If your goals include general fitness, weight loss, or building up stamina, then a treadmill makes a great choice – and they’re really easy to use for people of all ages.
There are two main types of treadmill:
Not only can treadmills be used for running, but they can also be set on lower speeds for walking on the flat or at an incline to mimic a hill. Not all treadmills have variable inclines, so look out for ones that have 3 or more levels.
The display is an LCD digital readout giving you useful information – your running speed, total distance travelled, time and so on. The console controls, usually surrounding the display, let you switch the display to the numbers you’re most interested in and enter or change the programme.
All treadmills have a maximum speed. If you’re starting out, a machine that goes up to 12 kilometres an hour (about 7.5 mph) will be fine. As you get fitter, try one that can take you up to 14 or 16kph – if you’re training for an event, you might even want to push it to 18kph.
Measure up before you choose your treadmill. In general, allow at least the same space as a single bed, with half a metre or so on each side to make sure your elbows aren’t hitting the walls as you run. Also check that you have enough space to get it around tricky doors and stairwells.
Add some good trainers and sportswear and you’re ready to start enjoying your treadmill – but remember if you want to exercise your upper body and back you’ll need to add some press-ups and sit-ups, or invest in one of our home gyms.
Treadmill terms explained.
|Belt||The ‘track’ of the treadmill|
|Console||The controls on the front panel of the treadmill|
|Display||The digital readout on the front panel of the treadmill|
|Frame||The structure, usually a metal tube that all the moving parts of the treadmill attach to|
|Heart monitor||A sensor that takes your pulse and displays it for you|
|Incline||The tilt of the conveyor belt surface that simulates uphill running|
|Manual||A treadmill you operate by pushing the conveyor belt with your feet. Some manual treadmills contain magnets to make it move more smoothly|
|Motorised||A treadmill containing electric motors that move and tilt the track for you as you walk or run|
|Programmes||Different workouts available on a motorised treadmill|
|Surface||The top side of the conveyor, i.e. the part you run or walk on|