It was time to give this article a little attention, so we revised our top seven chart to include a few new models.
The two new additions included the comfortable LifeSpan TR1200i, as well as the walker-friendly Exerpeutic TF1000.
Treadmills can be an outstanding exercise tool for seniors, whether you’re just looking to get back into a health routine or want to develop your endurance and overall fitness.
Table of Contents
This article compiles our picks for some of the best treadmills around for seniors. Each option in our chart below offers a unique blend of safety, comfort and performance.
After evaluating each treadmill individually, we’ll also discuss what features you should look for in a treadmill, and answer a few common questions many seniors have when selecting a new machine to purchase.
Motor: 2.75 CHP
Speed: 0 to 12mph
Incline: 0 to 12% (Motorized)
Belt: 20” x 60”
Features: 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning, Bluetooth connectivity, rapid-charge USB port, quick controls, media shelf, pulse-grip heart rate monitors, preset workout programs, cooling fan, 325lb max capacity
There’s a reason we recommend the T202 from Horizon Fitness on many pages on Fitness Verve – it’s a great treadmill for the price, whether you are walking or running. For seniors, it’s no different!
It offers a strong 2.75 CHP motor which makes both walking and jogging smooth and pretty quiet. It’s also very comfortable on your joints, as a 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning system is laid under the track. This track folds upwards with hydraulic assistance after use, so it’s ideal for apartments and condos.
Finally, there are some modern conveniences to keep your ride comfortable, including a built-in cooling fan and a media shelf for your phone, as well as easy-to-use quick controls and built-in LED screens.
Motor: 2.5 HP
Speed: 0 to 5mph
Belt: 19.5” x 44”
Features: Low-profile shock-absorbing deck, extended padded handlebars, simple control console, LED readouts, transportation wheels, 295lb weight capacity
The SF-T7857 from Sunny Health & Fitness is a highly-rated walking treadmill that is perfect for seniors looking for a safe and effective workout in the comfort of their own home. The fact it doesn’t break the bank is also a plus!
This one features a 2.5-peak horsepower motor that can deliver a top speed of 5mph. This is ideal for providing a smooth and quiet walking performance, although 5mph is also enough for a light jog should the mood take you.
Multi-grip handles and rails that extend the length of the track give you a feeling of security as you stride along the 19.5” x 44” belt, while the low-profile shock-absorbing deck is easy to step onto. Additional features include a no-nonsense control panel and a safety key.
Motor: 2.5 HP
Speed: 0 to 11mph
Incline: 15 levels (Motorized)
Belt: 20” x 56”
Features: Shock-absorbing deck, 7” full color display, three dashboard screens, simple touch console buttons, 21 exercise programs, Intelli-Step technology, pulse-grip heart rate monitors, Bluetooth connectivity, media shelf, 300lbs weight capacity
LifeSpan is a familiar name in the treadmill market with a host of commercial gym treadmills available, although the more affordable TR1200i is the model that makes our list.
It offers the fundamentals that make up a good treadmill for seniors, with extended handles, a safety key, and a soft-drop folding system. It also offers a shock-absorbing deck that takes the strain off your joints, whether walking or jogging.
On that note, there is scope for both activities with a top speed of 11mph, which is faster than many seniors will ever run. The TR1200i is also equipped with an easy-to-navigate full-color touchscreen display, offering feedback on your workout and heart rate.
Motor: 1.5 HP
Speed: 0 to 4mph
Incline: 2 levels (Manual)
Belt: 20” x 40”
Features: Quiet Drive motor, extra-long safety handles, digital monitor, safety key, water bottle holder, transportation wheels, 400lbs weight capacity
Exerpeutic is another brand that knows how to make a good treadmill for seniors and their popular TF1000 is a winner in our eyes.
This is a no-nonsense treadmill that is perfect for walking, with a wide 20” x 40” belt and a 1.5 HP ‘Quiet Drive’ motor offering speeds up to 4mph. A plus is that these speeds can be achieved in 0.1mph increments for a safe progression.
