Facts About Treadmills
The treadmill is the best exercise
equipment you can buy for home use. Its fairly easy to use and fairly
easy to buy. Not only that, but for most people, running is the best type of
exercise. It develops the muscles of your legs, improves cardiac-respiratory
endurance, keeps your blood running, and burns down calories. The treadmill is
an excellent choice of equipment in lieu of actually running outside. You can
run even in bad weather whether its snowing, raining when the
ground is too muddy for much running, or even whether its too hot. The
treadmill can also be recommended to all types of exercise enthusiasts,
regardless of sex and age.
So now that you know what makes the
treadmill excellent for home exercise, lets go down to the facts. The
number question we all probably have once confronted with buying a treadmill
is, How much is it worth?
Fact #1 -- The Price of
Treadmills can cost a good deal of money, so it is
important that you consider your budget before you buy. It is also equally
important that you buy the highest quality machine that you can find, which is
of course only common sense. The smart buyer will always want to get the most
of his money. And so do you.
A decent treadmill probably
wouldnt take too much from your wallet. Plan on spending at least $1,000.
Believe me, that isnt a lot compared to other home exercise equipment
that people keep in their houses. If you want better than decent, try adding
some $300 or $500 in there. There are some pretty good models that fall under
that price range, but remember that cheap treadmills are often worth exactly
like what their price dictates.
There are four factors involved when
you buy a treadmill. These are:
- How much money you have
- Any extras you want (programming, heart rate, monitor,
- What kind of motor you want; and
- How much space you have in your house
By answering all these questions, you should have some
basic idea on which among the treadmills available in your best buy.
Fact #2 The Motor Factor
Before we start,
lets get down to the basic first. A typical treadmill is comprised of
seven main components. These are:
- The frame which is that piece of metal that
extends perpendicularly from the running deck and is where the handlebars are
- The running deck which is the surface that you
- The running belt the moving portion of the
- The motor the engine that makes the running belt
- The motor controller the gadget that allows you
to control the speed of the motor
- The incline motor a tiny motor that controls the
degree of inclination as you run
- The console and control computer that part of the
treadmill which makes you do all the other stuff
Out of all these seven components, the most important is
obviously the motor. Of course, because its what makes your treadmill
work in the first place. For this reason, you need to consider the motor first
when you buy a treadmill.
As mentioned, most treadmills have two
motors one to drive the belt and the other to raise and lower the bed
for inclines. When you look over a few treadmills as you shop, choose one with
a continuous duty belt motor with at least 1.5 horsepower. 1.5 horsepower is
the average, but remember that more horsepower doesnt necessarily mean
better. This is particularly true if the motor is not continuous duty. So, when
the salesperson tells you that maximum power is whats it all
about, dont be fooled. You know better. Get the treadmill with the
continuous duty motor.
Here are some other terms you need to
familiarize yourself with as you shop around for the best treadmill:
Fixed Speed Alternating Current (AC) Motors while motor runs at a
constant speed, it uses a transmission to regulate the speed of the treadmill
Direct Current (DC) Motors directly regulates speed, using
variable voltage and not a transmission; this means that the motor itself
changes speeds as the user makes adjustments
Variable Speed AC Motors
also regulates speed directly and connects directly to the drive belt
Peak Horsepower the maximum horsepower a motor is capable of
reaching before stalling out
Continuous horsepower the actual
horsepower being used when someone is using the treadmill
Fact #3 Other Specifications
Of course, it goes without
saying that aside from the motor, there are also other things you need to look
for in a treadmill. That is what makes a treadmill so great every
component is equally important and should be chosen with the utmost care if you
want the most for your money.
Most people use the treadmill for
running. Others may prefer walking on it, but the majority of people really buy
treadmills because they dont want the hassle of having to go outside for
a quick jog every morning or evening. For that, you need a lot of flat surface.
Your treadmill comes equipped with a rolling belt on which you will do your
running. The suggested belt size should be at least 48 inches long and 16
inches wide. Look for a treadmill with those kinds of specifications and I
guarantee you that you wont regret it one bit.
If you plan on
running, get a treadmill that goes up to 10 mph. For incline, get a treadmill
that can go up to 10%. Some people say that an incline of 20% is the best
choice, but really, thats too much. Ten percent is exactly what you need,
not too much, not too little.
Cushioning is another thing you should
watch out for. Sprains happen when you run because you were wearing the wrong
shoes or the ground wasnt conducive to running, i.e. there wasnt
enough cushioning to support each foot-strike. When you buy a treadmill, choose
one with a running bed that could absorb shock. Also, make sure that the bed
doesnt move around with every foot-strike.
Check the frames.
Make sure that they provide you with stability. The treadmill shouldn't shake
or move around when you run or walk on it. A good tip would be to try standing
on the treadmill and hold on to the handlebars, assuming your position when you
run. If the frame feels like it isnt solidly placed, dont buy that
treadmill. Move on to the next one.
The control panel of your
treadmill is the fun part. This is where you control every other aspect of your
treadmill, besides the motor (and sometimes even that). Most treadmill models
these days come with their very own exercise programs and let you choose which
among the beginners, advanced, and expert programs you want to try. Other
treadmills have their own personal electronic trainer installed in their
programming and you can access that through your treadmills control
When looking at control panels, it is important that it should
be within easy reach from where you will be as you run. It is important that it
be simple to use as well. Remember that your control panel is your one access
to your treadmill because it's where you can control everything with just a
touch of a button or a twist of a knob.
Fact #4 Making
There are many types of treadmills for many types of
individuals. There are treadmills with personal trainers installed in them.
There are treadmills that are purely traditional in the sense that they
dont have a single program running them. There are treadmills with
maximum horsepower. There are treadmills with low power. So before you buy, try
to decide what you want. Use the questions below as a guide in arriving at a
- Do you want running or walking programs included?
- Do you need a heartrate monitor?
- Do you want a function that lets you hook your treadmill
up to a website such as ifit.com for new workouts?
- Do you need a treadmill that folds (usually more
expensive) or do you have enough space to house a treadmill full time?
- How easy is the treadmill to maintain?
Once you have all that down, then you should be ready to
the next step, which is...
Fact #5 Trying it Out
Perhaps the most important step to buying a treadmill is trying it out
before actually buying. After all, those spec sheets show you only figures,
numbers, and technical descriptions. You wont know for sure until you try
it or hold it in your two hands.
Make a list of all treadmill models
you like and call sporting goods stores to see if theyre available
locally. Spend at least 10 minutes on each treadmill, making sure that it runs
quietly and doesnt shake even when youre running on it. And while
youre there, see where the drink holder is, a place where you can place
your walkman, a book rack, and some other small stuff that arent terribly
important but would be a nice addition anyway.