How to Choose a Treadmill
A treadmill is one of the best pieces of exercise equipment to burn the most calories and lose weight or alternatively improve your cardiovascular fitness and improve mobility,but not all treadmills are the same and it can be confusing choosing a treadmill for home use from the wide selection available on the market.It is all to easy for the inexperienced to choose on the basis of price or brand rather than necessity
The truth is with treadmills you need to consider what type of exercise you are actually going to do before buying. In itself this may sound a little odd until you grasp that some treadmills are only designed for walking exercises, some are ideal for full running exercises and some attempt to bridge the gap at an affordable rate without being ideal for true running exercises (but will often advertise that they are!).
Generally, treadmills made for walking exercises have a short running board. They usually have a running or walking board that is less than 50 inches long. Essentially a walker's stride is shorter than a runners hence the short length of running board for walking treadmills.Treadmills for walking can be motorized or manual, you can get great exercise from either type. A treadmill for a runner will only be motorized, manual would be too dangerous to use.Treadmills for walkers usually have an incline function that is manually selected or on the higher cost motorized versions will be electrically adjustable.
A treadmill for walking will generally have hand grips to allow you to steady your posture.The cheapest treadmills for home use tend to be manual incline treadmills with a short running board that is ideal for walking exercise, they tend to start at $150.If you have a bigger budget, and want a treadmill for gentle walking with more functions than a base model then a motorized treadmill with a short running board may be ideal for you. Expect to pay $350 upwards for a motorized treadmill with a short board.
Bear in mind that manual treadmills take up less space, are lighter in weight are more likely to fold and are less likely to fail over time due to the lack of a motor.If you are a runner or anticipate building up your exercise to full running then you need to be looking at a motorized treadmill with a running board that is at least 52 inches long (if you are less than average height you could opt for a smaller running board, but check in store first) to give enough room for a full running stride. In fact the longer the better.
Generally the ideal machine will offer a 2.5 hp continuous power motor that will run to 12mph and offer incline to 20 degrees. If you opt for a treadmill with a long running board but look to skimp on motor size be aware the motor will be more likely to burn out over time from over-stress.
These treadmills usually need to be in position, they are heavy to move around and don’t fold small. Expect to pay circa $1000 for a decent home running treadmill, anything less and your treadmill will either have a shorter running board or lesser powered motor that can give you problems in the long run.
For those of smaller stature, as in under 5ft 11 ins, looking for a motorized treadmill or the taller individual with longer stride looking for a walking treadmill then a $500 motorized treadmill with a running board less than 52 inches might be appropriate.
These machines tend to advertise as being fine for running on and at a great price but don’t be tempted unless the machine fits your requirements exactly. Don’t think a treadmill with 48 inch stride will be fine for a 6ft runner, you’ll be kidding yourself.