Talking of safety, the TF1000 features extra-long 18” handles extending from the central console for extra peace of mind, while the console itself is stocked with a safety key, an easy to use display monitor and a holder for your water bottle. Note that this machine can support users up to 400lbs, allowing anybody to get in shape!
Speed: 0 to 6mph
Belt: 14” x 39”
Features: Steel frame, LCD screen, safety key, emergency stop button, media shelf, transportation wheels, 220lb weight capacity
This compact treadmill from Goplus is a relatively low-cost option that offers decent performance, while keeping the focus on safety for seniors. Illustrating this is the included safety key combined with an emergency stop button on the handles; both bringing the machine to a halt should any issues arise.
There’s a 1100-watt motor that gives you a top speed of 6mph, which makes it ideal for walking or jogging. The belt is quite compact at 14” x 39”, although this will be fine for walkers.
Being an entry-level treadmill, the main issue is with durability and longevity – it doesn’t feel built to survive years of abuse. Still, taking users up to 220lbs, it’s likely to be suitable for keeping seniors active.
Motor: 2.2 CHP
Speed: 0 to 9mph
Belt: 16” x 50”
Features: Bluetooth connectivity, built-in fitness programs, transportation wheels, hydraulic folding mechanism, heart rate sensors on handlebars, safety tether
Like some other treadmills we feature, the SF-T7603 tilts more towards standard running performance than basic walking. This model’s 2.2 CHP motor can reach up to 9mph! While that’s more than many seniors may ever use, the more powerful motor ensures a quiet, smooth treadmill session.
This treadmill also offers a roomier 16” x 49” running surface, while it’s equipped with cushioning to protect your joints from cumulative stress.
The LCD display shows your speed and other statistics. A series of handy preset speed buttons allows you to set the treadmill to run at 2, 4, or 6 mph with just one click. The nine preset programs are another great way to work on your fitness without needing to concentrate on the details of the specific session.
Incline: Slight fixed incline
Belt: 13” x 42”
Features: Manual flywheel system, lightweight frame, non-slip belt, foam padded handles, non-slip side rails, LCD screen with running statistics, transportation wheels, 220lb weight capacity
If cheap and cheerful is a big part of your shopping criteria, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M will be ideal for you! This is a manual walking treadmill that is perfect for walking, providing you aren’t looking for any luxury.
Being a manual treadmill there is no motor, so you power it yourself, burning calories and keeping active just by moving the belt. This non-slip belt measures 13” wide by 42” long, so it’s a little compact, but for the price it’s understandable.
It’s a good choice if you live in a small home, as it’s a compact, lightweight and foldable machine, with transportation wheels that make moving it around a breeze. Elsewhere, there is no large control console, just a small LCD screen to provide basic workout feedback.
Unlike runners looking for a fast, intense treadmill workout, seniors often need to keep different priorities in mind. When evaluating what makes a treadmill good for seniors, it’s important to consider factors like speed, belt size and design.
Seniors also tend to place more importance on aspects such as belt cushioning and safety rails than other users.
If you’re a senior looking for a new treadmill – or buying for a senior – but you’re not sure what you need, here are a few basic features to look out for:
Many running treadmills are built to take lots of punishment from avid sprinters. As a result, they tend to be heavy and extremely bulky. This is the exact opposite of what seniors need in a treadmill.
If you plan on walking or jogging on your treadmill, look for a lighter frame that’s a bit more manageable to move around. Wheels are a big plus, since it can often be difficult for seniors to pick up the entire weight of a treadmill.
A folding treadmill can also be convenient if you are trying to save space in a smaller home or apartment. If it does fold, look for a lightweight design or something with hydraulic assistance to make the process of folding and unfolding easier.
