What is a treadmill?

What is a treadmill?
What is a treadmill?
Treadmills (often referred to as running machines) are pieces of cardio equipment used for
running, jogging or walking whilst remaining in one place.
A treadmill provides a moving platform by means of a
running deck and belt. The belt is powered by an electric
motor and moves from the front to the rear, allowing the
person to walk opposite to the direction of the belt.
Manufacturers are continually reducing their manufacturing
costs. This means you can now purchase a reliable home
use treadmill for under INR 85000 and a cheap budget one
for under INR45000!
In the India we have unpredictable weather patterns
throughout the year and as winter approaches there are fewer hours of daylight. Because of
this walking, jogging and running outside can prove to be difficult. However with treadmills
you can walk, jog or run in the safety and comfort of your own home, rain or shine, day or
night!
The fitness benefits of using a treadmill
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Less impact on joints - Running on a treadmill reduces the impact on your joints
compared to running on pavements or road surfaces. To further reduce the impact
purchase a machine with an orthopaedic belt.
Reduces stress - During cardio exercise endorphins are released into your
bloodstream. This release of endorphins produces a natural high, which in turn
relieves stress.
Increases energy levels - Exercise of any kind will increase your energy levels and
running is one of the best forms of exercise to help increase your overall energy.
Increases lung capacity - Long distance running will help improve your lung
capacity, making you stronger and healthier.
Increase bone density - The impact of running on a treadmill overloads the selected
structure and causes the body to increase the density of weight bearing bones in an
effort to accommodate the stress of the activity.
Increased calorie burn - Because running is a weight bearing exercise it burns
more calories in comparison to rowing machines or exercise bikes.
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Different treadmill types
Folding Treadmills - If you are short on space a folding treadmill is the answer. Make sure if
folds easy, it's stable and has a high maximum user weight.
Non-Folding Treadmills - If you have the space a non-folding treadmill is ideal. Non-folding
treadmills tend to be slightly more stable compared to folding models.
Commercial Treadmills - Commercial treadmills are suited for a commercial environment
such as a health club or gym, they are designed for heavy usage throughout their lifetime,
which is why you will find such good warranties on commercial treadmills.
Whether its a Motorised Treadmill a Manual Treadmill a Foldable Treadmill or a
Non Folding Treadmill its important to choose the Right Treadmill
If you decide to buy and use a treadmill, it could be one of the wisest health decisions you
could make. Treadmills, particularly motorised treadmills are easy to use fitness
machines, they will improve your cardiovascular system and they provide the ideal way to
burn calories and help with weight management. If you are a runner then its all well and
good taking a run during the warm summer evenings but what happens when the winter
snow, rain and dark evenings arrive? Well thats easy, you pull down your foldable
treadmill from the cupboard under the stairs, plug it in and start jogging and the whole
family can use it as well.
But buyers beware!
There are more treadmills on the market than any other kind of fitness equipment leaving
you the consumer with a mind-boggling choice.
This is a mixed blessing. There is now a good range of quality treadmills to choose from
but there are many more treadmills out there that you should think very carefully about
before spending you’re hard earned cash.
Consider the following.
A good motor fitted to a quality treadmill will have a trade price of INR42000 plus. Yet there
are cheap treadmills on the market selling for this price. To be fair even the cheapest
treadmills will offer something to those on a tight budget but be warned, they may come
with problems. Some of these machines have been designed to last not much more than 6
months because they think that people will not be using them for much longer than that. It
sounds unbelievable but true. A lot of these fitness machines are sold on the web. They are
bought over by the container from the Far East. The web site sells them off offering all kinds
of guarantees then a few months down the line the web site disappears leaving you the
consumer with no redress. So if you see a very low priced treadmill its a case of buyer
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beware.
The following tips will help you maximize your investment, prevent you falling into any traps
and also help you reach your desired goals.
Buying your Treadmill
1. Consider who will be using the treadmill and what their specific goals are.
It is often the case that there will be more than one person in the family who will be
using the treadmill. Discussing each person’s goals will help make sure that you
purchase workout equipment that will withstand the use of multiple family members
and provide the adjustments to accommodate different size users. For example,
going for the cheapest option or buying a low quality underpowered motorised
treadmill is a common mistake, but one that can cause considerable problems,
particularly if it is being used by both a 57 and a 107 Kg person. Also will the
treadmill grow with you? In a very short time with regular use you will find your
fitness improving and as it does so you will need more from your treadmill. Will it be
able to accommodate this?
