If you love the adrenaline rush you experience after an intense treadmill workout at the gym, you may be thinking of buying your own. With a treadmill at home, you don’t have to skip a workout when you can’t get outside to exercise and don’t feel like driving to the gym. Keep in mind that the equipment you select for home use should suit your available space, exercise preferences, fitness goals and budget.
Basic Options in Home Treadmills
At its most basic, a treadmill is one of two types: manual or motorized. Typically, manual treadmills are:
- Easier to store
- Less expensive
A manual treadmill is stationary until you step up and start walking or running. When you slow down, it slows down. When you stop, so does the treadmill. The simplicity of the machine means it generally requires little repair and only basic maintenance. The downside of a manual treadmill is that you set the pace, so you have to be motivated to get a challenging workout.
Motorized treadmills offer more features than non-motorized models, such as:
- Electric motor
- Electronic speed settings
- Heart rate monitor
- Preprogrammed workouts
- Internet connection
- Emergency off-button and/or safety key
You can also purchase equipment that incorporates an elliptical function for more variety. As the features mount up, so does the equipment cost.
Things to Consider When Shopping for a Treadmill
Before you make any buying decisions, decide how much space you have in your home for a treadmill. An average treadmill measures 77 inches in length by 35 inches in width. Be sure to allow space around the equipment for freedom of movement while you’re exercising. If space is tight, consider a folding treadmill for compact storage.
Look at the range of speed settings on the treadmill. Choose a model with enough capacity to challenge you as you gradually increase your fitness level and your pace. If other family members will be using the equipment, consider their setting preferences too.
Most treadmills have incline settings that range from a 10 to 15 percent grade. If you’re training for a road race, you’ll want a treadmill with an adjustable incline. Practicing both in uphill mode and on the flat gives you greater versatility.
Ergonomically speaking, the treadmill you ultimately purchase should feel right. Take it for a test run before you take it home, and check the following comfort zones:
- Hand rails – positioned naturally or adjustable for height
- Deck – shock absorbent but not squishy
- Controls – easy to reach and adjust while exercising
- Display screen – clear and readable, even when you’re in motion
- Footprint – accommodates the length of your stride, and you don’t kick the motor housing
- Platform – solid and a comfortable height for easy access and exit
Don’t forget that a good retailer will offer experienced and qualified sales staff to help you find the right treadmill for your needs. In New Zealand few vendors have been at it as long as Achieve Fitness so they are definitely worth a look.
Quick Additional Tips
When comparing the price of treadmills, remember to take differences in features, materials and quality into account. If you plan to give your new equipment plenty of use, consider spending a bit more on a heavier duty machine. If your treadmill is only for occasional use, you may be able to get by with a less expensive, more basic model.
Consider the weight of the equipment when looking at various treadmills. If the model you like the best is too heavy to move by yourself, make sure that the store offers delivery and installation.
Buying a new rather than a used treadmill comes with the significant advantage of an equipment warranty. Compare the coverage that comes with your top options. In general, a better warranty indicates better quality and workmanship.