The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Treadmill
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A growing number of health-conscious people feel that exercising at home offers undeniable benefits over going to the gym. No driving. No waiting around for available machines. And, perhaps best of all, saving a lot of money in the long run – especially if you invest in good exercise equipment like a high-quality treadmill.
Buying a Treadmill
As you find when you decide to buy any home exercise equipment, when you shop for a treadmill you quickly discover that there are so many options that it can seem difficult to figure out which would be best for you. From inexpensive treadmills that are perfect for walking, to top-of-the-line “smart” treadmills with multiple settings and Internet access, to every model in between, the one that will give you the most for your money and health is out there.
To start on your road to good health, your best first step is to decide which treadmill features are most important to you. Though there are many options to consider, some of the key ones are treadmill size, ease of use, ergonomics, features, safety, and construction.
When considering the space where you will put the treadmill, measure carefully. In addition to the size of the treadmill itself, you’ll also need to leave additional space on each side and at the back of the treadmill so you can get on and off easily and safely.
Most any treadmills take up the full footprint of the machine, but there are many folding treadmills on the market that fold in half so they take up less space when stored. However, keep in mind that most treadmills are heavy, so you likely won’t want to move it around too much trying different locations.
Even the tread platform on folding treadmills have some weight to them, so ask yourself if raising and lowering the walking section every time you use it will ever feel like a chore – you don’t want to give yourself an excuse not to use the machine you bought to get in shape. Make sure you have plenty of space for the folding part when it’s lowered, so that if you want to leave it unfolded on a day-to-day basis it won’t cause any problems.
Treadmills come in a variety of tread lengths. Runners in particular will need to find a long enough deck length to accommodate their stride. These treadmills, with their additional length, may be too cumbersome to fold and unfold every day. Of course, this will not be an issue for everyone, especially if you have sufficient space so your treadmill won’t be in your way.
Treadmills can come with features including variable speeds, adjustable inclines, monitors for your heart rate and other vital signs, tech gadgets, and connectivity. Features such as iPod docks, USB ports, or Wi-Fi connectivity are becoming more prevalent and useful. If you want to be able to adjust the incline, some treadmills provide as high as a 15 per cent incline.
Standard Treadmill Features
No matter how often you plan to use your treadmill, whether you’ll walk or run, or how high-tech you want your equipment to be, there are some basic treadmill features you likely will want to have to maximise the safety and comfort of your workout (and to help ensure the treadmill won’t end up collecting dust).
Shock Absorption System
One of the great things about running on a treadmill is that it does not feel like running on asphalt. However, you don’t want the surface to feel too soft or spongy, either. A good shock absorption system will protect your joints and make your run much more comfortable.
User-friendly Console and Screen
The best treadmills have very simple interfaces. The treadmill’s console layout should make sense to you, and its readout should be large and easy to see. Look for large, clearly labelled buttons for the most basic features (go, stop, emergency stop, etc.).
No program should take more than two or three button pushes to launch. A good measure of an intuitive, user-friendly console is that it should not take you more than a few minutes to become familiar with most of the treadmill’s basic features.
Which electronic features a treadmill should have is a matter of personal taste. Based on what is important to you and how you’ll be using the treadmill, you will want it to have certain electronic features specific to your liking and usage.
The electronic features should be motivating and challenging, such as quick start functions, interval programs, and customisable user IDs that store information like workout history.
Treadmill Safety Features
Safety features are among the most important details to look for in a treadmill. While treadmills are highly-effective and convenient machines for people of any fitness level to get exercise, they require certain safety features to ensure you don’t get injured while you’re getting in shape.
Important Safety Features to Look For
Make sure the treadmill comes with a safety key (a key that attaches to your clothing and causes the machine to turn off if you fall). Gradually-accelerating belt speed is also a must for safety. The treadmill should have handrails or console grips, and there should be plenty of room for you to run or walk without these grips getting in the way.
What Nice-to-Have Optional Features Might You Want?
Any features that make a workout more interesting and motivating for you, thereby increasing your odds of using the treadmill regularly, are worth looking for. For example, some people might find that knowing how many calories they’ve burned is very motivating, while others may want to focus on elapsed time, speed, and distance travelled. Some treadmill models come with various optional features that can make working out more enjoyable.
Many treadmills keep workouts interesting with various pre-set and customisable programs. The pre-set programs offer an element of surprise that can keep you on your toes, while customisable programs allow you to tailor workouts to your precise preferences, needs, and moods.
Separate user IDs are a great feature for couples, families, or locations where more than one person will use the treadmill. Couples, family members, or workout buddies can compete against each other for achievements and progress. This also is an easy way to measure your own progress.
Interactive Heart Rate Feature
There’s no indicator of progress and proper intensity more accurate than your heart rate. Some treadmills react to your heart rate by automatically adjusting speed and/or incline to make sure you stay in your target range. One caveat: if you aren’t comfortable with the speed or incline adjusting automatically, make sure the machine has a manual option to allow you to set your own adjustments.
