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Treadmill Buying Information & Tips

Buying and using a treadmill can be one of the most sensible health decisions you can make. They are functional, easy to use, and when used correctly, provide an ideal way to burn calories, manage weight and strengthen, and enhance your cardiovascular system.

The first thing you must do before buying a treadmill is think about your fitness objectives. Whether it’s enhanced athletic performance, general health and fitness, rehabilitation, knowing how you will use your treadmill can help you identify which model to buy.

Below we have included a helpful buying guide and if you decide to buy from Powerhouse Fitness you can choose from a selection of payment options including finance.  You will also get fast, free UK delivery on all models. 

PART 1: TYPES OF TREADMILL

  • Desk - The treadmill desk is the new and healthier way to work. Treadmill desks are ergonomically designed for the workplace as an effective way to combat a sedentary lifestyle. Walking at a gentle pace on a treadmill desk is proven to increase creativity, enhance productivity and significantly improve your health and well-being. 
  • Motorised - Motorised treadmills come with a built-in motor so the belt revolves around itself when the individual walks or runs at the desired pace. This will give the desired workout against whatever speed setting is selected. 
  • Manual - The manual treadmill is powered by the user themselves; they have control over the belt to rotate it around the treadmill at their desired speed. This naturally gives a good workout to the lower body as all the force is coming from the legs and not the machine.
  • Curved - A curved treadmill is a new type of running machine that requires no electricity. The self-powered curved treadmill allows you to run with a natural style on the balls of your feet. This pushes your body forward creating the momentum to turn the treadmill belt. This style of running uses more muscle groups in the body at the same time when compared to the traditional heel strike used by many runners.

PART 2: FOLDING VS NON-FOLDING

To save time before shopping, measure your available floor space. Also, measure any intended storage space if you’re considering a folding treadmill. Keep in mind that the required running space (treadmill belt size) can also impact the overall footprint of the treadmill.

Folding - A fold-up treadmill provides both the luxury of a home workout and saves you valuable floor space. Fold up treadmills are ideal for apartments or smaller exercise rooms. They're also easier to clean around and under. They usually have features like a security lock that keeps the treadmill in place when it’s folded. Some foldable treadmills even have an automated lifting and dropping system in place for raising and lowering the running machine’s deck. See our folding treadmills here.

Non-Folding - Non-folding models are more stable than folding models; they are stronger and tougher. They also cost more than folding units, due to stability, motor power and the overall quality of the treadmill. They are built to perform at the highest standard; even the heaviest individual can use non-folding machines freely without worrying about wobble.

PART 3: TRACK SIZE

Choosing the correct track size is essential, especially for taller users. If you are unsure what type of treadmill is correct for you, contact us for some professional advice but below we have shared some tips.

  • Walking – If you are less than 5 feet 7 inches tall, a minimum 52-inch walking belt should accommodate your stride. If you are between 5 feet 7 inches and 6 feet 4 inches tall, choose a belt with a minimum length of 55 inches. If you are between 6 feet 5 inches tall and 6 feet 11 inches, a minimum 58-inch walking belt will accommodate you. For walking, an 18″ belt WIDTH is adequate, but 20″ is preferable. See the ProForm Performance 400i & ProForm Sport 9.0.
  • Jogging - If you are less than 5 feet 7 inches tall, a minimum 54-inch treadmill belt should accommodate your stride as you jog. If you are between 5 feet 7 inches and 6 feet 4 inches tall, choose a belt that is a minimum 58 inches in length. If you are between 6 feet 5 inches tall and 6 feet 11 inches, a minimum 60-inch belt will work. If you are going to jog or run you definitely want a 20″ WIDE belt. See the Kettler Atmos Pro & Sole F63.
  • Running - If you are shorter than 5 feet 7 inches tall, a minimum 58-inch treadmill belt should accommodate the length of your running stride. If you are between 5 feet 7 inches and 6 feet 4 inches tall, choose a belt that is a minimum 60 inches in length. If you are between 6 feet 5 inches and 6 feet 11 inches tall, a minimum 62-inch belt will accommodate you. As mentioned above, if you are going to jog or run you definitely want a 20″ WIDE belt. There are also several manufacturers that offer 22″ wide belts -See ⦁ NordicTrack 1750 & Sole F85. Extra track width is most important to larger trainees.

