Why own a treadmill? Research has shown that the treadmill is the most used of all indoor aerobic fitness equipment. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and owning a treadmill makes sticking with your walking routine easier. If time, personal safety, allergies, or weather conditions, limit your outdoor walking a treadmill can be a great asset.
Do you get the same benefits as outdoor walking? YES. You may even get a better workout since it is easier to control speed, incline, etc.
Some things to consider when making your treadmill purchase:
Manual verses motorized - If you are looking for the best deal a manual treadmill may sound enticing with prices starting around $200. In theory you will also burn more calories since you provide the power. In reality, a manual treadmill may be very difficult to use causing you to workout less.
AC or DC motors - Most home units are DC. AC motors are noisier and drain more power, often requiring a dedicated power source.
Horse Power - Check to see if the stated horse power is peak performance or continuous performance.
Belt Thickness - Two ply belts are stronger, will last longer, and tend to curl less around the edges.
Deck Size - The running surface size. A longer deck allows for a more comfortable stride and easier motion than a shorter surface.
Overall Treadmill Size - Be sure to measure the space you have available.
Shock Absorption - The higher shock absorption the less wear on your feet, legs, and joints. Shock absorption techniques vary from thicker belts to shock absorbers under the deck or floating decks. Of course higher shock absorption equals higher $$$.
Speeds - Make sure the max speed for your treadmill suits for your fitness needs. Walkers can probably get by with speeds of .5 to 6 mph while runners (or very fast walkers) will need a higher maximum speed.
Incline - Inclines vary widely with maximum inclines from 2% to 25%. The larger this range is the more variety you can have in your workouts. How does the incline adjust ... manually or with the push of a button?
Electronic Feedback - Most motorized treadmills provide electronic feedback (mph, miles walked, calories burned, heart rate, etc.). Some will offer preset programs and/or customized programs. Decide which of these features is important to you.
Heart Rate Monitor - Many treadmills include an electronic heart rate monitor. Of course this item can easily be purchased separately and used for both treadmill and outdoor walking.
Drink Holder - An important feature that may be overlooked. You do not want to stop and get off your treadmill every time you need a drink.
$$$ - A quality motorized treadmill may run anywhere from $1000 to thousands. Remember this is an investment in your health. Take your time and choose wisely.
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