Running and walking offers many great benefits, such as improving your physical well-being and helping you clear out your mind in times of stress. But what happens if after you’ve been sitting in front of a computer all day, and you want to go for a run but the weather outside doesn't allow for it? In these cases, a treadmill is exactly what you need.
Treadmills help you maintain physical endurance, and they are also a good stimulus to lose weight or simply tone up your body. We know nothing compares to running and walking outdoors, but sometimes it is simply impossible due to harsh climates. This is why a treadmill can be the perfect product for staying fit.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Treadmills
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Treadmills
- 5 Do treadmills provide aerobic or anaerobic exercise?
- 6 Purchase Criteria
- 7 Summary
- Historically called a treadwheel, treadmills are devices for walking or running without leaving the comfort of your home.
- This type of equipment is ideal in the northern states, if your winters are especially harsh, or if you’re from states like Nevada, where temperatures can reach over 140 °F in the evenings. Moreover, people with sedentary jobs or with tight schedules also appreciate treadmills.
- Two types of treadmills currently exist: manual treadmills and motorized treadmills.
Our Selection: The Best Treadmills
Here are the best treadmills available. Whether you need to complement your training or just want to strengthen your immune system for the winter, take a good look at the characteristics of each product and think your goals through before making your final decision. Let's get started!
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Treadmills
Treadmills are one of the best-selling cardiovascular exercise machines in the world, and many models are available in The United States. Naturally you won't have the same needs if you consider exercise a hobby or you do it because of doctor's orders. Because buyers may have different deeds, in this section we have answered all the most frequently asked questions from other treadmill users.
What is a treadmill exactly?
A treadmill is a machine for walking or running that aims to provide access to cardiovascular exercise within an enclosed space. Operating either via manual or motorized propulsion, it tends to integrate various training programs. Doctors can recommend the use of a treadmill as part of a rehabilitation routine, for example.
What types of treadmills are available?
As mentioned above, there are essentially two types: the motorized or electric treadmill, and the manual treadmill. The latter model is powered by the user's running motion, while electric treadmills featuring a motor are used both in sports facilities and at home. Here are the main differences between the two:
|Type of treadmill||Manual||Motorized|
|Motion||Works with the user's movement.||It requires an engine to start.|
|Rhythm||It depends on your movement.||It depends on the training program you choose.|
|Price||Cheaper than electric treadmills.||There is a wide range of prices.|
|Incline||It must be set manually or carried out when the machine is not in use.||Various tilt angles that the user can select during training.|
|Function||Designed for relaxed walking or running.||Functions vary according to models.|
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a treadmill?
Exercising is always beneficial for both your physical and emotional well-being. We know that walking or running outdoors ultimately requires more effort than doing so in a gym or at home.
The following table introduces you to the many benefits and the few disadvantages of treadmills:
Why do we say that the treadmill boosts cardiovascular activity?
The first modern medical treadmill was used by Dr. Robert Bruce in 1952. Known to many as "the father of cardio exercise," he was a cardiologist who conducted research to diagnose heart diseases. He developed the Bruce Protocol, a test still used today to evaluate heart function.
What are the health benefits of treadmills?
Maintaining a healthy weight isn't the only reason why staying active is vital. A treadmill can offer many great benefits to your health. The following list shows you exactly why a treadmill is essential if, for example, you work exclusively in front of the computer:
- Beneficial to mental health and motivation. When you do aerobic exercise, your brain releases endorphins, a chemical compound that makes you happier. Treadmills can therefore directly contribute to the relief of depression and anxiety.
- Improved cardiovascular health. It helps increase heart strength and blood flow in your body. A stronger heart leads to lower blood pressure. It also contributes to lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. Most treadmills include a heart rate monitor.
- Decreased impact on joints and more flexible joints. By buffering your footsteps, the treadmill helps prevent ankle, knee and back problems.
- Easy to use. One thing we love about a treadmills is
that they are extremely easy to use. Virtually no effort is involved in setting them up or getting started. Just press a few buttons on the control panel and you're set to go!
- Muscle tone. A treadmill helps strengthen your
musculatory system. Your leg muscles will develop as you increase your running, and muscles in your lower limbs will become more toned.
- You are in control. When you exercise on a treadmill, you control both speed and incline. You can even manage the warm-up and cool-down, as well as the energy you spend.
- It reduces the risk of certain diseases. Such as diabetes, depression, arthritis or insomnia among others.
Do treadmills provide aerobic or anaerobic exercise?
Treadmills usually allow you to do aerobic exercise, a type of training consisting of long-lasting exercises at low or medium intensity. Keep in mind that your body needs oxygen to burn fats and carbohydrates. This kind of exercise is ideal for your cardiovascular system, and running, walking or swimming are examples of it.
Treadmills also give you the opportunity to do anaerobic training when doing sprints or interval training. The higher intensity of this type of exercise makes it ideal for burning fat. It has grown considerably in popularity in recent years: it is extremely effective and time-efficient.
What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise?
