Statistics tell us that most people do not walk two thousand steps a day. Most days, we go to, and sit down, sit in the car or public transport. Then return home to have diner, and watch the tv, before doing it all over again the next day.
When we live our lives this way, it is easy to put on weight and become unhealthy. And this is what can lead to diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
Don’t let this get you down, as there is a simple solution. It is called physical activity. And some of the best forms of physical activity to help keep you in shape are running and jogging.
It would be great if the weather is always beautiful and we could go out for a run anytime we felt like it. Just jump outside, in the fresh air, with our lungs filled with lovely, fresh oxygen. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
So we have to deal with the cards we have got! And treadmills can help us keep fit from the comfort of our home, at any time of the day, without worrying about the weather.
But what Are The Benefits Of A Treadmill Workout? I hear you say!
The benefits of training on a treadmill are the same as those of running outside: the cardiovascular system is strengthened, endurance develops, muscles and immunity are strengthened, stress is reduced, and excess weight is lost. The treadmill will allow you to run or walk at a brisk pace regardless of the weather. Also, there is no risk of catching a cold, getting caught in the rain in the fall, breathing in the cold winter air, or sweating in the summer heat.
- During a workout, different muscle groups work, not just the legs.
- It is possible to run at the same pace for the selected time, which is necessary for tempo training.
- Jogging is carried out on a flat surface with shock absorption, unlike the roadway, therefore it is excellent for prevention or recovery from injuries.
- If there is no uphill climb on the street, then on the treadmill such conditions can be created by changing the angle of the platform.
- There is no connection to weather conditions and any other circumstances that interfere with training.
- Using a treadmill, it is easier to practice your running technique, control your heart rate, pressure, and breathing, monitor your speed and distance traveled.
- It is possible to calculate calorie consumption.
- Some treadmill models remember preset settings and can even create a workout program based on the user’s weight, age, and height.
How to choose the right treadmill
For the classes to take place with maximum benefit, it is important to purchase a model that matches the purpose correctly. The treadmill should meet your needs in many ways:
- The dimensions should be sufficient to accommodate the treadmill at home so that it does not occupy most of the room. For a small apartment, it is better to choose a folding or portable model.
- The length of the treadmill directly depends on the height of the person: the taller the user, the greater the width of his stride. Not only comfort during training depends on the size of the moving belt, but also safety: the wider and longer the belt, the less likely it is to jump off and fall. The length of the belt can be from 90 to 160 cm, and the width is from 32 to 60 cm. If the path is chosen exclusively for walking, you can choose the model with a narrow belt.
- Load capacity is one of the main parameters when buying a treadmill. The maximum weight of the user must meet the technical requirements of the device, otherwise, rapid wear or even breakdown is possible. The design load of the simulator should be several kilograms more than the weight of the heaviest user.
- Some structures can weigh up to 160 kg, and the more the weight, the more shock, and vibration are absorbed during training.
- The maximum speed of the belt is selected, taking into account the degree of physical fitness of the user and the goals that he sets for himself. For walking, a speed of up to 10 km / h is enough, with an average level of physical fitness – 10-16 km / h, and an experienced athlete needs a model that can accelerate more than 20 km / h.
- Adjusting the incline angle will allow you to diversify your workouts, creating an imitation of climbing uphill and increasing the load.
- In addition to these criteria, it is worth considering the functionality of the home treadmill: you need to decide whether you need pace meters, time meters, pulse meters, blood pressure, and other parameters.
A home treadmill should have a sturdy frame, a secure running belt, and a user-friendly display. By design and principle of operation, treadmills are of three types: mechanical, magnetic, and electrical tracks.
Types of treadmills
What is a mechanical treadmill?
The advantages of a mechanical treadmill are economy, ease of use, and maintenance. Such paths are compact and inexpensive, do not need a power source, and can be used anywhere: in an apartment, on the veranda of a country house, or in the country. The level of load in the mechanical treadmill is controlled by the incline of the treadmill or by the braking force of the front shaft.
The mechanical treadmill is driven by the movement of the athlete’s legs, so it is not suitable for beginners who are not used to keeping a constant pace while running. It is also not recommended to use such simulators for people with joint problems or varicose veins due to the lack of shock absorption and additional loads on the legs. In a mechanical track, there is no way to set a specific program or get extended information about the state of the body during classes, because there are either no sensors at all, or there are few of them.
What is a magnetic treadmill?
