the right range for your activity level.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
9/17/12 2:46 P

GAVRIELKAY that store owner was incorrect.

Most people do advise using a 1% incline to more closely match road walking/running. Incline adds resistance VERY quickly and while 2% doesn't seem like much different, it will definitely be very different to road walking.

Personally, I tested the theory using my HRM some time ago and found that, for me at least, 0% incline on the treadmill most closely matched road walking. The 1% thing is a total myth, IMHO.

People think because the belt moves your foot backwards for you this 'helps' you somehow. No it doesn't. If you didn't put exactly the same effort into keeping your body moving forward that you use when road walking, you'd fly off the back of the treadmill. No 'help' is received.

9/17/12 1:52 P

Thank you Coach Jen. I certainly feel it when I increase the incline, so it seems like it should be increasing my calorie burn.

9/17/12 1:46 P

Thanks Gavrielkay. That makes sense. The treadmill doesn't know my height or weight; the cardio tracker is on Spark and Spark does know that information.

I have noticed, though, that when I am extremely careful in calculating my calories burned and calories consumed on Spark, I actually lose more weight than expected. Like maybe my metabolism is a little more revved up than estimated on Spark. And I'm not complaining about that. So maybe the truth is somewhere in between.

I'm annoyed that my treadmill might be inflating my calorie count to make me feel better. I do not need flattery from my treadmill.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,563
9/17/12 1:35 P

I'd agree that a 3 might mean 3%, but it's best to check the manual to know for sure. Going the same speeds, walking on an incline will burn more calories than walking on a flat surface. So that could be a big reason for the discrepancy.

Coach Jen

9/17/12 1:17 P

I was told by the owner of a running specialty store that you have to use a 2% incline on a treadmill to cancel out the "help" of the motor. The "3" on your treadmill likely means a 3% incline, though your owner's manual should be able to clarify that.

As far as calories burned - which method used the most data? If your treadmill allows you to enter things like height, weight, age etc then it probably comes fairly close to an accurate calorie number. A lot of machines are calibrated to overestimate though - because it makes the machines more popular if people think they burn more. Does the cardio tracker for the running program take into account height and weight? That 205 calories might be for a 150 pound man or something if it doesn't use your actual stats.

I use a mid-range Polar heart rate monitor for calorie estimates during my cardio workouts. I figure it might still be off a bit, but at least I'll be consistent between various forms of exercise.

9/17/12 12:32 P

I walked 45 minutes on my treadmill this morning, and went 2.02 miles. The incline was set at 3, and when I was done, the calorie tracker on the treadmill said I had burned 345 calories. Maybe, maybe not, I know those estimators aren't real reliable.

But when I plugged in my mileage and time on the 5K Your Way Training Program tracker, my cardio tracker reported that I had burned 205 calories on that walk.

I don't get too worried about estimating calories burned, but there's a big difference between 345 and 205. Does the incline on the treadmill account for the difference? What exactly does a 3 mean on the treadmill? Obviously walking uphill would burn more calories than walking on a flat surface.

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