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What To Look For In A Treadmill

Wednesday, June 23rd

What to Look for in a Treadmill

Eating a healthy diet, in combination with getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week, is the best way to keep our bodies and our minds healthy.

For some people, fitting in the recommended amount of exercise weekly can be a real challenge. With busy work and home lives, spare time doesn't seem to be as abundant. Those of us who can find the time may visit a fitness club a few times a week. Others of us may play sports. But at least 62 percent of U.S. adults have admitted they do not get the recommended amount of exercise weekly. Of those, another 46 percent admit they also do not eat as healthy of a diet as they should. Combine a lack of exercise with a not-so-wholesome diet, and it can be deadly for our waistlines and our health.

Some people find it easier to fit in a workout if they have equipment at home. It's a lot easier to find the time to exercise if you can do it on your terms and your schedule, rather than being forced to fit it in when the local fitness center is open.

If you are one of those people, and you wish to include some fitness equipment into a home gym, one of the best choices is a treadmill. Treadmills are the number-one selling piece of fitness equipment on the market today, and it's easy to see why. They are durable and versatile, providing a variety of ways to exercise so that the user will never get bored.

Treadmills are designed to provide compression-type exercise, which makes your bones and muscles stronger through high-impact exercise. The impact felt when using a treadmill helps to keep bones strong and prevent the onset of diseases like osteoporosis. The downside to having a high-impact workout is that it may not be best for people who have joint, hip or knee pain. If you fit into this category, using a treadmill can aggravate your condition and should be avoided in favor of another piece of equipment, such as a recumbent bicycle or an elliptical trainer. Those pieces of equipment provide low-impact cardiovascular exercise, which is easier on the joints.

If you have decided that a treadmill is right for you, then there are some basic guidelines to follow to help ensure that you purchase a quality piece of equipment that will fit your lifestyle and your exercise goals.

The first thing to do is to make sure you have adequate space to use and store a treadmill. The average length of most commercial models of treadmill is between 70 and 82 inches. This measurement includes the motor, the control panel and the running belt. Treadmills are generally 30 to 40 inches wide, which includes the width of the running belt and the safety side mounts. If you are having trouble picturing just how large that is, consider the size of an average loveseat, and that is how much space you can expect a treadmill to occupy.

In addition to the size of the unit itself, it also is important to leave adequate space around the machine while it is in use. Most treadmill manufacturers recommend providing at least two to three feet of floor space around the front end of the unit, and three to eight feet behind it.

As important as having enough space is the quality of the machine. Only choose a machine that has a frame built of at least 11 gauge steel. Anything below that will make the treadmill less stable and more likely to break under heavier weight.

You also will want to make sure the running/walking deck is of adequate size. Anything under the specifications listed above likely will make it harder for you to properly exercise on the equipment.

Lastly, choose a machine you can afford, but which has as many "bells and whistles" as possible. You can expect to spend between $1,000 and $3,500 for a quality machine, with the more expensive models having the most features.

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Treadmill FAQ

As one of the most commonly-used pieces of gym equipment, treadmills are usually the first machine people think of when setting up a workout space at home. Whatever your level of fitness, a treadmill can help you make progress: from low-intensity walking to running intervals on an incline, the possibilities are endless (and they don't depend on the weather!)
It depends on the model you choose. Some machines allow you to fold the tread surface up towards the console, similar to a Murphy bed. But, with the higher-end machines that come with plenty of features like live-coached workouts or sky-high incline capabilities, you're likely to need a reasonable amount of floor space. Check the dimensions of any treadmills you're considering and compare them against the places you're thinking of keeping your machine.
You might be surprised to learn that you can get a basic treadmill for under $600. On the other end of the spectrum, you'll see prices in the $9,000 and up range for models exactly like what you'd use at a fitness center or gym. Fortunately, there are plenty of mid-range options that give you good features, top-notch tech and durability without breaking your budget.
Yes. Coverage varies, and most manufacturers have different timeframes of warranty protection for the frame, electronics, and any labor costs. You may also be able to add an extended warranty and/or maintenance plan, to keep your treadmill in good shape for longer.
How does "free" sound? Many retailers of treadmills give you no-cost delivery. Just be aware that if you return your treadmill, you're likely to be on the hook for the shipment costs to get it back to the store (and your refund may have their original shipping costs deducted from it!).
Check the retailer's policies. Many offer return periods of 30-60 days, but some provide none at all. You may have to pay restocking fees of up to 25% too, in addition to the return shipping costs (which could get expensive on such a heavy piece of equipment).
Yes, though not all retailers offer it as an add-on service with your treadmill purchase. Look for that option during the checkout process. Otherwise, the company might be able to recommend an installer in your area. If all else fails, it might be worth it to call a fitness center or sporting goods store near you to get the name of a professional they trust.
There's no better way to get the world's widest selection of treadmills - at the best prices. Shopping online makes it easy and even fun to check out all of the latest features and see what customers say about the machines once they're in home use. And, there's no need to rent a truck or try to fit your treadmill in the back of your car with so many retailers offering free delivery right to your doorstep.
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