PART 4: PRICE

Treadmills can vary quite substantially in terms of both style and quality - and so does the price. A very basic model can be bought for about £500 whereas a high-quality top of the range treadmill can set you back by almost £12,000. Remember that with all exercise machines you generally get what you pay for so it is always a good idea to spend a little bit extra to get a durable and more comfortable machine. As you go up in price not only will the build quality be better but you are also likely to find extra features that will add to the comfort, convenience and motivational power of the machine.

Most decent treadmills will have full tracks, modest power incline, good workout program variety and classic LCD monitors. Some treadmills will have iPod-compatible music speakers and are sometimes compatible with wireless heart rate transmitters.

Mid-range treadmills generally have impressive performance, cutting-edge electronics, and the creature comforts of health club treadmills. Treadmills in this range can be ideal choices for avid runners and for households with more than one trainee. Machines costing a bit less might look similar (with 10” touch screens and spacious tracks, for instance) but won’t necessarily endure as long. For instance, the best treadmills tend to have higher quality belts. These not only last longer than other belts but may be maintenance-free. These treadmills might also be equipped with better cushioning systems, which make a big difference for comfort and endurance.

Premium treadmills include incline trainer treadmills, very high-speed treadmills for marathon runners, and all-around luxury treadmills for everyday exercise at any intensity. Highlights vary among the treadmill brands and models, but some top features in this top tier include: very high maximum speeds, excellent absorption of shock and sound, extra-large monitors (15”+), web-enabled touch screens, integrated television, and fitness tests in addition to standard workouts. The best treadmills in this price class have maintenance-free tracks.

PART 5: SPEED

When searching for a treadmill, you’ll want a maximum speed of at least 10 – 12 km/h. Some machines can reach 16 km/h or 10 mph. If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely not reach this speed, but it depends on your goals. If you’re a runner that wants to improve their speed and stamina, you’ll want a machine that can accommodate 12+ km/h. See our top speed treadmills - Sole TT8 & Taurus 10.5 Pro.

PART 6: INCLINE

Treadmills with inclines make exercise more interesting by varying your workout. They have three practical benefits: they make treadmill exercise easier on your joints, allow faster calorie burn and support better muscle definition. Most home treadmills have a maximum incline of 10%, 15% and 20%. Incline trainer treadmills have a maximum incline of 40%. Incliner treadmills allow you to burn calories at a runner’s pace by simply walking. See NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer.

PART 7: CUSHIONING

You need the right amount of support when walking, jogging or running, especially if you have sensitive knees and joints. This makes cushioning and deck support one of the most important features of a treadmill.
A well-cushioned impact zone in the front provides maximum cushioning to absorb the initial strike of your foot, similar to that of the padded heel of a running shoe. In the middle of the deck, a moderately cushioned transition zone provides comfort with stability as you move through your stride. Finally, the back of the deck is fitted with a firmly cushioned push-off zone to achieve maximum momentum into your next stride.
Most treadmills have an elastometer design. They use rubber grommets that look like marshmallow to absorb the shock. A variation of the elastometer design, is the diving board design. You have larger rubber grommets in the front part of the deck, which absorb the impact, however there are smaller grommets towards the rear of the deck. That is because you want a stable, solid lift-off at the rear.
NordicTrack and ProForm shock absorption is slightly different. There are external springs and internally there is a elastometer. With every step you take the deck relieves that impact and propels you to your next step. So there is not only impact absorption but energy return.

PART 8: MOTOR

When comparing treadmill motors you want to go by the horsepower of the continuous duty. Continuous-duty horsepower is a measure of sustained power during regular use. The continuous motor power is what is consistently delivered during heavy usage, over an extended period of time.

  • For walkers: 2.0 horsepower continuous duty motor will suffice
  • For joggers: 2.5 horsepower continuous duty should be the minimum
  • For runners: 3.0 horsepower continuous duty or higher

PART 9: FEATURES

Console - On-board consoles are very useful tools. Not only do these consoles allow you to keep track of the time you’ve ran, but they can also track: calories burned, distance, time and pulse. Advanced treadmill consoles can do everything from announcing when an incoming email arrives to streaming your favourite movie.

Workout Programs - This useful feature can automatically vary the intensity of your workout by changing the speed or incline. You also can make adjustments manually. Exercise programs can be an antidote to boredom and may encourage you to stick with your exercise routine. Look for programming that offers options for interval training.

