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Let’s face it; you haven’t got all the time in the world to get your cardio workout in. Being a freelance writer and certified personal trainer (CPT), I haven’t got time for long, boring, steady-state cardio workouts either. 

But a 30-minute treadmill workout? Now that is something most of us can do.

The treadmill is a great choice when it comes to shorter, machine-based cardiovascular training. Adjusting the speed, incline, and duration while listening to your favorite Spotify playlist means you’ll sweat and burn a ton of calories during your HIIT workout. You’ll reap the cardiovascular and fat-burning benefits while having enough time and energy for the rest of your day.

Here, we’ll go into what you can achieve in a 30-minute treadmill workout, and give sample walking and running treadmill workouts. Ready to sweat and burn fat? Then let’s go.

jogging on NordicTrack EXP 14i treadmill

What Can You Accomplish in a 30-Minute Treadmill Workout?

Before going into the physical benefits of what you will accomplish during a 30-minute treadmill workout, here are three significant mental and health benefits of performing regular cardio.

Boosts Energy and Your Mood

Studies show that the mental benefits almost outweigh the calorie-burning benefits of cardio. Cardiovascular activities like walking and running on a treadmill have reduced anxiety and depression. The theory behind this is thought to be caused by an exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain.

Reduction in Heart Disease

Walking and running on a treadmill, along with most other forms of exercise, raise your good cholesterol (HDL). This improves your overall blood circulation and reduces the chances of heart disease. This meta-analysis study proves this. Researchers found that people who walked for 30 minutes, five days a week reduced their chances of getting heart disease by 19%.

Boosts Your Immunity 

Research shows that exercises like walking or running on a treadmill increase your blood and lymph flow circulation, increasing the circulation of your immune cells, making them roam your body at a higher rate and higher numbers. Then exercise recruits these specialized immune cells—like natural killer cells—to find antigens and kill them. Will exercise stop you from getting sick? No. But it will reduce your chances of picking up things like the common cold.

An image of a woman running on a treadmill

Burn Calories

When it comes to calories burned during a 30-minute treadmill workout, given that when time, distance, and intensity are the same, a heavier person will burn more calories than a lighter person. And the research at Harvard Health bears this out. When walking on a treadmill at 3.5 MPH for 30 minutes, a 125-pound person will burn 107 calories, a 155-pound person 133 calories, and a 185-pound person 159 calories.

When you take this up to a jog, a 125-pound person will burn 180 calories, a 155-pound person 216 calories, and a 185-pound person will burn 252 calories. This will all play a part in your weight-loss efforts.

The Best 30-Minute Treadmill Workouts

You may have heard of the 12-3-30 treadmill workout, which blew up on social media. Maybe you’re even sick of it! If you want to try something new, here are two 30-minute interval training treadmill workouts, one walking and the other running or jogging.

woman walking on horizon 7.0 treadmill

30-Minute Walking Workout

The goal of this workout is to get an effective warm-up and cool-down while pushing the intensity in the middle. By increasing the incline, you’ll deliver a blow to all your lower-body muscles, including your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. 

Depending on your fitness level, you’ll be moving between 2.5 to 3.5 MPH and using an incline to add intensity. The speed and incline for this interval workout are suggestions; you can modify them as you see fit.

30 minute treadmill workout walking
TimeSpeedInclineEffort
0-3 minutes2.5 MPH1%Warm-up
3-6 minutes3.0 MPH6%Moderate
6-9 minutes3.0 MPH2%Recovery
9-12 minutes3.0-3.5 MPH8%Moderate
12-15 minutes2.5 MPH3%Recovery
15-18 minutes3.0-3.5 MPH10%Intense
18-21 minutes2.5 MPH3%Recovery
21-24 minutes3.0-3.5 MPH12%Intense
24-27 minutes3.5 MPH6%Moderate
27-30 minutes2.0-3.0 MPH1%Recovery

30-Minute Jogging or Running Treadmill Workout

If you’re looking for more of a high-intensity treadmill workout for 30 minutes, give this one a try. Your heart rate will increase in just the first few minutes, so be sure to take advantage of your recovery intervals.

You’ll use a mix of speed and incline with the running workout. If the intensity intervals are too much during your treadmill run, decrease the speed or incline

30 minute treadmill workout running
TimeSpeedInclinePace
0-3 minutes3.5-5.0 MPH1%Warm-up
3-6 minutes5.0-7.0 MPH6%Moderate
6-9 minutes4.5 MPH2%Recovery
9-12 minutes5.5-7.5 MPH8%Intense
12-15 minutes4.5 MPH3%Recovery
15-18 minutes5.5-7.5 MPH10%Intense
18-21 minutes4.0 MPH3%Recovery
21-24 minutes6.0-7.512%Intense
24-27 minutes5.0-6.0 MPH6%Moderate
27-30 minutes3.5 MPH1%Recovery

30 Minute Treadmill Workout FAQs

Are 30 minutes on the treadmill good?

Yes, a 30-minute cardio session is good. Even as little as 10 minutes of treadmill walking or running has health benefits. Mixing up your intensity with speed and incline will help prevent boredom.

How many calories do you burn on a treadmill in 30 minutes?

According to a report from Harvard Health, when jogging around 6 MPH on a treadmill,  a 125-pound person will burn 180 calories, a 155-pound person 216 calories, and a 185-pound person will burn 252 calories.

Is walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day good?

Yes, up to a certain extent. It’s great for your health and wellness, but doing something daily can become dull and may result in overuse injuries. Better to mix things up and include some strength training, too. 

What is the 30-minute treadmill workout?

The 30-minute treadmill workout that went viral on TikTok involves setting a treadmill to a 12 percent incline at 3 miles per hour and walking on it for 30 minutes. 

Further reading

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