Technology in modern times certainly has given us plenty of advantages over our ancestors, especially in areas where health and fitness are involved. Most of us turn to various ways on how to get fit, such as controlling your diet or working out in a gym and using their fitness equipment. One of these pieces of equipment commonly used for maintaining good shape would be the treadmill.
So, what is a Treadmill?
If you’re reading this, you probably already know what it is. But for the sake of those still new to the equipment, a treadmill is a device used for walking or running (depending on your preference) while staying in the same place. Such machines are usually used indoors, in gyms or in houses. Before, similar machines were used for other purposes such as to harness power, but recently (the last two decades), they are also being used for exercise and fitness activities. R are usually composed of a wide conveyor belt platform driven by an electric motor or a flywheel. As the conveyor belt moves, you must walk or run to match the speed of the belt itself, which can be controlled. There are two types of running machines that are used for exercise. One is the heavy-duty electrical treadmill in which you can control the speed of the conveyor belt by adjusting the settings on the control panel. The other type is called manual wherein the conveyor belt only moves when you move. However, in this article, we will be focusing more on the electrical or motorized machines. If you are interested in the manual type, check out our article about the best manual treadmills. Or if treadmills are not your thing you can also take a look at our new section about the best rated exercise bikes currently on the market.
With that being said, these exercise machines are actually one of the most popular equipment used for maintaining fitness and health in home conditions. It is basically one of the biggest and best investments that you can make, especially when such device can help you in improving your overall health status.
Why should I buy a Running Machine For Home Use?
As we mentioned a while ago, buying a treadmill could be one of the best decisions you could ever make. There are actually plenty of advantages in buying this equipment. One of them is that since it is used indoors, you can actually stick to a running or walking regimen without worrying about the weather. Of course, it would be beneficial to actually do your exercise routines outside in the sunny weather, however, if it gets too hot outside or if it is raining, you can still do your exercises with just a push of a button and within the comforts of your house.
Another benefit is the several features that this cardio equipment offers that are somewhat not possible if done outside. One of them is the “uphill” training wherein you would adjust the treadmill to an angled position, allowing you to run or walk in a consistent uphill mode, thus offering you more calorie-burning benefits than walking on a flat surface. When using a treadmill, you can also easily keep track of your progress, such as the running or walking distance covered, the amount of calories burned, as well as the heart rate itself.
Risk of injuries is also reduced since it offers you a predictable running or walking surface than sidewalks. It can also be used and operated easily inside your home and it allows you to control the workout settings, such as the speed, warm up period, and the cool down period. In addition, you can easily use the running machine while doing other activities like watching the television, preventing it from being a sedentary activity. Recently, some enthusiasts have also incorporated using cardio equipment while doing office work, thus allowing them to do some desk work while exercising.
Treadmill 101: The Basics
Before going off and buying your very own treadmill, it is important that you know the basics first, since it will come in handy, especially with cleaning time or during maintenance. First things first: let’s talk about the parts. Don’t worry. I won’t use super technical jargon. (I’ll take it easy on you, I promise.)
When buying a motorized treadmill, one of the first things to consider would be the motor itself. Of course if you’re planning to use your new fitness device for long periods of time, check if the motor can actually provide you with a sustained power. If you come across a machine that features a specific horse power, let’s say between 2.0 to 2.5 hp, that means that it can support that power delivery, but not for prolonged periods of time. However, if you see one that features a horse power of 2.0 or 2.5 chp (continuous horse power), then this means it is the better buy since it can sustain your preferred speeds for the entire duration of your exercise.
Remember, CHP is often better than HP.
Your workout purpose, and yes, your bodybuilding targets will have something to do with the horsepower you need. HP usually range from 1.25 hp for entry-level types of treadmills to 4.0 hp for the more professional-type of equipment. If you plan to use this equipment for walking, a chp of 1.5 will be alright. If you’re more of a walker, go for at least 2.5 chp. In terms of body weight, the heavier you are, the more hp you need.
The treadmill deck would also include the frame/rails and the belt size. These features are equally important to check into, especially if you are going to consider your height/body built and whether you are going to use the machine for walking or mainly or running.