A fitness test program on a treadmill is basically a pre-set program that tests your fitness level at any given time. As you go through the program, it measures variables such as heart rate, distance, and speed to gauge your fitness level. This can be a very useful option, because seeing regular improvements in your fitness level can be a huge source of motivation.
Standard Treadmill Features
o Safety key
o Gradual belt speed acceleration
o Handrails or grips
o Room for your stride and movements
Optional Treadmill Features
Due to a treadmill’s significant size and weight, you will want to check whether the one you buy comes assembled or you will have to put together (and whether it will be delivered or you have to transport it home yourself). Treadmills can weigh well over 100 kilos, so assembly often requires two people and can take as long as a couple hours.
A good treadmill is more or less maintenance free. You should not have to spend time lubricating or otherwise servicing your treadmill on a regular basis. Some treadmills even have reversible decks, allowing you to flip the deck over when one side gets worn from regular wear and tear, essentially doubling the life of this surface.
Even though it is basically maintenance free, a treadmill is still a piece of electronic equipment, so it can break or need some sort of service at some point. Since it is also a major investment, you will want to find out whether your treadmill comes with a warranty and what the details are.
Quality treadmills typically come with lifetime warranties on the frames. You should also look for a warranty on the treadmill’s other components that provides at least a year or more of labour and parts. Even if you are buying a used treadmill, ask about the warranty; it may still be in effect.
We asked the experts and got some excellent treadmill tips from Gym and Fitness:
When buying a treadmill, always remember to R.U.N.
Review the price. Consider your budget, good quality treadmills can range from $400 up to $1000. These are great investment so spending that much is worth it.
Understand your needs. Are you going to use it for power walks? For body conditioning? Or perhaps for intense and extreme cardio training? There are specific treadmills for your specific needs. Choose the one that suits you the best.
Never settle for less. Not all expensive and branded treadmills are a good buy. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Take your time inspecting every inch of the equipment, try it yourself if you must!
We also received some pro tips from Precor:
If you’re looking for something that feels like you’re running outdoors find a treadmill with a belt speed that adjusts to your natural stride to mimic running or walking outdoors.
To reduce impact find a treadmill with shock absorbing decks that can reduce up to 44% of impact from running.
To burn more calories, work out on an incline to engage different muscles for a more effective workout.
To build core strength, decline training prepares runners for hilly race conditions and increases leg turnover.
We even got some expert tips from Home Gym Equipment:
Speed Range – make sure you buy the right treadmill with the correct speed range for your goals. If you are doing a lot of fast running then a speed range of 1 – 20km/hr is ideal. If you are walking only then a maximum speed of 10km/hr will be fine. For jogging and medium pace running then up to 16km/hr should work.
Incline – this is a great feature to increase the intensity of your training without having to increase the speed. Using the incline feature will also build strength in your leg muscles. The smaller, cheaper treadmills generally come with 3 levels of manual incline so you have to get off the machine and do it manually while bigger machines can offer up to 20 levels of electronic incline which is ideal but of course you will pay more for this option.
Treadmill belt size – a longer belt allows for a bigger stride length so if you are over 180cm you will need a bigger treadmill belt then somebody who is 160cm. Your stride increases a lot when running so walkers can get away with smaller size belts. Below is general guide for the best belt length based on your height:
Under 165cm : 120cm belt
165 – 182cm : 130cm belt
183 – 200cm : 150 cm belt
Treadmill width is a personal choice and can range from 40cm to 55cm – if your balance is .not good choose a minimum belt width of 45cm.
Cup Holders – it’s easy to forget about this when looking for a treadmill but water is essential when working out so make sure you buy a treadmill with cup holders!
Inbuilt Programs - some treadmills come with over 100 programs and some with up to 20 inbuilt programs so it can vary a lot from brand to brand – Some people love the programs and others manually adjust the speed so take this into account when browsing the web.
How to Buy a Treadmill on Gumtree
To browse the widest selection of treadmills on Gumtree, it’s quick and easy to type “treadmill” into the search box at the top of Gumtree’s homepage (the box is atop every other page, as well). If you are looking for a specific manufacturer or model, just type the more specific search into the box.
To find a treadmill in or near a certain area – Brisbane, for example – simply type ‘Brisbane’ in the location box just to the right of the search box (or just click on this link for treadmills in Brisbane http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-brisbane/treadmill/k0l3005721).
If you want an accessory for your treadmill, or any other type of fitness equipment, just type your specific item in to the search box. For example, if you type ‘heart-rate monitor’ into the box you will get the search result http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-heart+rate+monitor/k0
Taking the time to honestly assess which features are important to you and doing your research can help you buy the right treadmill the first time. Getting the treadmill that best suits you is important, because having the right equipment can make the difference between achieving your fitness goals and owning the world’s most expensive coatrack, taking up valuable space in your living room.
A treadmill is an easy to use, convenient, and effective tool to help you get in shape. It can be a smart investment for anyone who doesn’t want to go to a gym or wants an alternative exercise to do on cold, rainy days when running outside isn’t an option.
Consider your goals and the goals of others who will use the treadmill, determine your budget, and get started making one of the best decisions you can for your health.