Treadmills are one piece of exercise equipment that remains popular year after year. There are many benefits to consider when you are getting motivated to find the right treadmill for you: this workhorse of the home gym provides a simple workout that can be adapted in intensity to your needs and ability. Walking or running on a treadmill translates well to outdoor workouts and competitive events, while providing a comfortable environment and a more forgiving level of impact than road runs.
There’s no question that investing in a treadmill will pay off for years to come. May people struggle to find the right treadmill and never realize the benefits of this powerful machine. So how can you choose the right one to meet your needs? And without paying extra for features you’ll never use?
Here Are A Few Tips To Find The Right Treadmill:
One of your first considerations when trying to find the right treadmill is to consider where you will keep it. Do you need a folding treadmill? Folding treadmills are offered across all price points and offer more flexibility on where you will keep your machine at home. Hydraulic assistance is also available on many machines to make moving it in and out of the storage position a breeze.
Take a measurement on the floor space available and compare it to the published dimensions of the model you’re considering. You will also want to consider the length of the deck of your machine. Some runners and those with a wider stride may appreciate having a belt that is 22 inches, although 20 inches will be sufficient for most individuals.
Additionally, extra long decks are available to accommodate runners with a longer stride. Walkers and individuals with shorter strides may not require this much space, but it is worth considering the extra space and cost if you need more room to run.
The power and life of your motor will directly impact the quality of every workout on your home treadmill, so how do you know what you need? Understanding the ratings behind motors can be tricky as some manufacturers offer artificially high horse power ratings based on the motor’s potential capacity, rather than their anticipated continuous output. Look out for ratings that are based on the peak capacity of the motor and for motors that utilize very high RPM’s (over 5000), which can lead to lower torque and a shorter lifespan for the motor.
When comparing motors, look at Continuous Horse Power (CHP), which provides a more realistic projection of the performance over time, then consider your needs. Serious and larger runners will want to have a machine with a rating of 3.0 CHP. If you’re planning on using your machine for walking and light jogging, a lower CHP will be sufficient.
Finally, consider the warranty offered on the equipment you are considering. If your treadmill motor is only under warranty for a few years, you can expect that will be its lifespan. A good treadmill will have a ten year or greater warranty. Horizon and Vision treadmills offer a lifetime warranty on the quality of their motors.
Treadmill Belt And Deck Quality:
Next to the motor, the deck is the portion of your treadmill that meets the greatest physical demands during your workouts. The overall quality of the deck will make a big difference on the maintenance required for your machine, as well as your workout experience. A thicker treadmill belt will be more durable and will provide greater cushioning, resulting in less maintenance and a quieter workout in your home.
Additionally, some treadmills require lubrication by the homeowner, a maintenance issue that can easily be overlooked and detract from the life of your machine. Belts with lubrication built in take care of this for you with each workout. You should also compare the roller size of the machines within your budget as a larger roller will provide a smoother workout and longer belt life.
Price of Treadmills:
Considering each of the above factors will help you determine the right amount to spend on your treadmill. Larger runners should be prepared to invest more in a treadmill that offers an appropriate deck and motor size, while a smaller individual who plans on using her machine for walking can spend less in these areas. Lastly, consider the ability of your machine to offer different levels of incline. Adjusting the incline of your machine can offer a more intense workout that blasts through calories, without increasing the impact to the level of running.
Features, such as Virtual Active Technology, heart rate monitor integration, and Sprint 8, can help to motivate you through your workouts and make them more effective. MP3 inputs, water bottle holders, and on-board fans make your workouts more convenient and comfortable. A basic treadmill that will serve most people well for walking and light jogging workouts can sometimes be found on sale for less than $700. Heavier duty treadmills that will serve for running workouts should start at around twice that amount.
As you shop, consider your needs as your workouts progress and the likelihood of others in your house using the equipment to determine your budget and purchase a machine that you will be satisfied with for years to come.
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.