This is a very impressive piece of kit at first glance. With its sturdy frame and large running area (1400 x 400), it would sit well in any home gym. Storage is not a problem either as it folds easily (thanks to the hydraulic pump) to be stored under a bed or in a cupboard. Ideal for a spare bedroom. It is rather heavy though, so you won’t want to be doing this too often. It is fairly easy to assemble but the instructions are in pidgin English and very difficult to follow.
The treadmill is ideal for women who don’t feel safe jogging along the streets at night, or for anyone who doesn’t get time to go to the gym. Using this treadmill is also much kinder on the joints than road running due to its built-in shock absorbers. There are six levels of absorption on the Olympic DK-19 to help prevent fatigue in the joints making this great for arthritis sufferers or those recovering from injury.
It is also ideal for people with all levels of fitness and ability. Starting on the flat and at a moderate speed, fitness can be very quickly built up and by adjusting the pitch slightly for each session the level of effort increases without too much additional strain on the muscles. This is great for building stamina, enabling the user to increase the length of each session gradually. Over a period of 30 days, you can go from 5 minutes to 45 minutes very easily. The maximum incline is 5%, or 1:20 for those who prefer the older measure, which is a decent range for most people. If you want to put more effort in just ramp up the speed. This treadmill has a top speed of 14km/hr, which is adequate for most serious runners. There are 12 pre-set programmes on the easy to use central console, giving this piece of equipment a great range to suit any level of fitness and age. This enables the user to cool down and bring the heart rate down gradually in a much more natural way.
With the controls on the handle bars it is easy to adjust the speed without losing balance. The LCD screen in the central console displays time, speed, heart rate and calories burned during the session. Pulse is checked through sensors on the handle bars, so contact with these would have to be maintained if heart rate was an important factor. It may be better to wear a wristband heart rate monitor so the arms can be carried in a much more natural position when running.
The plug and play USB port enables the user to play music through the built-in speakers, so you can sing your brains out as you run, a great way to take your mind off the pain!
When compared to other exercise machines, a lot is down to individual preferences. Cross trainers or elliptical machines are far less expensive and rely solely on the user’s effort, so no power point required. However, you do need to be at a reasonable level of fitness, especially in the legs, to begin with. Walking or jogging is far more natural, and therefore the treadmill comes much easier to those just starting out on a training regime or recovering from illness.
Exercise bikes are another option to consider. Like the cross trainer, exercise bikes do not require a power point and have the advantage of not putting excessive strain on the joints. They differ in style and cost, from a simple foldable frame with a few set levels of resistance to the all singing, all dancing “gym spec” bike. Again, it is a matter of individual choice.
Rowing machines are popular too, but these are not suitable for everybody. As with cross trainers, you do need a degree of fitness to start with.
Many prefer a treadmill because of the flexibility in usage. It is a natural thing to walk or run so you already have the muscle memory.
The Olympic DK-19 is at the low end of mid-range in terms of cost (available for less than £300) but its impressive specification and heavy build give it a much higher range feel, and if you happen to be on the large side (maximum weight is 110kg, or just over 17 stone) you should feel comfortable and confident when using this machine due to the duel layered running board. The 1.75HP motor comes with a good 6-year warranty and is more than adequate to power the treadmill.
There is an emergency stop feature that should give peace of mind to the novice or elderly user. Just remember to stop running when you hit the button!
Overall, this is a very good addition to any home gym, and if you only had room for one piece of equipment, the Olympic DK-19 is well worth considering, particularly if you are used to running as a means of exercise. Yes, there are cheaper models around, but you do tend to get what you pay for with gym equipment. It is better to have good quality with fewer features than something that promises everything but falls apart after a year’s usage. Getting fit or maintaining fitness is very much a state of mind, and you need to be disciplined and determined, so the last thing you want is equipment that lets you down.
Setting up a gym in the home goes a long way to showing the commitment to a fitter lifestyle but you will need to consider your budget, the space available, who will be using the equipment and how often will it be used. Make sure you measure the space available because a fold up treadmill might look compact but when it is laid flat it will look a whole lot bigger.