Is a treadmill on the top of your holiday shopping list? Since the treadmill is the most frequently used piece of fitness equipment among Americans, there are many different models to choose from. You can avoid being overwhelmed by knowing what specific features make a treadmill comfortable and dependable.
Keep in mind that not all treadmills are created equally. What you can't see on the inside will directly impact your satisfaction. Here are tips to help you narrow your choices faster and find the treadmill that's right for you.
Drive motor. Don't be distracted by brand names. Instead, pay attention to what is under the hood. Look for a motor with a continuous-duty rating to get the smoothest operation and the longest life. Continuous duty is the commercial-grade standard applied to health club and high-quality home treadmills. It's also important to have a motor that runs at a low RPM. It will be quieter and more powerful at all speeds, which benefits both runners and walkers.
Belt & Deck. Be sure the deck length and width accommodate your stride. The area should be large, durable and comfortable. Feel the material that the belt is made of. The highest quality belts feel more like rubber and less like plastic. They are also thicker and multi-ply for increased comfort and longer life.
Cushioning. A treadmill's cushioning system should be firm and supportive, not bouncy like a trampoline. Look for a model that has a variable cushioning system that is joint-friendly and supportive. Multiple zones provide the correct amount of support for each aspect of your stride, meaning less stress on your legs and back. The proper distribution of support and shock absorption produces more effective workouts at any fitness level and provides faster recovery between workouts.
Rollers. There are two ways to hold a belt in place: tapered rollers or metal guides. Look for a belt that uses tapered rollers. They give you greater overall operating efficiency and longer belt life.
Floor space. Before you go to the store, know where in your home you'd like to use your treadmill, and take those measurements with you. If space is limited, consider a folding model, and be sure to test the folding mechanism in the store. Look for models that use hydraulic shocks that provide lift assistance to reduce the apparent weight of the deck.
Ready to shop? You can begin by checking out the newest models from Horizon Fitness, or to find a dealer near you.