Oxygen is a lesser factor during anaerobic training because the energy comes from muscles or glucose, among others. This type of exercise consists of a short duration and high intensity, such as in weightlifting or sprinting. Generally speaking, this form of training allows you to work on your musculoskeletal system.
What is the goal of aerobic exercise?
The aim is essentially to develop muscular and cardiovascular endurance. You need energy to walk, run, swim or ride a bike. This process, for which oxygen is required, leads to you burning fat and carbohydrates. Unlike anaerobic exercise, aerobic exercise won't increase your muscle mass but rather your muscle capacity.
What are the different types of aerobic training?
This type of exercise is usually seen as either high or low impact. While helping you take your mind off everyday problems, aerobic training also improves cardiovascular fitness and keeps your body healthy. The following table introduces you to the differences between high-impact and low-impact aerobic exercise:
|Low-impact aerobic exercise||High-impact aerobic exercise|
|Examples|| Walking, swimming, climbing stairs, rowing,
rock climbing, skiing
|Running, dancing, tennis, squash|
|Recommended for||Almost anyone in a healthy condition.||Only athletes and people in good physical condition.|
|Frequency||According to some research, three or more hours per week reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 65%.||Sessions should last at least 20 minutes. Three sessions a week is more than enough for a beginner.|
What are the benefits of aerobic exercise?
Sedentary people should begin aerobic exercise gradually, with no more than five to ten minutes every day. They can then move on to three to seven times a week, with training sessions of no less than 30 minutes. The benefits of aerobic exercise greatly contribute to the overall good health of your body. Here is a list of those advantages:
- Reduces stress
- Increases endurance
- Continuous aerobic training lowers blood pressure
- By decreasing body fat it helps reduce weight
- Reduces and prevents coronary risk and diseases
- By oxygenating the body lung capacity is improved
- Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases levels of good cholesterol (HDL)
- By releasing endorphins it improves self-esteem
- Reduces fat all over the body
- Increases the level of calcium absorption
- Prevents osteoporosis
A wide range of treadmill models are available on the Canadian market, and you should always compare different products before making your final decision. This section will show you some of the most important criteria to help you purchase the right product according to your needs.
- Maximum Speed
- Shock-Absorbing System
- Degree of Inclination
- Treadmill Dimensions
Nowadays, treadmills can integrate a variety of different useful functions. While beginners may not generally take them into account, an amateur or professional runner will. Let's take a look at these features and their purpose in the following list:
- Heart rate monitor. It is an important aspect to avoid injuries. Certain treadmills can control the pulse and automatically regulate the speed or incline to adjust the intensity of training.
- Display screen. This is the "brain" of your treadmill. The screen will show data such as calories burned, time spent or speed. Make sure it is not too small so that you can comfortably keep track of your workout.
- Folding treadmill. Take a good look at this useful functionality before you buy your treadmill: a folding equipment will save you space.
- Programs. Your treadmill should include a variety of training programs, which will help you visualize your progress and stay motivated.
Treadmills with a top speed of 10 km/h are usually enough for walkers, beginners and people wanting to lose weight. Runners with greater athletic goals will need to opt for equipment with higher maximum speeds. The starting speed should be 1 km/h.
Power can be measured in hp (horsepower) or in watts (W), one hp being the equivalent of 735 W. A person weighing over 80 kilograms should opt for a treadmill with at least 1,200 W. Don't forget that the higher the inclination, the less power the treadmill will require. As mentioned earlier, it is also important that the treadmill can support your weight.
Our feet receive all the impact when we walk or run. It is therefore important for the treadmill to have a specific damping system that will help you protect your joints. Wearing suitable footwear and protecting the floor with a mat are also things you should keep in mind.
Degree of Inclination
Regardless of whether you are a beginner or a professional runner, inclination is a key factor. Its aim is to allow you to progressively increase your effort. Your general health is very important in this regard, and you should avoid inclination if you have knee or ankle problems. If this is the case, you should also consult your doctor prior to any use of a treadmill.
Your treadmill's safety mechanisms are crucial. As you can see from our list of products, most include a system to prevent accidents. You should also make sure that the treadmill does not stop abruptly and that it starts up slowly, as conveyed by the minimum speed mentioned previously.
If you are at least 180 cm tall, this characteristic is particularly important for you. The running surface of the model should be at least 46 x 130 cm. This aspect loses relevance for people shorter than 180 cm. On the other hand, if you tend to be on the heavier side, look carefully at how much weight is supported by the machine so as not to force and damage its structure.
We may have overlooked our health for decades, but it is gaining more and more importance. The rhythm of modern society and our sedentary jobs are making it increasingly harder for us to exercise. However, physical and emotional well-being is becoming a priority for many people. This is the reason why treadmills have come to be so popular: whether in the gym or at home, sport is always beneficial to your health.
We hope this article gave you insights on why treadmills can be vital to you, particularly if your winter doesn't allow you regular outdoors runs or the climate in your state doesn't often like to cooperate. The many functionalities with which they are available, make treadmills interesting products, and you should choose the one that best suits your goals.
(Source of featured image: Dotschok: 37459682/123rf.com)