For a large number of people, a treadmill can be the ideal choice for a fitness tool in the home. If you like walking, jogging or running, the treadmill can help you achieve your fitness goals quickly and efficiently in the comfort of your own home. Walking and running are two of the most efficient form of exercise due to the fact that in order to do them, you must move your whole body and bear the weight of your whole body (thus the term weight bearing exercise). This causes you to do the most work possible in the shortest period of time, burning a maximum number of calories and improving the condition of your heart and complete cardiovascular system. For most of us who have very busy lives, achieving these goals in the shortest time possible, make the treadmill ideal.
Like most mechanical devices, a treadmill is a tool that can help you accomplish a task. Therefore, the kind of tool you choose should be determined by exactly what you want to be able to do and what your expectations are. Here are a few things that you may want to consider before you start shopping.
  1. Are you going to use the treadmill to run, walk or both?
  2. How many people will use the treadmill?
  3. Are you a large, small or average sized person?
  4. Where are you going to put the treadmill?
  5. Do you currently use Heart Rate when you work out?
  6. Do you have any impact related ailments, like knee or back pain?
  7. Do you like to use technology to help you achieve tasks?
  8. How much “maintenance” are you willing to do?
These are just a few things to think about as you get started. In fact, you will probably hear these same questions from one of our fitness experts as they help fit you properly with a treadmill that will meet your needs.

Key Treadmill Features to Consider:

1. Frame size and weight:

Basically, bigger heavier treadmills can handle more work and are more comfortable. A simple rule of thumb is that the treadmill should weigh more that the largest user. If you are planning on running on it and it is lighter than you, it will bounce around and feel unstable while in use. That will make it uncomfortable at the very least, but it also shortens the life of the unit due to the fact that excessive vibration will wear out parts faster. Clearly, if you are walking, this is less of an issue.

2. Quality:

Some treadmills are designed first to be inexpensive. Others are designed to stand the test of time and daily use for hours at a time. A simple way to tell what the manufacturer intends, is to look at the overall warranty. There are a few parts that are quite durable and the maniufacturer can warranty these items for a long time without much risk. For instance, the frame and motor, often carry very long warranties, up to and including “Lifetime.” Conversely, the parts that are most susceptible to problems and have the highest repair costs typically have the shorter warranty coverage. These items, referred to as “Parts” consist of items such as computer, belt, deck, rollers and other wear components. In less expensive treadmills, these parts are typically covered for 90 days or less. With higher quality machines, typically found in specialty fitness stores, the parts are covered for 5 or even 10 years of ownership. A look at a brand’s warranty coverage is a good indicator on the value of that particular product.

3. Shock reduction:

Most treadmills today have some kind of technology designed to reduce impact. Unfortunately, they are not all the same. In order to be truly effective the impact of running needs to be dispersed rather that “rebounding” the energy back to you and feeling bouncy. We recommend that you thoroughly test a number of treadmills before you buy anything, as you will be able to tell the difference.

4. Technology:

Treadmills, like other advanced-technology equipment, come with many distinctly different options. We suggest that you work with an American Home Fitness expert to figure out what tools will help you achieve your goals. For example, many treadmill purchasers want to loose weight. For them, simply utilizing a treadmill 3 or more times per week will be beneficial. In working to reach their weight loss goal, they may also want to consider programming tools that utilize heart rate, for example, or a customized “weight loss program” that is part of the treadmill’s programming. This may help the user achieve their goal more quickly and provide them a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. When you’re in the store trying out the treadmill models, make sure you take the time to play with the console buttons and start different programs to ensure that you are comfortable with how the console works and understand the benefits the programs can provide. If you have any questions, just ask your America Home Fitness expert.

5. Maintenance:

The treadmill has the unique distinction as the hardest working machine in any gym. This is due to the fact that it has to be able to pull a human (weighing anywhere from 100lbs to 300+lbs) across its deck surface on a fabric belt, which creates a lot of friction. Some machines require routine maintenance adding a lubricant between the deck and belt surface, usually 1-3 times per year. This can be a fine system, providing that it gets done on a timely basis. Some premium treadmills have technology that takes care of this by itself and are labeled as “No Maintenance”. Both systems can be effective. However, we do find that statistically, units that require maintenance fall victim to our busy lives and neglected maintenance, and consequently tend to require more service calls on average.

6. Service life:

There is a wide range of quality in treadmills, and that holds true service as well. As with anything mechanical, treadmills may occasionally need the attention of a qualified technician. A big question to ask before you buy a treadmill, is WHO does the service? There are retailers that essentially have no service network. Purchasing from a fitness specialist like American Home Fitness will give you added peace of mind. We provide service and support long after the sale on all the brands we sell.

7. FUN!:

How many things do you do regularly that bore you? Probably not many. Statistics show that variety in your workout leads to greater satisfaction and a higher success rate of meeting your goals. If at all possible you should enjoy your experience as you are training or working out. Ask your friends and family who own treadmills how they like them. If they say “its alright”, it may not be an enjoyable experience for them. If they respond, “I love my treadmill”, which one do you suppose gets utilized more? Don’t underestimate programming options that you might not be familiar with. They may offer a fresh experience that keeps you active and motivated for a long period of time.