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TOPIC: Treadmill calorie count

 
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April 1, 2012 2:27 PM
Hello, new here. What a great tool!!!!

I have a treadmill with a desk fitted over top of it so I can walk while I work. I typically walk between 3-4 hours a day and currently weight 173 LBS. My treadmill is trying to tell me I burn 150 calories an hour walking at 0.90 MPH on a 1 setting incline. This doesn't seem right (seems like it should be 100-120) but I can't find any calculator that takes into account weight, speed and incline. Does anyone know how accurate the treadmill figures tend to be? It is an older True 500 HRC so a pretty good treadmill, but this just seems to be more than rational. Want to make sure I track the exercise correctly.

Anyone have experience with this?
  20232069
April 1, 2012 2:51 PM
According to the ACSM energy prediction equation (and that's what your True is programmed with ) the 150/hr is in the ballpark (I came up with 142, but I was rounding the numbers).

Most of the time, if you do not hold on to the handrails, and the treadmill allows you to enter your weight, the calorie counts for walking should be pretty accurate--as accurate as anything else.

However, the ACSM equations are less accurate for speeds below 1.5 miles/hr.

So the answer is "yes" and "no". Yes, the True treadmill is programmed with the most widely accepted equation for predicting the energy cost of walking. But the workload at which you are walking is so low, the equation may not be as accurate. That's not a fault of the treadmill. And, unless you hook yourself up to a metabolic cart, there is no way to more accurately estimate your calories expended.
April 1, 2012 2:54 PM
Thank you, good information. Do you know if wearing the heart rate monitor would help on accuracy? I walk so slow so I can work and walk at the same time, not as a real "exercise" but a heck of a lot better than sitting.
  20232069
April 2, 2012 2:19 PM
I walked today for almost 4 hours, same slow pace with gentle incline (bad hip, walking at work with desk over top of treadmill) and computer said I used up 576 calories wearing my heart rate monitor as well. I gave myself 500 calories because I am guessing it is off slightly, even with the HRM. My heart rate never got over 85 though and I wonder if I need to boot up my metabolism somehow if that kicks up your heart rate. My resting HR is normally in the 50's so it doesn't really get up there unless I really push it.
  20232069
April 6, 2012 9:32 PM
Can you not walk faster? You're walking a very long time at a very slow speed and it seems pretty much a waste of time
April 6, 2012 9:52 PM
QUOTE:

I walked today for almost 4 hours, same slow pace with gentle incline (bad hip, walking at work with desk over top of treadmill) and computer said I used up 576 calories wearing my heart rate monitor as well. I gave myself 500 calories because I am guessing it is off slightly, even with the HRM. My heart rate never got over 85 though and I wonder if I need to boot up my metabolism somehow if that kicks up your heart rate. My resting HR is normally in the 50's so it doesn't really get up there unless I really push it.


One of the problems with extended low-level exercise like what you are doing is that the calories burned by your regular resting metabolic rate become much more significant. At your weight, you burn at least 80-85 calories and hour lying in bed. For someone burning 500, 600, 700 in an hour, that would not be that big a deal.

But in four hours, you need to subtract 340 or so calories from your total, so that leaves only 236 assuming your HRM is correct. Then you have to account for calories already included in your activity factor--your total daily calories already includes an allowance for casual activity.

So, at most, you are burning only 150-200 net extra calories in your 4 hour walk.

Now, if you were able to keep everything else constant and accounted for -- i.e. calorie intake, exercise, casual activity, etc -- every day of the year, that extra 150-200 could have a significant effect -- 10-20 pounds in a year. However, in real life, there is much more variation, so the actual effect is likely much smaller.

I'm not saying your walking is not worthwhile--any activity is better than nothing. However, I would be extremely cautious about including ANY of those calories in your eating plan--as I have just pointed out, if you "gave" yourself 500 calories, that was at least 300 too many.

The walking will also not provide any real fitness improvement nor increase muscle mass. So it is not a substitute for a regular exercise program. Now, you mention you have a bad hip and maybe you have other issues so that this is the best way to include activity in your routine. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it or that it is a waste of time. There are some benefits to doing what you are doing. You just have to know what those benefits are and keep it in perspective.
April 7, 2012 6:58 PM
Thanks. For the poster who asked why I couldn't walk faster the answer is two-fold. One is that I can't type very well past 1 MPH and two my hip feels like it goes out on me if I get up past that.

This is not really an exercise, it is a way of working where you don't sit down. It is better than a standing desk where you end up shifting weight from side to side as walking pretty much forces you to keep good posture (or at least it does me).

Thank you for the information - I was simply marking myself as sedentary for activity level, and then giving a small bump for exercise instead of calling my exercise level moderately active. I guess it would be equivalent to what a nurse does or someone who is on their feet half of the day running around doing things.

FTR, I have been eating properly for about 11 weeks and only started losing weight once I got off my butt and used the treadmill 3-5 hours a day. Since then (7 or 8 weeks) I have lost 9 pounds so it does seem to be helping. Just trying to figure out the best way to count it but I do not believe the treadmill is giving the right answer, and Azdak seems to have given good advice.

For doubters or folks stuck at a desk job, I highly recommend a treadmill desk. Now if I could just get my hip better then I could actually exercise (even the ellipitical hurts like the blazes).
  20232069
March 7, 2014 9:22 PM
I have a True HRC 500 and I workout for 45 minutes (including "warm-up" and "cool down" periods of 5 minutes each). I use the Heart Rate Monitor and set the machine to 120 bpm. I weigh 166. I set the maximum speed for 3 mph and the incline for a max of 10. I soon reach the max speed and then the machine maintains my heart rate by adjusting the incline. At the beginning of the workout, the incline hovers around 8.0 and 8.5. Towards the end its down to 6.5 or so. My calorie count averages about 310.

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