Article on Treadmills - Treadmill for your home
to look for when buying a treadmill
by Rita Liotta
The treadmill continues to be a highly effective and extremely popular
piece of exercise equipment. Treadmills are easy to use, require no
special equipment and are one of the best calorie burners around. If
you’re setting up fitness equipment for use at home, a
should be at the top of your list. In this article, we’ll
the features and functions you should look for when buying this
important piece of home fitness equipment.
Why choose a treadmill over other kinds of exercise or exercise
Treadmills have many advantages. Unlike running, treadmill workouts are
low impact, if you maintain a walking pace. Running on a treadmill is
lower impact than running outdoors because the treadmill surface is
cushioned, unlike hard road or track surfaces. A vigorous treadmill
session is aerobic, unlike strength training (working out with a
barbell or with dumbbells). A good treadmill will raise your heart rate
and exercise the heart, the most important muscle in your body. When
your heart rate is maintained at an elevated rate, you burn more
calories. Stair steppers can be rough on the knees, while leg motion on
a treadmill is completely natural. A treadmill burns more calories than
a pedal exerciser or stationary bike and again, is easier on the knees.
A quality treadmill is pretty much infinitely adjustable in terms of
speed and incline and will keep pace with you as your fitness
increases. Over time, the purchasing a treadmill is often more cost
effective than a gym membership. The quality and performance of
high-end treadmills can rival commercial fitness equipment.
Treadmill features to consider
Motor and horsepower
Belt, deck and cushioning
Built in heart rate monitor
Cheap treadmills abound. If you’ve ever walked through a
discount store or warehouse store, you know that these types of
retailers almost always carry some form of home exercise equipment,
including treadmills. Don’t be seduced by low cost. Discount
treadmills aren’t built to last and the warranty often
this. Do you really want to invest a few hundred dollars on a treadmill
with a 60- or 90-day warranty? A quality treadmill can cost a great
deal more but has a longer warranty and is built to last. To find out
how a treadmill (cheap or expensive) performs and holds up over time,
you should seek out and read treadmill ratings and treadmill reviews.
These can be found in great profusion on the Internet. Just type the
treadmill name into any reliable search engine and you’ll
wealth of information about the product. Beware of used fitness
equipment – often it is out of warranty and/or has already
and been repaired. The best advice is to buy the best treadmill you can
afford after researching the subject extensively – exercise
brain before hopping on that treadmill.
Motor and horsepower
This can get a bit technical. You may read about horsepower, peak
performance and continuous duty. Horsepower measures the strength of
the treadmill’s motor. Peak performance shows the
maximum power, which OK but which doesn’t mean much. How the
treadmill performs over the span of a workout and under load is called
the continuous duty rating. This is the critical rating. If plan to run
on your treadmill, select a treadmill with 2.0-2.5 horsepower
continuous duty rating. Treadmills for walkers should be rated at
1.0-1.5 horsepower continuous duty. Motor operation should be quiet and
Your treadmill should have adjustable incline to simulate walking or
running uphill. Incline is expressed as a percentage. Walking or
running on an incline makes your workout more challenging. Most people
start with a 0% incline and work their way up to 10%. Incline can be
manual or powered. Treadmills with manual incline are generally less
expensive. To change a manual incline, you have to interrupt your
workout to make the adjustment. Powered incline allows you to change
the setting while you’re walking or running. Many people
the additional expense of a powered incline because it’s
and more convenient.
Belt, deck and cushioning
The belt on your treadmill should be two ply, as opposed to one ply.
The belt should lie flat and not curl at the edges. The length of the
belt is related to stride length while running or walking. Be sure to
choose a treadmill with a belt long enough to support your stride
– about 45-50 inches for an average stride. Users with long
should look for longer belts – up to 60 inches.
The belt moves over the deck. The thicker the deck, the more cushioning
it will have. If the deck is too bouncy or flexible, it can hurt your
joints. Some decks are reversible, a good feature that will double the
life of this part of the treadmill. The deck of a good quality
treadmill minimizes friction with the belt and enables smooth and fluid
motion. Belts and decks generally require little or no maintenance.
