Abby's Guide to Fitness Equipment
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Abby’s Guide > Fitness Equipment > Guide > Fitness Equipment - Treadmills


Do you like to walk, jog or run on a beautiful day? A treadmill may be perfect for you.

You will no longer be limited by the weather or light of day. The treadmill is a very popular piece of fitness equipment, often with sign-up lists at the gym. By exercising on a treadmill you can get into shape, maintain your fitness level or train for a sport or event. Endurance can be increased, weight lost, physical therapy performed. Treadmills are a good fit for many. If walking or jogging is not how you see yourself exercising, look to another piece.

The treadmill is very easy to use. Even if you have never used a treadmill, you have walked, jogged or run at some point in your life. It is easy to learn to do so on this piece of equipment. The treadmill is very convenient to use. You can take a leisurely walk, a brisk race-walk, a jog or even an all-out run no matter what the weather or time.

As with any piece of home fitness equipment, always read the manufacturer's manual.

Before you purchase a treadmill, you will want to give some consideration to the following.

Cost. A non-motorized treadmill can be purchased for around $199. This will be very different from the treadmills found in the gym. These home units start around $400 and go well up to $4000.

Parts of the Machine.

Belt. The belt size translates to the size surface of the treadmill you walk or run on. A belt should be at least 18 inches wide and long enough for a comfortable stride. You want the belt to accommodate you as you run without worrying about stepping off the back.

Deck. The belt glides over the deck that will absorb the impact of your body. The deck needs to be durable, low maintenance and resistant to shock. It should be firm, yet give way to the impact of your stride absorbing some of the shock your ankles and knees are used to getting when you run on the hard sidewalk or street. No maintenance decks self lubricate allowing the belt to glide over the deck with ease. This will cause less wear on the deck, motor, belts and rollers.

Hand Rails. A treadmill may have handrails only in front or rails that extend from the front console to the floor along the side. This is a preference choice. Test out the treadmill and see which type of handrail you are most comfortable with. Will you even use the handrail?

Options of the machine.

Horsepower. A strong motor is the key to a long-lasting treadmill. Don't be confused by peak horsepower. This is the high horsepower at any given moment, not a continuous or constant number. You will want to look at the continuous-duty horsepower. This is the rating for continuous usage. The treadmill with high continuous duty horsepower will be about to withstand more weight and impact.

Speed. Treadmills typically have speeds that run from 0 to 10 miles per hour, built for either walking or running. You will need to pick the machine that will best meet your needs. Be sure to note the starting speed — you want to be able to start slowly as to not lose your balance and to be able to cool down.

Incline. The incline of the treadmill can be raised or lowered to adjust the intensity of your workout. A power incline motor allows you to adjust the elevation will you are suing the treadmill. A manual incline requires you to stop and adjust a lever.

Programs. Some treadmills have preset programs that allow you to enjoy the benefits of intervals and adjusting intensities. If you have used a treadmill at a gym and have enjoyed the programs, you will want to consider this. If you never bothered with the programs, you may not want to invest in this. Again, it is your preference. And only you can know what is best for you and what you will really put to use.

Heart Rate Control. A treadmill with Heart Rate Control (HRC) will be able to adjust the intensity—the speed and the incline — to keep your heart rate within a specific zone. This allows you to monitor your heart rate and workout while the treadmill does the adjusting.

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