The magnetic treadmill is also driven by the user’s feet, but unlike the mechanical belt, where the movement is jerky, the belt moves more smoothly and evenly. This is achieved since the drive magnetizes the web, pulling it to the base along its entire length. Different load levels are adjustable without changing the angle of inclination. This option is somewhat more expensive than a mechanical device, but most often it is equipped with a display that shows heart rate, distance, movement speed, and calorie consumption.
What is an electric treadmill?
This is the most popular type of treadmill, although it is more expensive, larger, heavier, and depends on the power source. The movement of the web is provided by an electric motor, so the speed can be adjusted within wide limits. The smooth running of the belt allows an athlete of any age and level of training to train, as well as to use sports equipment for people who need walking for rehabilitation.
The electric treadmill is controlled by a microcomputer, with which you can adjust the angle of inclination of the base, draw up your training program and control various parameters of both exercises and the state of the body. Depending on the class of the device, there can be programs from 6-8 to 20 for premium tracks. Some devices allow you to listen to music or watch movies while exercising and even connect to the Internet or mobile devices via Wi-Fi.
What the treadmill consists of
Despite a large number of models of treadmills and the differences in the principle of their operation, the basic structural elements are identical for all.
The main elements of the treadmill
- The main element of the track is a movable running belt.
- There are models with and without handrails of various lengths. Most simple treadmills, such as foldable ones, do not have handrails.
- Console display showing workout parameters such as speed, distance traveled, workout time, automatic programs menu, and other data.
- Touch or telemetric heart rate monitor. The budget models do not have a heart rate monitor.
- Electric treadmills are equipped with an emergency shutdown system in the form of a key on a cord with a clothespin that attaches to the runner’s clothing. In simpler mechanical and magnetic models, there is no electronic shutdown, because the belt speed is set by the user.
- Track drive mechanism or electric motor.
- Metal frame framing the running belt, damping system – deck, floor unevenness compensators.
- Additional equipment of the track: rollers for transportation, stand for a bottle with water, holder, and connectors for a smartphone or other gadgets.
What to look for when buying a treadmill for home use?
All models of running simulators can be roughly divided into two categories: home and professional.
The difference between the two is functionality and performance. Professional models are treadmills that are used constantly and by a large number of people, so the requirements for durability and performance are higher for them than for household ones, both in terms of the time of use and in intensity. And here a logical question arises: how to choose a treadmill for your home?
- Dimensions. Before buying a treadmill for an apartment, you need to measure the space allocated for it so that it does not take up most of the room. The most compact is mechanical folding models that can be hidden in a closet or under a bed after training.
- Weight. The heaviest are electric treadmills due to the motor, and mechanical and magnetic treadmills are much lighter, so when choosing a suitable model, you need to take into account the quality of the flooring so that the simulator does not damage it.
- Functionality. Decide if you need a variety of sensors: speed, distance, heart rate, pressure, and others.
- Price. Directly depends on the type and functionality of the treadmill. If the simulator is required for periodic maintenance training, then additional functions can be dispensed with. The cheapest mechanical tracks with limited functionality.
- Noise level. In order not to create inconvenience to neighbors and your loved ones during training, be sure to pay attention to this indicator.
Running on a treadmill is similar to walking on the ground, so it is safer and less stressful to the joints compared to exercising on asphalt or concrete. This is achieved thanks to the built-in damping system. Good cushioning reduces recoil while running by up to 42%.
What are the depreciation systems?
- In budget models of mechanical and magnetic tracks, the material of the running belt and the shock-absorbing properties of the deck act as a damper, which, by bending, dampens the shock load. Springs are sometimes used. For intense workouts, this design is poorly suited, because it does not extinguish energy, but returns it.
- In treadmills of the middle price range and above, round or square elastomer sleeves are placed between the deck and the frame. Such materials shrink under load and then immediately return to their original size. The simplest type of elastomer is rubber. The main indicator of the effectiveness of such cushioning is the thickness of the elastomer, which, depending on the model, can be from 0.5 to 3-10 cm.
- Orthopedic system. This multi-layer deck is designed to effectively absorb shock energy, minimizing stress on joints and the spine. For long, comfortable workouts, a cushioning thickness of 1.5-2 cm for running and 2-2.5 cm for running and walking is recommended.
- Variable depreciation system. It is considered the best, but also the most difficult because there are three sections on the deck with different levels of elasticity: the shock zone, the transition zone, and the push zone.