Cushioning and shock absorption features differ from model to model.
Decks, suspensions and frames should be somewhat flexible in order to
minimize the impact of walking and running. The amount of
“give” in a treadmill depends on your physical
goals. For runners and those who walk outdoors, the treadmill should
simulate outdoor surfaces. This generally means minimal cushioning. If
you don’t plan to take your workout outdoors, choose a
with more cushioning to make your exercise sessions more comfortable.
Most treadmills will have some sort of a computer. The more expensive
the treadmill, the more extensive the computer’s functions
be. At the very least, the computer should tell you how fast
you’re going and the distance you’ve traveled. Some
computers calculate calories burned and this can be a very motivating
feature to have. Higher end treadmills may have pre-programmed routines
that vary the speed and incline automatically, providing a more
challenging workout. Other computer features that might be included
with a computer are lap counter, incline level, elapsed time and heart
rate. More on heart rate in the next section. The purpose of a computer
is to provide feedback to users and keep them interested in the workout.
Built in heart rate monitor
To get maximum benefit from your exercise routine, you should keep your
heart rate elevated within a certain range. Better treadmills come with
heart rate monitors that display your pulse on and LCD or LED display.
These devices usually have a clip that attaches to your finger or
earlobe. The clip contains an infrared detector that measures your
pulse and sends the count to the computer. Your target heart rate is
usually a percentage of your maximum heart rate. You can figure this by
subtracting your age from 220. For a 30-year-old person, the max heart
rate is 190. For aerobic benefits, you should exercise at 70-80% of
your max. For fat burning benefits, you should exercise at 60-70% of
your max. Beginners should keep their workouts to 50-60% of max. Before
starting any exercise routine, you should check with your doctor. A
heart rate monitor on your treadmill will help you maximize the
benefits of your workout.
If the treadmill will be used in a home where there are children, look
for a model with some sort of a lockout that controls who can use the
machine. Another good feature is an emergency shutoff that stops the
machine if you fall off the treadmill. The emergency shutoff usually
involves a key that you insert into a slot on the treadmill’s
console. Attached to the key is a cord with a clip at the end that you
attach to your clothing. When the key is pulled out of the slot, the
treadmill immediately stops.
If space is a consideration, choose a treadmill that folds. For ease of
movement, a folding treadmill should have some type of a wheel system.
Some space saving treadmills have shorter decks, which can create a
problem for runners or users with a long stride.
Beware of treadmills with warranties measured in days, for example 60
or 90 days. A quality machine’s warranty will be longer,
at least 3 years for parts and 1 year for labor. Read the warranty
carefully before buying. Sometimes you’ll be required to do
cleaning and/or lubrication to keep the warranty in force.
With some quality treadmill prices in the thousands of dollars, the
purchasing decision should be carefully considered and thoughtfully
made. Remember that you’re investing in your future health
vitality – your workout equipment should be the best you can
afford. If it doesn’t work well and make the workout
you’ll be less likely to use it on a regular basis. And
workouts are key to the successful use of any home gym equipment,
especially a treadmill. A well-chosen quality treadmill will give you
years of reliable service.
About the Author:
Rita Liotta is a successful freelance writer offering guidance and
suggestions for consumers regarding:
Benches and Inversion
Tables. Her many articles give information and tips to help people save
and make smarter decisions.
few more things you should know about buying a treadmill for your home:
is the best time to buy?
suggest that you purchase your treadmill in January. Many retailers
mark down their prices for treadmills anywhere from 20 to 50%.
Sometimes during the weeks before Christmas you can find a great deal
because many people purchase treadmills as Christmas presents. And it
does make for a great gift!
- Should you
purchase extended warranties for treadmills?
In my opinion and from what owners of treadmills have told me, No!
These machines are very durable and last a very long time without