2. Go to a specialist fitness store and test the treadmill.
A specialist fitness equipment store should be able to offer a range of treadmills for
you to try. They will also be able to show you how to use the treadmill properly and
provide installation as well as show you how to do routine maintenance. Then test
the exercise equipment yourself.
Almost any treadmill will feel and seem adequate if you just walk on it for a couple of
minutes. Its only when you begin to put the treadmill through its paces by jogging or
running on it, adding elevation and using different programmes will you start to see
and feel the major difference in quality and comfort, even vibration and noise.
When you go to the store wear appropriate clothing so you can test the gym
equipment properly. A good treadmill is a major investment. Take your time.
3. Location & Space.
Consider where you are going to site your treadmill. There is no problem with putting
a treadmill upstairs as long as you appreciate that someone running hard on it will
cause some noise and vibration below. A garage is fine as long as its not damp,
which would affect the electronics. Conservatories are popular, but if its south facing
it may get to hot. If you have a gym room on the ground floor, which is something
that is growing in popularity then you have the perfect solution. Space should not be
too much of a problem today now that there is such a large range of folding
treadmills available. Don't forget that a motorised treadmill is an electric treadmill and
will therefore require power from an electric socket.
4. Features.
Easily Navigable Console
When you look at the treadmill console does it make sense? Do you intuitively know
how the buttons work? Is the screen large enough and the workout information easy
to read? The sales person will show you the basics but when you get the treadmill
home they will not be there to guide you, so make sure you feel comfortable that you
will be able to use the console with ease.
Cushioned Deck
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This is a major selling point for all treadmills now, but not all cushioning systems are
the same. The ideal absorption system should be one that feels firm and stable when
you run yet still forgiving. It should not feel soft and spongy and slap back at you.
This kind of cushioning could cause knee injuries over time and also wear out
quickly. Good quality treadmills from respected manufacturers provide cushioning
that is researched based and can show evidence on why their system works. There
should be methodology in the system other than simply putting in rubber spacers or
dampeners. Some treadmills now come with orthopaedic belts, which subtly enhance
the cushioning further. The only way you can be sure you like the feel of the
cushioning is to test the treadmill. Remember anything that will make your workout
more comfortable will result in you sticking with it and achieving your desired goals.
Adequate Motor
This is where the confusion really starts. Don’t be fooled by the ‘bigger is always
better’ rhetoric. There is more to a treadmill motor than its size. What you should look
for is a continuous duty HP motor (continuous duty is a measure of horsepower
under regular anticipated use and is far more meaningful than ‘peak’ horsepower). In
reality 2.0HP and above should be sufficient for any user as long as the rest of the
motorised treadmills components are of a high quality. For example a good cooling
mechanism will reduce the heat generated by the motor and other major
components, prolonging their life and reducing wear on these parts. A large motor
with a poor cooling system is not a good combination as this will result in premature
wear and poor performance. However a superior cooling system and quality
electronics do not come cheap and this is why there is such a disparity in price of
motorised treadmills. Try not to focus on just the ‘big’ or ‘quiet’ motor, instead look
at the treadmill as a whole system, with matching components that work together. It
is this that makes the difference between a bog standard cheap treadmill and a
quality treadmill.
Console Feedback
An array of feedback features is available on most motorised treadmills. It is tempting
to buy one with everything but before you do, consider what is important to you and
the other users of the treadmill and how you will use it. You will certainly need the
basic information such as speed, distance, elevation and time. You then need to look
for features that will motivate and challenge you such as pace and heart rate. If you
get bored easily it may be worth investing money in a treadmill that has a range of
different workout programmes, as this will help you stay motivated.
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Folding MechanismFolding treadmills use one or two hydraulic pistons to assist with the lifting and
lowering of the running deck. Make sure the piston is good quality and does the job.
The majority of foldable treadmills have what some brands call a ‘softdrop’
mechanism. This lets the running deck drop slowly and gently without any
intervention from you. It was designed to prevent injury to young children who may
have accidentally released the treadmill from its raised locking position. These work
very well but again the quality of the piston is crucial. The locking device differs
considerably from brand to brand. Some have a simple release handle conveniently
positioned at shoulder height, others have a pivoting plate at the bottom of the
treadmill that you have to push down with your foot and others have an annoying
leaver type piston combined support that you have to pull apart. They all work
adequately but some are just easier to use.
