Buying and using a treadmill can be one of the best health decisions you have ever made. They are functional, easy to use, and when used correctly, provide an ideal way to burn calories, manage weight, strengthen, and enhance your cardiovascular system.
Unfortunately it can also be one of the most confusing experiences of your life!
Not to worry! We’re here to help you understand all there is to know about the wonderful world of treadmills.
TYPES OF TREADMILL
The first thing to understand is the different types of treadmill. You might think “a treadmill is a treadmill, how different can they be?!”. But different treadmills are actually much better suited to different people’s needs.
Motorised treadmills come with a built-in motor so the belt revolves around itself when you walk or run at the pace you selected.
A manual treadmill is powered by you; you are in control of the belt and it moves as fast as you do (think hamster wheel). This can make it feel more like it’s you who is powering the machine, not the machine powering you.
Curved treadmills are quite new and are self-powered. They help you to run on the balls of your feet which uses more muscle groups in the body at the same time when compared to the traditional heel strike used by most runners.
FOLDING VS NON-FOLDING
Now you’ve decided what type of treadmill you need, you have to decide on where you’re going to put it.
If you have a dedicated space which you are using to create your new home or garage gym, then you will probably want to go with a non-folding treadmill. They tend to be a bit more stable and a lot more powerful! But they also tend to cost a bit more, so factor this in when thinking about what you need.
Treadmills are great; but if you’re short on space and you’re hosting a dinner party this evening, the last thing you want is one of your guests chairs perched on top of one. In this case you might be better off with a folding treadmill. It can be safely hidden away while you entertain your guests and then brough out again the next day to you can burn off that second bowl of dessert!
TRACK SIZE (TALL PEOPLE MUST READ)
Choosing the correct track size is important for everyone, but especially for taller people.
Most people who aren’t giants can get away with a treadmill with a track length of 50″ for walking and jogging or 56″ for running.
But if you’re taller than 6′ 5″ tall, you’ll need a minimum 52″ belt for walking and jogging or a 60″ belt for running so you can exercise comfortably.
For walking and jogging, the width should be between 16″ to 18″. For running, 18″ to 20″.
SPEED AND INCLINE
The worst thing that could happen is for you treadmill to be too slow for you to get a good workout! So when looing for a treadmill, you’ll want a maximum speed of at least 10 – 12 km/h. Some machines can reach 16 km/h. If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely not reach this speed, but it depends on your goals. If you’re a more advanced exerciser, you’ll want to look at models which have higher maximum speeds.
Treadmills with inclines can make your workout more interesting by simulating a hill. The main benefits are that they make running easier on your joints; allow faster calorie burn; and support better muscle definition. Most standard treadmills will go up to an incline of 20%. If you want to go steeper than this you might want to look at incline trainer treadmills which can go up to 40% (that’s haaard!).
Thinking about what motor your treadmill uses might sound like the most dull thing you can imagine. So this bit will be short to keep you dying of boredom!
For walkers and joggers: 2.0 horsepower continuous duty
For runners: 3.0 horsepower continuous duty or higher
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