Heart-Rate Monitor -There are a variety of heart rate options available on treadmills. The basic is heart rate monitoring, where you grip sensors to get a read-out of your heart rate. There is also heart rate control, where either through holding the sensors or with a wireless chest strap, the intensity of your workout is controlled by your heart rate. This allows you to keep your workout within a preset zone.

Controls and Console Gadgets - Look for well labelled, intuitive controls: up/down buttons, quick one-touch speed and incline buttons, and large, easy-to-read displays that show multiple functions (time, speed, heart rate, incline) at once.

Extras - A growing number of manufacturers load the treadmill console with gadgets such as speakers, water bottle holders, touch screens, web browsers, tablet holders, wheels, a fan, and even an LCD TV.

PART 10: APPS

iFit Live is compatible with NordicTrack and ProForm treadmills. Ifit Live allows you to define your fitness goals and a personalized 8-week training program that is downloaded onto your treadmill. It also includes audio coaching. In addition, through Google Maps you can trace a route anywhere in the world and iFit Live will simulate the terrain by adjusting the incline. You can even get a street, satellite or earth view of your progress. There is a library of predetermined routes through famous city landscapes and trails in National Parks. NordicTrack also sponsor races, where you can watch your progress in comparison to the leader and the pack. The races usually draw vbetween 2,000-3,000 participants.

Bit Gym offers “destination tours” in 70 different locations. You can run through the streets of Chicago, jog along the beaches of Sydney, or explore trails in the Swiss Alps. Bit Gym uses the camera on your smart phone or tablet to analyse how fast you’re moving. If you slow to a walk, the video slows to reflect your change in pace.

LFconnect allows Apple and Android devices to interact with compatible Life Fitness equipment. It tracks progress, lets you access personalised workouts, provides motivation and engagement, and serves as an in-workout display on cardio equipment.

SOLE Fitness App works with SOLE Fitness treadmills. The app turns your device into a control centre for your workout that also records your workout data to help track your performance over time. This data can be transferred to other open source fitness applications, such as Fitbit, iHealth, RECORD, and MapMyFitness, to keep all your stats in one place for easy management.

Kettler S-Fit App has three different modes. In the FUN mode you can experience an effective workout, where the focus is very clearly on enjoying the training. Choose a meal or drink and simply work off the calorie. In the CHALLENGE mode, there are realistic training routes with different terrain profiles. The EXPERT mode provides a detailed record of all important training data. As a result, competitive athletes can always keep an eye on their pedal, pulse and heart rate, the distance covered and their exact speed, and they can complete the predefined programme more professionally.

PART 11: RECOGNIZED BRANDS

Powerhouse Fitness carries many easily recognised treadmill brands with long-standing reputations. You may be familiar with brand names such as BodyMax, NordicTrack, Sole Fitness, Life Fitness, Taurus and ProForm. We handpick only the best models 

PART 12: REVIEWS

If testing a treadmill isn’t feasible, then it’s important to read reviews. Many of our treadmills include reviews with honest feedback from customers.

PART 13: WARRANTY

The warranty on equipment varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Most quality treadmills will offer a lifetime warranty on the frame. When it comes to other components, look for a warranty that provides for at least 1 year of labour and a minimum of 1 year coverage on parts.

PART 14: WORKOUTS

Treadmill workouts can be some of the most efficient, challenging, calorie-burning routines around. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

10 minute HIIT workout:

  • 3-minute easy warm up
  • Beginner: 20 seconds of work 40 seconds recovery x 10
  • Intermediate: 30 seconds of work 30 seconds of recovery x 10
  • Advanced: 40 seconds of work 20 seconds of recovery x 10
  • 3-minute cool down
  • 30 minutes HIIT workout:
  • 10-minute walk/light jog
  • 1 minute hard intervals [a 9-10 intensity] with 1-minute recovery x 8
  • 5-minute cool down

30 minute hill workout:

  • 10-minute easy warm up
  • 2-minute hills with 1-minute recovery x 5
  • 5-minute cool down

30 minute endurance workout

  • 3-minute easy warm up
  • 25-minutes steady-state, easy aerobic pace. [5-6 intensity]
  • 2-minute cool down
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