Selecting engine power with user weight
The motor is the heart of the electric treadmill. It has been established that during training it takes a load twice the weight of the runner, therefore, the more powerful the electric motor, the more durable the treadmill, the greater the maximum belt speed, and the smoother movement.
In the technical characteristics of the track, the manufacturer indicates the engine power in kW or horsepower (hp). It is worth remembering that 750 W = 1 HP. A distinction is made between nominal and peak power. Nominal is a long-term, constant mode of operation of the simulator, and the peak is possible at moments of increased loads or the moment of acceleration.
For a person of average build with a weight of 80-90 kg, a model with an electric motor with a capacity of at least 1.5-1.7 hp is needed. With a greater weight, professional or commercial purpose, this figure should be about 5 hp.
Electrical tracks can be conditionally divided into three groups:
- engine power 1-2 HP – treadmills for home,
- power 2-2.5 – tracks for amateur and semi-professional training,
- above 2.5 hp – professional treadmills.
Selecting a track size
The parameters of the walking belt may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but there are generally accepted standards:
- An ordinary running belt for a person with a height of up to 170 cm has a width of 38-40 cm and a length of 132 cm for walking or 137 cm for running. These parameters are suitable for most users, the design is compact and optimal for running at a speed of 6-10 km / h.
- Semi-professional tracks are designed for a person’s height of 170-190 cm and have the following dimensions of the canvas: width 40-45 cm, length from 140 cm for walking, and from 147 cm for running. On such a track, the optimal running speed is about 10-16 km / h.
- Professional tracks have a tape 45-50 cm wide, 147 cm long for walking, and 150 cm long for running. They are designed for maximum running speed and are suitable for athletes with a height of 190-200 cm.
For a user of average weight and height, a simulator with a speed range of 6 to 10 km / h is sufficient for walking and running. An experienced athlete will need an electric treadmill capable of reaching speeds of the order of 16 km / h. Professionals sometimes use treadmills with a speed range of up to 25 km / h.
Tilt angle and load levels
The load level depends not only on the belt speed but also on the tilt angle of the platform. The value of the load can be positive (imitation of climbing uphill) or negative (running downhill). The steeper the angle of incline, the more energy the athlete spends to overcome the distance.
In inexpensive mechanical and magnetic treadmills, the incline is manually adjusted or not available at all. In more expensive electric models, the angle of inclination is changed by pressing a button on the control panel or in fully automatic mode, for example, when choosing the “Hills” program, in which the ascents and descents smoothly alternate. The load level in some electric tracks is changed by the angle of the platform inclination, and not by the speed of the belt.
The load can be changed in one of two ways:
- stepped – provides several fixed levels, between which a choice is made without the possibility of setting intermediate values,
- stepless – the load changes smoothly in wide ranges, which allows you to more accurately set the required parameters.
Place the treadmill on a firm, level surface to avoid unnecessary vibrations, shears, or wobbles, but the weight of the structure is the determining factor of instability.
The heavier the simulator, the more stable it is, but also the smoother the running belt will be.
Also, special height adjusters in the treadmill supports are responsible for stability, twisting which, you can smooth out possible unevenness in the floor and get rid of swinging. Also, for greater stability, it is worth placing a rug under the track. This will not only allow the simulator to stand more securely in its place but also reduce noise and vibration levels, which is especially important when training at home.
How to use the treadmill
When exercising on a treadmill, certain rules must be followed: firstly, to avoid health problems and, secondly, for the effectiveness of training and getting the best result.
- Before classes, you need to warm up the muscles and tune in to the movement of the canvas. For this, 5-10 minutes of walking at an average pace is enough.
- No need to hold onto handrails or a console. The handrail is only used to safely stand on and off the running belt.
- When running, you need to keep upright, not leaning forward, and keep your arms bent at the elbows at right angles.
- To minimize stress on the legs, steps should be frequent and short. When walking, you need to step in the middle of the foot, and not on the heel, so as not to load the knee and not to lift the leg high from the canvas.
- It is important to keep track of the number of steps: the more steps are taken per minute, the more effective the workout. Simple tip: Count your steps per minute and try to double that number by taking shorter, more frequent steps.
- You should not look down and watch your legs while running – this will change the position of the body, which can lead to a loss of coordination, and subsequently to pain in the back and cervical spine. The best option is to look straight ahead.
