What Incline on Treadmill to Simulate Outdoor Running

As a fitness enthusiast, I love running, and I prefer outdoor running over treadmill running any day. However, there are times when outdoor running is not an option. During those times, I use a treadmill to simulate outdoor running. But what incline should I set on the treadmill to mimic outdoor running?

What is the Best Incline for Treadmill Running?

The best incline for treadmill running depends on the type of terrain you want to simulate. If you want to simulate a flat surface, then set the incline to 0%. However, if you want to simulate an outdoor running experience that is closer to running outside, then set the incline to 1-2%.

Running on a flat surface, whether indoors or outdoors, is not the same as running on a hill or an uneven surface. Even a slight incline can make a significant difference in your workout, and it can help you burn more calories and build more muscles.

What are the Benefits of Running on an Incline?

Running on an incline offers several benefits that you might not get from running on a flat surface. Here are some of the benefits:

Burn More Calories

Running on an incline requires more effort than running on a flat surface. The extra effort can help you burn more calories and lose weight faster. According to a study, running on a 1% incline can burn up to 5% more calories than running on a flat surface.

Build More Muscles

Running on an incline engages more muscles than running on a flat surface. It can help you build more muscles in your legs, glutes, and core. The incline also helps you work your calves, hamstrings, and quads more than running on a flat surface.

Improve Endurance and Stamina

Running on an incline can help you improve your endurance and stamina. It can make your heart and lungs work harder, which can improve your cardiovascular health. The extra effort required to run on an incline can also help you increase your lung capacity and oxygen intake.


Running on a treadmill can be a great way to stay in shape, especially when you cannot run outside. Setting the incline on the treadmill to 1-2% can help you simulate outdoor running and provide you with several benefits that you might not get from running on a flat surface. So, next time you hit the treadmill, try setting the incline to 1-2% and see the difference it makes in your workout.

Here is a useful article from Runner’s World that provides more tips on how to use the treadmill effectively.


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