buying a treadmill can be complex and confusing. Like cars, there are countless
models, and the question is, do you buy the equivalent of a Yugo or a Mercedes.
are two important factors to consider when you compare treadmills:
Should You Budget
Like most items you purchase, the model you prefer
will probably cost more than you imagined. If you go to a mass retailer like Walmart
or Costco you will notice a number of treadmills in the $200-$500. Some are not
even motorized. These are what I consider throw away treadmills. The come with
a short-lived 90 day warranty. That's because most of them will not function more
than 90 days.
If you want a treadmill that will last for the duration,
and provide you with a challenging workout, this is my recommendations. For walking
you want to spend a minimum of approximately $1,000. This will buy you a solid
and stable model that will come with a one year service warranty, a minimum 2
years parts and 10 year motor warranty.
If you are a jogger or runner then
I recommend you start at the $1,500 range. A model at this price will include
a 20" wide belt, a minimum 2.5 continuous duty horsepower motor and is overall
built with quality components.
For serious runners start at the $2,000
range. You will get a treadmill that has a longer deck for sprinting and interval
training. The motor is powerful enough to handle continual use at a high level.
The deck and the belt are designed for constant pounding. Models over $2,000 generally
have a generous warranty.
Your Weight and Height
weight and height of a treadmill user should determine the model you are considering.
For example, heavier users will require a more powerful motor and a reasonably
thick deck. I worked for a company that compromised on the thickness of the decks
on their low-end models and guess what? Some cracked. The deck should be a minimum
The perfect motor for a treadmill is one that does not
strain. It should work effortlessly, otherwise it will eventually burn out and
generally be noisy. And you do not want to replace a motor, especially after the
service warranty has run out.
When comparing treadmill motors you want
to go by the horsepower of the continuous duty, not peak horsepower. Peak horsepower
is the maximum horsepower a treadmill can reach. 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.
Since peak horsepower is usually significantly higher than a motor's continuous
capability, continuous horsepower better helps you determine which treadmill will
accommodate your intended exercise use. Generally speaking, the larger the motor
the more powerful it can operate at a continuous rate.
Below is our recommendation
for treadmill motors. If you are extremely overweight you should consider adding
another .5 horsepower per category.
height is another important factor. You'll find budget treadmills built with very
short walking/running surfaces. If you are tall you will literally be running
off the end.
For average size walkers we suggest a treadmill with a minimum
50" long surface, if you are over 6'3", you my want to consider 56"
surface. For tall runners you want to consider models that have 58" long
running surfaces. Nothing is more discomforting then when you feel you are running
off the end of a treadmill.
Realize that many manufacturers measure the
length by the extent of the deck. That is not a true measurement, since part of
the deck is covered by plastic shrouds. You want to know the actual length of
the belt surface that you can walk or run on. Desired Treadmill Features
Treadmill - Treadmills are space hogs, so if you want to conserve on space,
a folding treadmill makes sense. Several years ago a fold-up was equivalent to
instability. Since then designs and innovations have made the better folding treadmill
almost compatible to non-folding models. You'll find brands like Smooth and Sole
that have folding treadmill weighing in excess to 250 lbs. These models have a
very solid feel when you walk or run on them, and yet they can save space.
- The manufacturers are all trying to out do each other with innovative programs.
The leader in this arena is Icon Fitness and their iFit programming found on ProForm,
Weslo, Nordic Track and their various other brands. Some brands will woe you with
fancy electronics and compromise on the quality of the components.
I prefer to manually adjust the speed and incline, but for many having a variety
of challenging program adds motivation to their workout. Don't let the bells and
whistle of the programming be a determining factor when purchasing a treadmill.
For most, you will manually control your workout, for others they will use 2-3
programs at the most. The one program you probably want is hill training. Interval
training is very effective in burning more calories and losing weight.
Rate Control - Using your heart rate to control your workout is not for everyone.
But many treadmill owners are addicted to it. The logic is simple, your heart
rate determines the level of your exertion. The HRC will increase or decrease
the intensity of your exercise and keep it within your predetermined heart rate
level. Some experts suggest this technique is the optimum methods for getting
in shape. If you are interested in HRC make certain you get a treadmill with a
wireless heart rate strap.
These are just a few recommendations to consider.
Also crucial is the manufacturer's service reputation. If you treadmill breaks
you want to be certain that the company will stand behind it. Equally important
are the overall reviews and ratings of the individual models. Check out third
party reviews and customer ratings. Some can be found at Bizrate.com, Amazon.com
So start your new year with a treadmill that will impact
your health and well-being.
By Fred Waters
Fred Waters has worked in the fitness equipment industry for years. Before you purchase a treadmill check out his
Contact Fred www.lomrpo.com
250 Cliff Rd. Southern Pines NC 28387 910-695-1280 Check out the latest
reviews on over 75 of the most popular models.
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