How to Begin to Run on a Treadmill

Woman running on treadmill

Running is an ideal vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise for healthy adults, since it gets your heart pumping, which can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also help control your weight, strengthen your body and improve your overall mental health. Before beginning a running program, there are some things to consider, such as how often you should run, how long to run, how fast to go and where you're going to do your running. While running outside can be enjoyable, it's not always practical, especially during bad weather. That's why some people choose to do their running on a treadmill at home or at the gym.

Learn how to use the treadmill you'll be running on. It's important that you know how to control the speed and incline, as well as how to use the emergency shut-off, warns the American College of Sports Medicine.

Step on the treadmill and stand with your body straight. Start off with a five-minute walk at around 2 to 2.5 mph to warm up, so that your joints, muscles and bones can loosen up and your heart rate starts to gently rise.

Increase your treadmill to a comfortable running speed, around 4.5 mph to start out, and run for 20 to 30 minutes. You should be getting a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How you get those minutes in is up to you, whether you run for 10 minutes at a time, three times per day or just run 30 minutes all at once.

Cool your body down after your run to prevent dizziness and allow your body to adjust. Transition from running to a brisk walk, at around 3.5 mph for two to three minutes, then move on to a slow walk at around 2 mph for another two to three minutes.

Run on your treadmill three days per week, with resting days between your running days, since you're just starting out, suggests After you become accustomed to running, you can increase it to five days per week if you choose to.

Prevent boredom on the treadmill by listening to music while you run or watching television.


Speak with your health care provider before stepping on the treadmill if you have a disability or other health concerns, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.