Remember that ‘light’ doesn’t have to mean ‘flimsy’ – many treadmills today use durable steel frames yet still weigh under 100lbs. These are optimal for seniors.
Extended side rails are another important design component for seniors. Standard treadmills often feature short handlebars that won’t help you in the event of a slip and can’t provide balance even when you walk normally.
If you’re worried about slipping or falling on your treadmill and want to prevent accidents, look for models that include extended side rails. Many treadmills built specifically for seniors feature handlebars that run the entire length of the tread belt.
For seniors using their treadmills for walking and brisk jogging, a strong motor isn’t crucial. Unlike the motors found on treadmills designed for running, which often reach 3.5 or 4 CHP, a motor sitting anywhere between 1 and 2 CHP will suffice for a walking treadmill.
The noise level is the key thing to watch out for here. Underpowered motors tend to be noisier and can make for an annoying workout. While you may not see a noticeable top speed increase, buying a unit with a stronger motor can alleviate any noise issues.
For many seniors, 4mph will be a big enough top speed. This offers plenty of different walking speeds and can move fast enough for jogging. If you want to go faster on your treadmill, look for a unit with a more powerful motor. Anything between 2 and 3 CHP should be able to reach 7 mph, which is plenty of speed for runners.
Beyond the design and power, belt cushioning is probably the most important feature to consider for seniors looking to purchase a treadmill. Proper cushioning is essential to protect your joints and prevent swelling and stress injuries.
Seniors are especially susceptible to the effects of walking without cushioning – the harder surface is far less forgiving and can break down your joints and bones over time.
The amount of belt cushioning included on each treadmill varies depending on your budget. Higher-end models often feature air cushioning systems, while less expensive treadmills offer less support. Trying out any treadmill before you purchase it can help you evaluate the cushioning firsthand.
Walkers and joggers don’t need to worry as much about belt size on their treadmill, but, depending on your height, it can still be an important factor to consider.
Walking treadmills generally offer belts ranging from 40” to 50” in length. Belts shorter than 40” prevent many users from striding normally for fear of slipping off the treadmill. If you’re over six feet tall or take long strides, look for a model with a belt at least 45” long.
Belt width is another important consideration. While this is more a matter of personal preference, some people may feel cramped or squished on narrower surfaces. Most tread belts fall between 15” and 20” wide; these sizes are all perfectly suitable for walking. Many seniors may even prefer the narrower belts because they provide easier access to side rails and handlebars.
Safety features are a crucial part of any treadmill for seniors. Make sure any treadmill you consider comes equipped with an easily-accessible stop button and safety tether at the very least.
These features may seem minor, but they’re incredibly helpful if you fall while walking or begin to slip off the treadmill.
With the safety tether attached to your clothing, the belt will automatically stop if you fall down or can’t keep up with the pace. This can prevent the belt from injuring you or throwing you off the back of the machine.
Certain models also include additional safety features, like the dashed tread belt found on the Exerpeutic TF2000. While these aren’t strictly necessary, they can be helpful for seniors who like the visual reminder of how fast the tread belt is moving at any given time.
Though the components listed above are the most important things to emphasize when searching for a new treadmill, secondary features can separate one model from the rest of the pack. LCD screens, heart rate sensors and more are all common features in senior treadmills.
An LCD console can be used to control the treadmill and display running statistics. These screens are simpler than the touchscreens found on many high-end treadmills, but they provide all of the essential information you could ask for.
Certain treadmills feature heart rate sensors embedded into the side rails. These can be used to more accurately measure your exertion levels – the data runs from the rails up to the central console.
While it’s not an essential feature, heart rate monitoring can be very helpful for planning your workouts and monitoring your stress.
When you’re done with your walk, chances are you’ll want to move the treadmill somewhere out of the way. Some models here offer wheels to roll on, while others fold up in their place with hydraulic lifts. Either way, these extras are crucial if you plan on moving your machine around.
