Should you go for a treadmill or stick to the tracks? How do you choose a treadmill for personal use, and which brands are the best for your needs? Here are in-depth answers to these questions.
When to Use a Treadmill
Outdoor running is an excellent fitness activity. You have the benefit of the fresh air, and depending on where you run, the beauty of nature as well. Additionally, it allows you to run at your pace without trying to match a predetermined speed. Furthermore, research shows that you use more energy when running outdoors because you have no aid, besides the occasional winds.
However, you cannot always run outside. Sometimes, the weather does not permit, in other cases; your fitness needs require a more systematic running that only a treadmill offers. Here are some of the situations where a treadmill beats outdoor running.
This is no brainer. Running outdoors can be impossible when it is raining or during the icy cold months of winter. It gets complicated when you have underlying health issues that worsen with extreme weather.
Consequently, when living in areas with prolonged winters, then a treadmill is an excellent solution. You might miss your outdoors, but it will keep you fit and healthy.
However, the treadmill is not a solution just for rainy days.
Sometimes, you wish to achieve specific goals such as running at a certain pace, keeping a specific tempo for a specific duration or running a given mileage. Achieving this can be impossible if you are on your own with just the open road.
A treadmill provides a conditioned environment that allows you to achieve specific fitness goals. Once you have managed to develop the desired ability on this artificial running field, it will be easier to replicate the same on the hard surface. It is for this reason that a treadmill is part of the training of track athletes.
The bones take the brute of running. While a few hard knocks are necessary for building strong bones, it might be counterproductive. Sometimes it is necessary to give your joints a break by running on a softer surface. It helps them remain healthier for a longer time.
Protecting the bones is especially important as one age since the rate of regeneration of bones is slower than in younger people. A treadmill is consequently a better alternative than running on hard surface outdoors.
In certain cases, your bones are already affected, by either arthritis or accidents. Exercising the joints is essential. Nonetheless, running outdoors increases the impact on the bones, which can worsen the condition and impair recovery.
A treadmill comes in handy in several ways. First, you can set the pace and inclination to what you can manage. You can get off the machine as soon as you feel you need rest and walk to your couch. If you were outdoors, then you will have to walk back to the house, albeit the pain.
In some cases, you might want to monitor the performance of body vitals. You can put on several wearables on when you are running outdoors to monitors your heart rate and other body vital organs. However, controlling these measured parameters within the acceptable limit is your duty or that of the monitoring person.
Some treadmills eliminate the limitations of running outside with additional features such as cardio trainer. Others such as the Nero Pro treadmill have Bluetooth connectivity to connect to Bluetooth enabled wearables.
How to Choose a Suitable Treadmill
Do you feel that it is time you added a treadmill to your home’s physical fitness training rig? Here is a quick guide on how to choose one from the many options you will find in the market.
Manual vs. Motorised Treadmill
While most modern treadmills are electrically powered, you might need to use a manual treadmill like Fitnessclub. With manual options, you power the belt by moving your feet. You also change the incline manually. However, it takes more effort, which makes them more suitable for walking rather than running.
It is an essential consideration when buying big home fitness equipment such as a treadmill. Poor budgeting can make this decision a financial suicide, especially if you end up with a lemon deal.
The best practice is to set the limit of how much you can spend on the machine. Nonetheless, it is worth remembering other cost-related factors such as comfort, ease, and durability.
Horsepower of the Treadmill
Horsepower, HP, and continuous horsepower, CHP, are the measurement of the energy the treadmill delivers. High is not necessarily better. Your weight, frequency of use, and how long you intend to spend on the treadmill per session are some of the factors to consider. 2.5 to 3.0HP is adequate if you plan to use the treadmill daily. Choose high HP treadmills such as the 4.5HP JLL T350 and 6.5 HP Branx Fitness if you are heavy.
A treadmill looks smaller when at the store than when opened up. Ensure you measure your space to ensure your purchase fits. Folding treadmills like the PrestigeSports XM-PROIII Treadmill 2019 Model is an excellent choice if you have limited space. However, even these options still take some space.
Important features to consider on the running surface are the length, width, and belt thickness. The length of a treadmill deck ranges between 45 inches to 60 inches. A longer surface is suitable for running and those who have long strides.
People with a wider physique require a wider deck. The width is between 16 to 22 inches. Belt thickness determines the level of cushioning and comfort to the legs. Some belts have inbuilt shock absorbers.
Treadmills come with additional features such as pre-loaded workouts, apps and wireless compatibility, and several other built-ins. You may have to pay more for these features.