We are often asked if foldable treadmills are less stable than a platform (nonfolding) treadmill. Years ago folding treadmills were very unstable compared with a
platform treadmill and cheap treadmills still are today. But buy a quality folder and
you will be hard pressed to feel the difference.
Belt The belt should be long enough and wide enough to accommodate your running
style, if you plan to do a lot of running then look for a belt with a width of 500mm
(20") and a length of 1400mm (55").
Speed –
The maximum speeds will vary between models. Mid range and commercial
treadmills have maximum speeds of 20kph (12mph). To give you an idea of speed,
world class runners run at an average speed of 20kph during a marathon!
Incline (Elevation) –
You can buy Manual 3 level incline which would come at lesser price or if you have
budget then and If you plan to do a lot of uphill walking or running then look for a
treadmill with an incline of 10%. Thankfully most mid range treadmills incline to 10%
(some incline to 12%).
Maximum user weights –
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Always check the maximum user weight before you purchase. Budget running
machines usually have maximum user weights of around 100kg whilst mid range
treadmills have maximum user weights of around 130kg.
Accessories –
You can purchase many accessories. At Powermax Fitness Superstore we offer
accessories such as: Floor protector Mats, Extended treadmill warranties, Heart Rate
Monitors and much more.
Remember the must haves when buying a Treadmill
• Easy to read and easy to use treadmill console
• Cushioned Deck
• Programmes and features on the treadmill that are meaningful to you
• An adequate continuous duty HP motor, 2HP or above is best
Safety and Maintenance
Running and walking on a moving piece of exercise equipment is very effective and simple,
but for the raw beginner it can also feel unsafe and fraught with quality issues if you don’t
choose wisely.
Safety Features
Look for an emergency stop button on the treadmill that is easy to see and accessible, no
matter what speed or incline you are running at. There should also be a safety tether key.
This is a key that plugs into the treadmill console and has a cord that runs from it that
attaches to your clothing. If this key is pulled out the treadmill will automatically stop.
Therefore if you fall or faint then the treadmill will not continue running which could cause
serious injury. A tether key is ideal for a beginner. Has the treadmill got heart rate features,
feedback and interactivity? All these help towards a safe and effective workout. Make sure
the treadmill has handrails that are comfortable to hold but are not intrusive. Can you run or
walk without your hands or arms hitting them? Testing in store for several minutes will help
decide this. Finally the belt speed should rise and fall in gradual increments, guaranteeing
you are always in control. When buying fitness equipment, gym equipment or any type of
workout equipment safety must always be a priority.
Maintenance
A treadmill will always require a little maintenance, after all a treadmill is a mechanical and
electronic piece of moving exercise equipment. However on a quality treadmill the
maintenance should be minimal. Once set up you should not be centring the belt or
lubricating the running deck after every workout. A well- designed unit should take in normal
wear and tear. Ask the salesman what is required. Some treadmills have reversible running
decks. This means that if normal wear and tear takes it course on the running surface the
deck can be flipped over, basically doubling the life of the running deck. This is something
that can be done by a competent owner but it is always worth asking the store what they will
charge to do it professionally. If you have bought quality, professional gym equipment then
it may be worth paying that extra to get a professional to look after it. However on a quality
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treadmill this is something that will not be require for many years.
Warranty
Today treadmill warranties are almost used as a marketing tool. Companies now compete
to offer longer and more comprehensive warranties. This is all well and good as long as the
manufacturer is still in business in 10 years time. At minimum the treadmill should have a 3
year motor warranty, 1 year electronics and 1-2 year labour cover. As with everything else
and this is probably more so with a treadmill, you get what you pay for. A treadmill has to
take an enormous amount of punishment compared to other fitness equipment. For anyone
who has regularly visited a health club they have probably found that the one piece of
equipment that is out of order more than any other is the treadmill. Therefore the better the
quality the less likely you will need to use your warranty.
Finally
Equally as important, does the dealers from whom you are purchasing the exercise
equipment, have their own service staff that are trained and authorised by the manufacturer
to service your fitness equipment. At Powermax Fitness we have our own dedicated service
engineers who have years of experience.
Why you should buy your treadmill from Powermax Fitness
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We offer an extensive range of treadmills, covering all budgets
Your treadmill warranty: All treadmills come with a minimum 1 year parts and
labour warranty. Many far exceed this with 3 and 5 year warranties depending on
Models
Treadmill delivery: Delivered direct to your door
Treadmill installation: Treadmills can be very heavy that is why we would
recommend our installation service. Installed by our own engineers.
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