When it comes to the belt size, they typically range from 13 to 22 inches wide and 40 to 60 inches long. If you are going to be using your treadmill mostly for walking, an 18” width would be most suitable and if you prefer running, then a belt width of 20” or more is better. Also, go for a longer belt if you are going to focus on for running, probably around 54” would be suitable. Your height is also a factor in determining the size of the belt because it affects the size of your strides. For instance, if you’re about 6’4” tall, you’re probably going to need 60 inches length.
Also take note of the track cushioning system. The cushioning should be firm and stable enough to support running and walking, but at the same time reduce impact. Depending on the model used, impact reduction due to cushioned treadmills range by about 10%-40%, with 12-15% being the average. When it comes to the frame or the rails, you can choose from two types: steel frames, which are considered the standart in most cases, and aluminum frames, which are usually found with high-end exercise equipment. If you are planning to keep your new machine for a long period of time or if you need a sturdier grip, you might want to consider those that offer aluminum frames.
Console and Additional Features
Of course, when choosing the right exercise equipment, the console should also be taken into consideration since this is where you get to control all the nifty specifications and features that the treadmill can offer you. It should be easily understandable and should offer you the features that you need. Some units come with specifications such as showing you how many calories you’ve burned, the speed that you are walking or running, the distance you’ve travelled, and even your heart rate.
Other treadmills feature additional perks like an iPod deck to plug in your music player, a water bottle holder, or even a built-in television. It’s up to you to decide what features you can and can’t live without, and it also stands to reason that having more features would be equivalent to a more premium price tag. Recently, some of these exercise equipment come with Personal Trainer Workouts, which ideally offer more advantages than those that do not have this feature. These workouts are designed by personal trainers and offer you various fitness workouts, depending on the goals that you want, such as cardio benefits or weight loss.
If you have large room space, you may skip this criterion and move on to the next one. However, if you have limited space in your home or room, there are several models that offer space-saving footprints and there are those that can actually fold up for storage. That way, you can still buy one without worrying about the room space. Also, you have to make sure that you have extra leg room when you set up your exercise equipment to avoid any potential missteps and allows you to easily get off the treadmill when finished.
It is important that you also take a look at the warranty that the company offers, as well as what services are covered and for how long. While most standard treadmills come with a 90-day warranty, majority of premium-level systems come with a 10 or 20-year warranty or even a lifetime warranty.
Buying the Treadmill
Since buying such equipment is a considerable investment, you have to take some measures to ensure that you will be getting what you are going to pay for. After all, it would be such a disappointment if you pay thousands of dollars for an expensive treadmill (check out the best treadmills under $2000), only to have it returned after a few days later due to malfunction. So, I have just a few more words of wisdom for you before I let you go on your merry way.
Think of who will be using the treadmill for a long period of time. Is it just you? Or would the people who would be using it include your grandmother and your 250-pound cousin? Since there is a difference in terms of body weight and usage, try to find running machine that would accommodate all of you and your family members’ needs. Sometimes you can spend less (the top treadmills that go for under $1000).
Research. Research. Research.
One common mistake when buying a treadmill is not doing your research beforehand. Go online and look for ideas on the best equipment that is suitable for you. Check out reviews as well as the price ranges of these systems. You can also go to a gym and see what brands they mostly use. Research is the key to successful shopping.
Before committing yourself in buying a specific brand or type, try test it out first. If you’re planning to buy the equipment through the internet, try to find a gym or a friend that has the same model and try it out for an extended amount of time. If you’re planning to buy the system in a health shop or the mall, you can also test it out, but make sure that you wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Make sure to ask questions if you don’t understand the features.
In some cases, treadmills come with a somewhat high price tag that some people wouldn’t be able to reach. However, more and more companies nowadays offer affordable treadmills (click here for the best cheap treadmills), which are a welcome relief, especially to individuals who are a bit strapped for cash. Try to consider your budget and research on what treadmills fit your preferred price range. Nowadays, you can get a good machine even for $500 (check the best for $500 or less).
Treadmills are one of the most highly-recommended fitness equipment by health experts because of their numerous advantages. Different features and specifications all play a part in helping you achieve an optimal level of health, so it stands to reason that purchasing one of these pieces of equipment is one of the best investments that you can give yourself and your family. When buying a running machine of this caliber, there are several considerations to bear in mind such as the size and power, among others. All in all, if used correctly, this marvelous exercise equipment will be a good addition to the home to keep your body healthy.