What You Need to Know Before Buying a Treadmill

For many of us who used to spend a lot of time in the gym, our routines have changed considerably. With gyms and other public places being closed down, we’ve had to find other ways to exercise. And while the early days of the pandemic may have had us improvising with inexpensive equipment like skipping ropes or resistance bands, a year later many of us are ready for some home-based equipment that’s much more permanent. If you like the idea of walking and jogging within the comfort of your own home, here’s what you need to know before buying a treadmill.

How Much Will I Have to Spend on A Treadmill?

Treadmills don’t necessarily need to be expensive. You can actually get cheap ones online for a couple of hundred dollars. On the other hand, if you have money to spare you can end up spending several thousands of dollars on a higher-end model. As with many things in life, you’ll often get what you pay for, so aiming at the top end of your budget is much more likely to result in satisfaction.

Does A Treadmill Require Electricity?

Not necessarily. There are actually some treadmills that run on muscle power alone. Because they don’t have motors and don’t require electricity, many of the so-called manual treadmills reside in the lower-priced categories. Generally speaking, the cheapest powered treadmills will cost more than the cheapest manual treadmills because of the need for a motor. However, there are also very high-end manual treadmills, favoured by elite athletes, that cost several thousand dollars.

How Much Space Does A Treadmill Require?

It’s important to remember that most exercise machines appear much smaller online or in the showroom than they will once you have them in your home. For this reason, it’s important to compare the treadmill specifications with the space you’re planning to use it in. Remember that you’ll need extra space on the sides and back of the treadmill as well. At least 6 to 7 feet behind the back end is recommended. You also want to pay attention to the overhead clearance. The incline function can add several inches to a runner’s height. If you’re already tall you don’t want to be bouncing your head off the ceiling.

What If I Only Use My Treadmill for Walking?

It may seem counterintuitive, but walking can be harder on a treadmill motor than running. Part of this has to do with the fact that your feet will be constantly in contact with the belt. The other reason that walking may cause more wear and tear on a treadmill motor is that it’s easier to walk a lot longer than it is to run. Extended sessions can lead to motor wear. So, if you plan on using your treadmill for walking rather than running, it’ll be more important to invest in a powerful motor rather than a fast one.

What Do I Need to Look for If I Use My Treadmill for Running?

If running is going to be your main reason for getting a treadmill, belt length is probably the number one factor to look at. A belt that’s too short won’t let you completely extend your stride. The extra width will also make it easier to concentrate on running rather than worrying about falling off the treadmill. You’ll also want to know the shock-absorbing qualities of the deck. Running is a high-impact exercise and a treadmill without any cushioning will soon become uncomfortable to run on. For the most serious runners, rubber slatted treadmills are the strongest while providing the most shock absorption. Speed will also be a factor when running on a treadmill. And while you can get treadmills that can reach speeds close to 30 mph for sprinting, you won’t be doing that for very long periods of time – if at all. If you’re looking to run long distances, 10 mph is equivalent to running a six-minute mile, while 12 mph will earn you a five-minute mile.

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