Most fitness instructors agree that the best exercises for losing weight and maintaining good cardiovascular health are walking and jogging. However, rain, cold or extreme heat can put a damper on your desire to go outside and get into your daily workout. Treadmills are the perfect solution. Treadmills vary considerably in the features they offer, which in turn affects how much you pay. A good treadmill can cost as little as $1,000 or more than $3,000. Selecting the right treadmill requires some research and an assessment of what your personal goals are.

Types of treadmills

The most basic treadmill is manual. It does not require electricity to use, which means it won’t have all the bells and whistles of the fancier models, but it will enable you to effectively exercise at home. If you value a green lifestyle and simplicity, a manual treadmill is a great choice.

An electric treadmill requires power to run its motor and any advanced features. Your budget and the additional goodies you want are the key factors you’ll need to consider when choosing the best treadmill for your needs.

Things to consider when choosing a treadmill

Before you go out and buy a treadmill, determine how much space you have for it. Measure the available space before you make a decision. Most treadmills fold up so they aren’t in the way when not in use, but when they’re opened, they have a much larger footprint. You also want to make certain that the platform will accommodate your stride and gait. Stride is the length of your step. Gait is how much side to side space you use while you walk or jog. A larger belt will make you feel more comfortable while you exercise.

Take advantage of the various manufacturers’ websites and watch their demo videos. Achieve Fitness for instance have a great web detailing their range of treadmills available in New Zealand. You can get a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of each treadmill when you see them in action. The Internet is a great place to narrow your search to a few candidates. Read online reviews left by owners to see what they liked and didn’t like about the various models.

When you watch the demo videos, listen to see how loud the treadmills are. If you live in an apartment, you want a quiet unit so that you won’t annoy your neighbors. If you live in a stand-alone home, the noise isn’t as much of a factor.

Extra features

Nowadays, electric treadmills offer numerous features that weren’t available years ago.

  • The platform can incline to simulate hills and automatically adjust the speed.
  • Most treadmill consoles offer a docking area for an MP3 player. Some have their own internal memory. You can load your music right onto the treadmill.
  • Many newer models have pre-programmed routines for interval training. Some have a video display that follows actual routes, such as the Boston Marathon course. Others have fictional courses programmed into them.
  • Most treadmills can track your heart rate and how many calories you burn during a workout. You can record and save your data for future reference.

Practical considerations

Make sure your treadmill has a good, strong motor. Motors can be rated by peak power or continuous power. You want one that has a continuous power rating of 1.5 for walking or 2.0 for jogging.

Your treadmill should last 10 to 12 years or longer if it is carefully maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. The warranty should cover the motor for 10 years, parts for two years and labor for one year. Most problems happen during the first 90 days and are usually minor.

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