- You must remember to drink because when exercising on a treadmill indoors, the body loses more moisture than when exercising outside. Keeping a water bottle within easy reach is essential to maintain a healthy water balance.
- After finishing your workout, you need to cool down and normalize your heart rate before leaving the treadmill. A 5-minute walk in a quiet mode is enough for this.
- Do not jump off the track at high speed and jump onto it at full speed.
- Running needs appropriate clothing and footwear: lightweight, breathable.
Preset programs, training programs
Different models of treadmills may have a different number of preset modes, but the basic ones are the same for all manufacturers. Here is a list of the main programs:
- Manual control (MANUAL). Track and load parameters are user-definable and remain unchanged until a new adjustment.
- Custom programs (CUSTOM). In this mode, you can independently choose the speed and angle of inclination of the belt, the intensity, and the duration of the workout. The settings you set are saved in the treadmill’s memory and can then be selected from the menu.
- Quick start (QUICK START). Most often used as a warm-up to warm up the muscles before a hard workout. The mode turns on immediately after pressing the corresponding key.
- Interval (INTERVAL). In this program, periods of exercise and rest alternate, which allows you to maximally strengthen the cardiovascular system due to active oxygen consumption.
- Fat burning (FAT BURN). The mode is aimed at actively removing subcutaneous fat deposits through prolonged training at a constant low load.
- Program for training berry muscles (GLUTE). In this mode, the treadmill’s treadmill automatically adjusts to a specific incline.
- Burning calories (CALORIE). In the process of training, the intensity is brought to a predetermined maximum level, at which 2/3 of the training time passes. Calories burned are counted at the same time.
- Intensive mode (STRENGTH). Allows you to increase muscle mass, smoothly bringing the load to the maximum level and holding it for 1/4 of the workout, after which the intensity decreases.
- Random sequence (RANDOM). In this mode, the load level changes in a random order, adding variety to the training process.
- Cooldown (COOLDOWN). The staggered stopping of the treadmill allows you to gradually release muscle tension and restore your heart rate after an intense workout.
- Hills. This mode smoothly changes the incline of the treadmill to simulate walking or running on hilly terrain, going uphill and going downhill.
- Track (TRACK). Using this mode, the user must cover a given distance to assess the dynamics of training results.
Heart rate-dependent treadmill programs. By changing various parameters, the preset heart rate value is maintained, which is measured by a telemetry or touch sensor.
- Target heart rate (TARGET HRT). The required heart rate is maintained by automatically changing the resistance to movement.
- Heart rate accounting “interval” (HRT INTERVAL). The required heart rate is maintained by alternating the exercise level.
- Heart rate tracking “hills” (HRT HILL). Changing the angle of inclination of the treadmill occurs in such a way that the target heart rate is maintained.
- Fitness test (FITNESS TEST). The program allows you to assess the degree of current physical fitness. The heart rate sensor evaluates the heart rate immediately after training. Depending on the time it takes for the pulse to return to normal, the user’s fitness level is determined.
What else will be useful in addition to the track itself
Many models of treadmills are equipped with heart rate sensors, can calculate the distance traveled, exercise time, calorie consumption, and determine the number of other parameters. If your simulator does not support these functions, it is worth purchasing a fitness bracelet that will be useful not only during training but also in everyday life.
Also, there are several free mobile applications with which you can create a personal training program on the treadmill or use preset ones, count the number of steps, the intake, and consumption of calories.
For example, the Treadmill app can be linked to your Google Account using Google Fit to monitor all your physical activity and health data. By opening access to other applications and your devices, you can get the training history in the form of graphs or a list.
Let’s summarize to find the right treadmill for you:
- If your goal is to achieve certain results in running, buy a treadmill with the required speed level and training monitoring systems.
- The display should be easy to read.
- Choose the width and length of the running belt depending on the type of training (walking, slow or fast running) and your height.
- When buying an electric treadmill, purchase a model with a capacity of at least 1.5 HP if your weight is in the range of 80-90 kg. More weight requires a more powerful engine.
- If there is a choice between a professional and a semi-professional model, it is better to take a professional one. Such a track will last longer and the money spent will pay off.
- To avoid problems with the musculoskeletal system as a result of training, choose a model with good cushioning.
- When purchasing an electric treadmill, make sure it comes complete with a safety key.
- The console should be equipped with a water bottle holder.
- For beginners, a magnetic model will suffice, and for an athlete or someone with joint or spinal problems, only an electric treadmill is needed.