What is a Good Treadmill Speed?

Treadmills are a great piece of exercise equipment for people of all ages and skill levels. They offer the perfect introduction to a more active lifestyle and can be adjusted to fit almost any workout routine. Because treadmills are so adaptable, however, it can sometimes be hard to determine which settings are best for you. The question of “What is a good treadmill speed?” can become overwhelming and can cause many people to opt for a workout that’s either far above or below their actual skill set. This brief guide explores some of the most important elements to consider when beginning a treadmill workout so you can properly answer the question “what is a good treadmill speed?” as it pertains to your individual abilities and goals.


Safety should be your top priority when entering into any new workout or experimenting with any new piece of equipment. As such, safety should also be one of your top considerations when choosing a treadmill speed. Choose a speed where you feel you have complete control over both yourself and the machine. Choosing too high of a speed can cause you to lose your footing easier and may cause you fall off the back of the treadmill. You may also have trouble adjusting the settings of the treadmill if you set the speed too high initially. Even if setting the speed slightly outside of your skillset can cause trouble. Running at a pace that’s beyond your reach can cause you to compromise your form or run in an abnormal manner. This can increase the likelihood of common running injuries, such as knee pain, shin splints, and pain in the Achilles tendon. Be sure to constantly monitor your form and comfort level throughout the entirety of your treadmill exercise and adjust the speed accordingly.


When choosing a treadmill speed it’s important to consider past exercise experience and current fitness level. Treadmill exercise can be quite daunting for first time users and can cause many people to set their speed too high in an attempt to keep up with others around them. While it can be fun to challenge yourself and test your limits, pushing yourself too hard, too soon can significantly increase your risk of injury. If you’re slightly more inexperienced with treadmill exercises or are just beginning your fitness journey, it’s better to start slow. Set your treadmill speed at a lower pace initially and periodically increase the speed as you grow more comfortable with the equipment and your abilities. This will allow your body more time to become familiar with the equipment and will enable your muscles to slowly build over time. Even if you are an experienced runner it’s always a good idea to begin your treadmill exercise slowly. Setting a slow pace and warming up with a brisk walk or light jog will help prepare your body for the more strenuous exercises it will soon undergo.


Age can have a significant impact on fitness levels and abilities. Therefore, treadmill speed should be adjusted to accommodate the different fitness needs that accompany each life stage. Children and teens, for instance, tend to be slightly more active than adults. Additionally, it’s suggested that children and teens partake in more physical activity each day than adults do. As such, individuals in this life stage may be able to set their speed at a slightly faster pace and still receive a similar workout as an adult at a slightly lower speed. As we age our bodies tend to undergo certain changes that can increase our risk of injury. Knee, back, and joint pain is common among many adults. A slightly lower pace may be more advantageous to adults, therefore, as it will allow them to better monitor their pain levels and heart rate. Seniors can also benefit from treadmill exercise but should generally set their speed at a significantly slower pace. As we age we often lose our ability to balance and partaking in a brisk jog, in which both feet leave the ground at the same time, can increase the risk of an older individual falling from the treadmill and injuring themselves.


Many modern treadmills are able to not only adjust the speed of the belt, but also the incline of the machine as a whole. If you intend to use a treadmill at an incline, even a very slight incline, it will be in your best interest to slow your speed a bit. Running on an incline at a very high speed will increase the risk of an accident and can cause significant injury. You will also exert yourself far quicker when walking or running on an incline than you would on level terrain. If you will be exercising on an inclined treadmill be sure to always wear the treadmill safety clip. This will bring the machine to an immediate stop in the event that you do lose your footing or find that the pace is above your skill level.

Find what feels good

As we’ve stated, there are many factors to take into consideration when choosing a treadmill speed. No two workouts will be exactly alike and, as such, treadmill pace can vary greatly from person to person and even from workout to workout. The most important thing to remember when choosing a treadmill pace, therefore, is to find what feels right for your body and your needs. Listen to the signals your body is giving you and be sure to adjust when things don’t feel right. Closely monitoring your heart rate and breathing rate will give you a good indication of your current skill set and you can then set your treadmill pace accordingly. Many treadmills are equipped with heart monitors in the handles to make it even easier to track your heart rate and set your pace. You will also want to take into consideration your rate of perceived exertion. The rate of perceived exertion scale (RPE) allows you to closely track you activity level through quantitative measurements. Similar to pain scales in many doctors offices, the RPE scale encourages individuals to assign a numerical rating to the amount of exertion they feel during a particular exercise. The scale ranges from 6 to 20, with 6 indicating no exertion at all and 20 indicating maximum exertion. While this scale is mainly used in clinical studies, it can also be a helpful tactic for measuring your own comfort levels during the course of your workout.


At American Home Fitness we offer a wide range of commercial home gym equipment to help put you on the right track toward your fitness goals.

What is a Good Treadmill Speed infographic