Treadmills: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Treadmills can be a great benefit in your fitness program, particularly for cardiovascular exercises with
varying resistance. They can also be a huge pain-in-the-(fill in your own invective) if they are not functioning
If you are equipping an in-home fitness room, a treadmill could be a welcome addition. Treadmills enable you to
workout indoors regardless of the weather.
Most of them are adjustable in the angle of the plane (track) so you can vary the resistance. They also enable
you to work at different speeds, so you may sports walk, jog or run.
Some treadmills have computer generated exercise regimens the variety of which will take a lot of the boredom
out of cardio exercises. This machine is also a useful addition to your home gym
workout space if you are setting up one.
A good buy on a treadmill could be from an authorized re-manufacturer/reseller. These companies take used or
off-lease equipment and refurbish it with new parts in any areas prone to wear. In this manner you can acquire a
nearly new machine with a factory approved warranty.
Used equipment you might want to avoid are machines from a commercial fitness club or gym.
They are usually subjected to greater use and abuse. The best buys are often from private individuals whose
ardor for their New Years Resolution to get fit has quickly waned.
The exercises you can perform on a treadmill are limited to walking, sports walking, jogging and running.
Your treadmill workout can be pretty intense when the higher plane settings are used, along with faster speeds.
This may not be to your advantage, however.
The best fat-burning workouts are performed in
the "zone." The zone target heart rate is 85% of your maximum for most effectiveness.
Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age: A man of 40 has a maximum rate of 180 and his "zone" is 153 bpm.
At that rate he will be in a fat-burning mode for about 90% of his workout period on the treadmill.
Treadmills take up a lot of space, so for a home-gym it would be better to purchase a folding
machine for ease of storage. An additional consideration is servicing of the treadmill.
If you are handy with machinery, this should not pose a problem.
The main area that has to be serviced is the plane or track. This portion of the machine is exposed to the
greatest wear and it has to be taken care of if you want good service from your treadmill.
The track itself is not hard to replace, but the rollers should be inspected for wear and alignment.
The selection of a treadmill is critical to the amount of use you will get out of it. Selecting one with a track
that is too short or too narrow or not sturdy enough could inhibit your workouts greatly.
The features on the "mill" are also an important consideration. Many of the "bells and whistles" may not be of
benefit to you. Many bare-bones machines may be easily upgraded by the simple addition of accessories.
Remember, if you expect to be using the machine a lot (if you don't, why are you acquiring one?) investing in a
commercial grade, heavy-duty piece of equipment would be smart. You get what you pay for in treadmills.
Service your machine can be costly if you are not handy with tools yourself. Check into a service contract with
Read the operating manual before assaying a step on the track.
An acquaintance of mine bought one for his wife. Without reading the manual she attempted to "test" the device
and not knowing how to control the speed she fell spraining both her legs and her wrist.
The treadmill is now gathering dust on their service porch awaiting a new owner.