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How Accurate are Treadmill Calorie Counters?

Going to gyms may not be as productive as you think. In 2018, there was a study that showed that treadmills and elliptical overestimate calories burned by as much as 130 calories per 30 minutes of exercise. Knowing that you’ve burned so many calories, after all, will make you feel very accomplished and fit. However, if you’re really looking to shed weight then its accuracy is really needed.

Therefore, it is really important to know that these calorie calculators are inaccurate. Though there are cardio exercise machines which calorie calculators prove more accurate than others, there are no machines that you can 100% count on.

You might tend to give yourself more cheat days when you know you’re burning many calories. Going to the gym regularly might make you more complacent. There’s an entire study about that. And you don’t want to consume more calories than you’re burning!

Are treadmill calorie counters accurate?

Counting calories is a messy business. To know the exact figure of calories your food contains you’d have to take in a dizzying array of factors such as the chemistry of the food; how much frying or boiling the food would change its structure; and the chemicals of our digestive system.

In the same way, it is also extremely difficult to know exactly how many calories we’re burning while using a treadmill, or any exercise machine for that matter. You would have to count the cells and how much energy they are using. It’s too much effort. So, we settle for counters on exercise machines.

You Can’t Count on Treadmill Calories Counters

A study on exercise machines such as elliptical, treadmills, stationary bikes and treadmills and the accuracy of these machines’ calories counters.  The calorie counters on elliptical were off by at least 42%. The other machines measured smaller but significant margins of error.

The formulas that treadmills and other equipment use varies but most machines follow the standard formula on The Compendium of Physical Activities.

Different machines use different standard formulas in counting the calories while working out. There are several factors that must be taken into equation when computing for your calories.

Sometimes in gyms, before you use a cardio machine, you need to first input some personal information such as your age and body composition.

Here are the personal factors that are relevant in calorie burning:

  • Body Size: Bigger body frames can burn more calories.
  • Age: There are machines that require your age and there are machines that don’t. It depends on the kind of equation that the machine uses to compute for your calories count. However, it’s also important to note that as you grow older, your capability to burn a certain number of calories changes. You can always make up for it by changing the intensity and frequency of your work out though.
  • Body Composition: By keeping an eye on the changes of your body composition, you can monitor the changes in your muscle mass as you lose weight. In this way, you can plan your diet more effectively.
  • Fitness Level: Your body is more liable to burning calories when you are a beginner to a workout program. As you do it for longer time, you will find that you are losing less calories from doing the same routine. It’s important to explicitly state your fitness level to level the intensity and frequency of the routines that you need.

So, if you’re really serious about losing weight, experts do not recommend relying on the calorie counters of treadmills, or other gym equipment.

Treadmill incline calorie calculator?

Walking or running on an inclined treadmill is equivalent to walking up a hill with the same intense inclination.

Incline walking is proved to be burning about the same energy as outdoor running. However, because of the lack of air resistance, running in a treadmill with the same velocity still burns a little less calorie than outdoor running.

Treadmill Incline Calorie Counter

There is a formula that you can use to get the estimated number of calories that you are burning while walking. This calculator takes distance, the grade or incline of the walking surface, your initial weight and the sum total of your walking time.

Instead of relying on the treadmill’s sketchy calorie counters, you can opt to use this calculator instead.

This calculator uses equations that are derived from experimental data on a study published by R Margaria, P Cerretelli, P Aghemo, and G Sassi.

You can use this calculator to measure the calories you are burning in your walk.

Treadmills Still Work

Above, we’ve discussed how unreliable treadmill’s’ calories counter can be.

That being said, treadmills still remain to be one of the most effective cardio gym equipment. Though its calorie counters are not exactly as accurate as we want it to be, using the machine will still help us to lose weight.

It’s one of the most popular indoor exercise equipment. And for good reasons, too.

Here are some benefits of using treadmills:

  • It can help you to lose weight. Running is a good calorie-burner.
  • Treadmills are convenient. You can do it at home.
  • Prevent injury.
  • Add variety to your workout. You can work out depending on your personal preferences. Go fast. Go slow.
  • It’s a cardio exercise; therefore, it’s good for your heart.

The Bottom Line

Treadmills are fun! And it is really a good cardio equipment to shed weight. Keep it in your workout routine. You should also spice up your routine by trying the treadmill incline more often.

The treadmill calories counters are not accurate. It tends to overestimate the number of calories you are actually burning to make you feel more accomplished. This fact shouldn’t affect people who are just using treadmills as part of their casual early morning routines.

But if you are bent into getting your body goal, and is following a strict work out and diet, you should not rely on treadmill calories counters. There are other calculators that yield more accurate results.

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