Treadmills have experienced substantial growth over the years. They are designed to enhance the most popular form of exercising - running and walking. Treadmills are built on the basic premise that the more effort you put in, the more you will get out. As other fitness equipment and gimmicks gather dust, treadmills continue to gain popularity and get results.
The two most popular forms of exercising are running and walking. Whether you are a casual walker or a serious runner, a treadmill can accommodate your exercise needs. Set the speed and incline to suite your desired cardiovascular goals. You can do a power walk up an incline or a heart pumping run at high speed.
The treadmill is unsurpassed for a cardiovascular workout. It works the large muscles in your body. According to a recent study calories burned on the treadmill for 60 minutes averaged 865 - 705. Contrast that with; The stair machine (746-637), rowing machine (739-606), stationary cycle with levers (709-509), cross-country ski machine (678-595) and the stationary cycle (604-498). As you can see from the figures the treadmill is unmatched for burning calories.
Treadmills can guarantee a consistent workout in all seasons. In warm or wet regions, you don't need to be concerned about heat exhaustion in hot and humid weather.
For walkers and runners alike, injuries are common from the constant pounding of joints on asphalt and concrete. Particularly higher end treadmills offer surfaces that absorb impact and reduce pressure. Injuries are less common and stress is reduced on those critical joints. Achilles tendons, knee joints, back muscles, ankles, thighs take less of a beating, which guarantee that you'll continue to walk or run into your old age.
As treadmills become more sophisticated so does the versatility of the workout. Speed and incline have always been a feature on motorized treadmills, but now your workout is enhanced by a variety of preprogrammed computerized exercises. Simulate running up and down hills, focus on cardio exercise, concentrate on burning calories, or work on speed training. Often treadmills have preset programs with various levels of intensity. In addition you can program your own workout, combining speed with incline.
A good treadmill is a balance of power, stability and fun. Your ability to find the right treadmill will depend upon why you want one and how much you can pay. Buy the best machine you can afford paying attention to the following features:
Frame: High alloy steel is usually more durable than aluminum, however they are heavier and must be coated to protect the treadmill from rust. Get on the treadmill, if it feels wobbly and flimsy, then it is. Selected a welded frame over a bolted one and avoid all plastic frames.
Hand Rails: The location of the hand rails is a matter of preference. Whether you desire a handlebar in front or two side rails, be sure they are sturdy and don't get in the way of your arm swings.
AC or DC Motor: Most home units are DC, but commercial treadmills may have either AC or DC. AC motors tend to be noisier and generally require a dedicated power line.
Horsepower: Check for the continuous-duty rating for the motor's true horsepower. Anything less than 1.5 continuous-duty horsepower can quickly be worn out.
Speed: Most treadmills run from 0 to 10 mph. A good treadmill will match the pace you feel comfortable walking or running. A safe starting speed of 0.5 mph or less is also very important for safety reasons.
Belt: Be sure the length of the walking/running surface is long enough for your longest stride. The width of the belt should be no less than 16" from a wear and tear standpoint as well as comfortable striding. Be sure you can comfortably reach the treadmill controls without stepping on the motor housing as well.
Deck: This is one of the critical quality elements of the treadmill. Quality decks shouldn't need much maintenance and they operate at a low temperature.
Impact Resilience: This is the treadmill's ability to absorb the force from the impact of your feet. The lower the impact on your body, the better.
Incline Adjustment: There's a variety of ways to adjust the incline of a treadmill, from the automatic incline which changes depending upon your heart rate, to pushing a bottom on the console, to the less sophisticated methods of a manual hand crank or manually setting pins. Quality electronic incline adjustment shouldn't be noisy or cause the treadmill to shake at any grade.
Control Panel: Generally computerized panels are standard on most treadmills. They range from basic and simple to the complex and fully programmable. It all depends on what bell and whistles you want. Price is influenced by the control panel options, so purchase only what you will regularly use.
Heart Rate Monitors: This is generally an optional feature. Accuracy varies widely with the ear and finger clips being less accurate than the chest strap monitors.
Price: Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. You're going to invest $1,000 and up in a good quality motorized treadmill. Spending this kind of money ought to motivate you to do your homework and purchase wisely.
Of course buying a treadmill is just the beginning. You won't lose weight looking at it. It is important to get yourself on a regular routine. The more time you spend on it, the more calories you burn and the more weight you lose. Find a fitness program that works for you. Depending on your preference, you could combine your workout with music, television or videos.
About The Author
Paul Reeve is a Personal Trainer responsible for training individuals one-on-one and assisting them in achieving their health and fitness goals and providing them with guidance, support and motivation. Presenter and lecturer for Fitness Professionals, Sports Organizations, Sport Coaches, Corporate and Community Organizations. Webmaster for www.treadmilladviser.com - providing informed advice on exercise treadmills.