How to Read a Treadmill Display? – Treadmill Buttons Explanation

This article explains all the important buttons on your treadmill. If you are thinking of starting your workout, make sure you familiarize yourself with these important buttons.

How to Use Treadmill Buttons?

If you haven’t used a treadmill before, you might find yourself confused with the many buttons on the deck in front of you. Here’s a list of the common buttons on a treadmill and their purpose.

Treadmill Basic Buttons
Treadmill Basic Buttons


This is the most common button on the treadmill, and it gets you going. When you click it, the treadmill turns on and operates at the lowest possible speed to ensure safety. After you press it, you can set up your workout time, speed, and incline.


When you press the stop button on your treadmill, the machine will slowly decrease its speed and eventually come to a halt. This is done to ensure safety; if the treadmill stops instantly, it can result in an accident.

You can stop your treadmill if you want to end your workout or take a short break before starting another round of exercise. Some treadmills also give you the option of pausing your workout and continuing from where you left off.

Treadmill Buttons Explanation


Most treadmills come with a speed button. The button measures the speed at which you are walking or running. It is usually measured in metric kilometers or English miles. If it measures in miles, a 4 on the screen will represent 4 mph, and 5 will represent 5 mph.

If it measures in metric kilometers, a 5 will represent 5 kph, and 6 will represent 6 kph, and so on. Most treadmills allow you to choose between the two, and you can make adjustments to the speed with increments of 0.1.

A speed button comes in handy during interval workouts or when you are shifting between high and medium speeds. To do this, first press the start button and enter your workout time and weight. Then enter the lower and upper intervals of the speed you will be running at.

While running at low speed, you can hit the ‘speed interval’ button and toggle between your lowest and fastest speeds. It’s a great way to save you time and maximize your workout efficiency.


The treadmill provides you with a flat horizontal surface. However, many people like to walk at an incline to burn more calories. The incline indicates how vertical your running surface is. You can change the incline through a number or percentage button.

When you increase the incline, you get the feeling of running up a slope or running uphill. The higher the number or percentage, the greater the steepness of your treadmill.


This button is important because it measures the distance you have covered throughout your exercise. Most treadmills measure distance by keeping track of the belt revolutions. There are greater belt revolutions at high speed and vice versa.

Like speed, distance can also be measured in both kilometers and miles, depending on your preference. It is also important to remember that walking or running at an incline doesn’t affect the distance covered. It only affects the intensity of your workout.

How to Tell if My Treadmill is in Km or Miles?

If the letter M follows the distance number, the unit usually stands for miles. If a K or KM follows the distance, that stands for kilometers. If there is no letter, read your treadmill manual to see what’s the default. US or UK treadmills usually display miles, other countries usually feature kilometers.

If you take training seriously, it is only natural that you want to know exactly how much you run.

Switch between Units of Measurement

The treadmill displays are sometimes different, but you should be able to easily figure out how you can toggle between miles or kilometers, imperial or metric systems. If you don’t find the necessary control buttons, sometimes treadmill manuals can be found on the Internet as well, just search the brand highlighted on the treadmill.

Use a Pedometer to Check Your Treadmill

If you are absolutely stuck in the dark about how to switch between kms and miles, or don’t know if the distance ran on your treadmill is accurate, wear a pedometer.

Set your pedometer, and run or walk until the marker gets to 1. Remember 1 kilometer is 0.62 mile, and 1 mile is around 1.60 kilometers, so if the measured number is somewhere around those numbers, you will know your treadmill’s set unit of measurement.

Additional Buttons

Apart from the basic buttons discussed above, your treadmill might also have additional buttons for further convenience.

Additional Buttons
Additional Buttons


This is a pretty straightforward button that measures the time of your workout. You can also use the time button to set a timer of 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or any other time interval of your choice.

It is important to remember that some treadmills automatically go into a cool-down mode after 30 or 60 minutes of activity. A simple way to avoid this is to set a higher timer or simply take a break to freshen up a bit after 60 minutes of continuous activity.


People confuse pace with speed. Speed is the number of miles or kilometers per hour, whereas pace is the number of miles you have covered. This helps you keep track of your workout and train, keeping your end goal in mind.

For instance, a runner who wants to practice 10-15 miles every day can keep track of his target and slowly work towards it.

Treadmill-Buttons Explanation led sensors


This translates to metabolic equivalent and tells you the estimated amount of oxygen that you burn during your workout. On average, humans burn around 3.5 ml of oxygen per kilogram of their body weight.

The treadmill takes your height, weight, incline, and speed into account when calculating your METs. So, for example, if the display reads 6 METs, you are likely working 6 times more than you do at rest.

Speed Interval

Most treadmills don’t have this button, but this is a really great addition. Having a speed button interval is great, especially when you are doing an interval workout. As mentioned above, you can enter your lowest and maximum speed and switch between the two automatically during your workout.

Heart Rate Monitor

The heart rate is an indicator of your heartbeats per minute. On most treadmills, there are sensors on each of the two handles on the sides. When you grab the handles, the sensor measures your heart rate during your workout and displays the value on the screen.

These sensors work by picking the heart rate through your fingertips and palms and mostly give an accurate value. However, if you move too much and don’t keep your hand steady on the handle, the value can deviate from the actual heartbeat.

This is also one of the most important buttons as it helps you determine whether you are under or over training. However, most experts suggest that you should not hold onto the handles during a workout because they limit your movement.

As an alternative, you can invest in a wearable heart rate monitor.

Calories Burned

The calorie button shows the number of calories you have burned during your workout. It takes your height, speed, weight, incline, and distance into account. However, it is important to remember that the number shown is an approximation and not always an accurate number for the calories burnt.

The actual number of calories you burn depends on your metabolism, timings, diet, and a lot of other factors.


Quick Start

Most people don’t want to spend time setting up different values before they can hop on their treadmills. A quick-start button is the easiest and most convenient and helps you save time. You can click it and hop on the treadmill and get going instantly.

Once you are on the treadmill, you can manually increase or decrease the speed or adjust the incline levels according to your own preference.

What if Treadmill Buttons Are Not Working?

If you are unable to press your buttons, your console might be damaged or broken. If you are unsure of the issue, you can do a quick test run by stepping on the treadmill and checking the console as you run. You can also reset the machine and check for any broken connections. If nothing works, you can get it professionally repaired or replaced.

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