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Choosing a Treadmill

Topic: Treadmill

What you need to Know to Choose a Home Treadmill

By Dr. Kristie

Health clubs and public exercise facilities are getting more and more crowded these days.  Having a treadmill at home can make sticking to your fitness routine easier. You won’t have to take the extra steps of getting in your car and driving to the gym. You can also choose to exercise any time to the day or night when you have your own home treadmill.

On the downside, buying a treadmill can be an expensive investment. Unless you’ve researched and know all the variables offered, you can easily end up paying for features you’ll never use. Here are some questions you should ask before making the purchase of your first home treadmill.

How will you be using your new treadmill?

If you’re a runner, your needs will be different than if you will use your treadmill exclusively for walking. If you anticipate running, you’ll need a treadmill with a deck at least 60 inches in length to accommodate your stride. Also look for a home treadmill that has a good layer of deck cushioning to absorb some of the shock from hitting the surface at a forceful pace. Sturdy construction of the frame will be important to avoid having the treadmill rock back and forth during the vigorous movements of running.

How much room do you have available in your house or apartment?

If you have limited room, you’ll want to look for one of the fold up home treadmill models that can be easily stored in a small space. Fortunately, there are a number of these on the market today so finding one to accommodate your space needs shouldn’t be a problem.

How much are you prepared to spend for your treadmill?

A basic treadmill can be purchased for under $1000 with some decent ones even going as low as $300. These lower end models are fine for walking but may be a problem if you plan on doing frequent running. The more expensive, advanced models which run in the $1000 to $3500 range generally have longer decks to accommodate running as well as a more powerful motor for higher speed exercise. They also tend to have frames with sturdier construction.

How much do you weigh?

Some treadmills aren’t constructed to bear heavier weights with most of the lower end models having weight limits of 250 pounds. If you weigh more of this, be sure to look for a model that can accommodate your excess weight.

What display features are you looking for on your treadmill?

Some of the features displayed on the console might include calories burned, distance traveled, speed, incline level, and time. Some models will also include a heart rate monitor, although this is more commonly seen on the higher end treadmills. Make sure the parameters you require are displayed on the console you purchase. If you’re working that hard, you want to get some feedback on how you’re doing!



Do you want to design your own workout programs?

Some of the best treadmill models will allow you to design your own custom programs to meet your fitness needs. Generally, you are given several different pre-set routines already programmed into the treadmill. If you need additional ones, you might want to consider a home treadmill that allows you to design your own user defined programs.

How important is ease of set-up to you?

If you’re not handy with tools, you should consider a model that comes pre-assembled or requires minimal set-up. Also consider the maintenance requirements of any potential treadmill you are considering. Some of the best treadmills are almost maintenance free.

Finally, consider the length of the warranty provided by the company from whom you purchase your home treadmill. Generally, there are separate warranties for the motor, the frame, as well as for parts and labor. Look for a machine that has at least a several year warranty on the motor as well as at least a five-year warranty on the frame. You should have at least a year warranty on parts and 4 months on labor.

If you choose your home treadmill well, you should get many years of dependable usage from it. Think of the money you’ll save by not having to join a health club! Also, a home treadmill will likely be one of the best investments you’ll ever make in terms of your overall health. 

About the Author

She is a Medical Doctor with a concentration in Family Practice. She also has an undergraduate degree in both Biology and Psychology and masters in Clinical Pathology.



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