Many seniors question the logic of walking on a treadmill rather than in the outside world. Why spend money on a heavy, expensive machine when you can just walk outside of the house for free?
Though the comparison might seem accurate at first, the true strengths of treadmill walking lie in the details. Natural exercise can fulfill many of the functions of a treadmill, but an indoor device will simply best classic walking in certain key areas.
For example, treadmills provide much more joint cushioning than hard road surfaces. This is particularly important for seniors, whose bones and cartilage have already tolerated years of wear and tear.
Walking on a cushioned treadmill belt can help stop that damage from accruing, while walking on hard road surfaces can only accelerate it.
In a similar vein, treadmills offer much more advanced safety features to protect seniors while walking. The extended guard rails and safety tethers found on treadmills are designed to prevent fall accidents and keep seniors on their feet.
Outside, in contrast, it is easy to trip over a raised edge of the pavement and not have any way to break your fall. While these accidents may be relatively rare, treadmills can prevent serious injury.
However fast you choose to walk on a treadmill is up to you. You should aim to push yourself, or else you’ll never improve your fitness and overall health. However, don’t just turn your treadmill up as fast as it can go and hope for the best!
The best speed to walk at is a speed where you’re out of your comfort zone, but not so fast that you’re struggling to keep up with the treadmill.
The ideal pace also depends on your workout time – it’s easier to move at a brisker speed if you’re only planning on a 20-minute walk rather than an hourlong session, for example.
If you’re not sure of the right speed, start at the slowest speeds and slowly work your way up to your full capabilities. There’s no shame in holding yourself at a speed lower than your max – you can still build up your endurance and cardio fitness without constantly moving at your top speed.
People have been debating whether or not treadmills are bad for your joints for nearly as long as treadmills have been around. And like many tough questions, the answer to this one isn’t a simple yes or no.
Each individual treadmill has a different impact on your joints. While most treadmills offer some form of cushioning – more than you’ll get by walking outdoors on concrete – the specific amount of cushioning can vary widely between different models.
In general, treadmills with more cushioning will be better for your joints, while treadmills without it have more potential to cause harm. The amount and quality of cushioning increases as you move up in price; you’ll find more effective cushioning systems on high-end treadmills than you will on budget ones.
The effects of treadmill walking on your joints also depend on how you use your treadmill. Lower-impact users can worry less about joint problems from their treadmill. If, like most seniors, you prefer to walk or jog, you won’t need as much cushioning.
Joint health only becomes a serious concern if you spend hours each day on the treadmill or if you’re running at high speeds on a treadmill with subpar cushioning.
Your ideal price range for a new treadmill depends on a few key factors. Many seniors can actually find a treadmill that fits their needs for a lower price than intense sprinters or long-distance runners.
If you plan to mostly walk on your treadmill, a model designed specifically for walking will provide all the performance you need at a lower price than a running treadmill. Walking treadmills run on less powerful motors – this keeps the cost down, yet still provides more than enough top speed for relaxed users.
Quality walking treadmills can be found for under $1,000 and even less in some cases. Walking treadmills also include features designed for seniors, like extended side rails.
However, these often provide fewer amenities than higher-end treadmills. If a touchscreen is important to you, or if you’d love to play music while you walk on your treadmill, it may be best to look for a model in the under-$1,500 range.
Of course, setting up the treadmill in a room with a TV may override the need for a high-tech console. Determining your essential ‘needs’ and separating them from your ‘wants’ can help you narrow down a tighter price range.
After a thorough review of the best treadmills on the market for seniors, we chose the Horizon Fitness T202 as our top pick. The powerful motor, useful features and affordable price made it a worthwhile winner.
However, there’s plenty of choice to be had in this category, whatever your budget. Any one of the treadmills featured here will deliver a great walking experience with key safety upgrades to make the treadmill better for seniors.
Remember our guidelines when looking for a new treadmill and you’ll end up with a model that can cover all of your fitness needs without skimping on safety or amenities!