The Argos guide to treadmills - 2 of 4

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2. Features to look for in a treadmill

There are two main types of treadmill: manual and motorised ( or electric). Manual treadmills need to be 'pushed' by your feet, and are quite basic. Motorised treadmills offer you more: inclines (where it tilts to simulate hills), programmes to simulate different terrain and conditions, and heart monitors to tell you how fast your heart is beating. Here's a brief guide to the parts of a treadmill.

Defining the parts

A treadmill console

Grip sensor. Many treadmills have tubular ‘grips’ that sense your heart rate. This is useful for checking you’re within the most effective training zone of 70-80% of your maximum heart rate.

The belt is the moving area you run on. The bigger a treadmill’s surface area, the easier it is to run fast. But watch out for the size of the room you intend to put your treadmill in.

Many treadmills offer an inclined belt to simulate hills. The greater this incline, the harder your workout will be. On a motorised treadmill, different programmes may give you different inclines over a workout session.

The grips are there for safety in case you miss your footing, and often include a heart rate monitor - you grab the grips and it tells you your heart rate.

The programmes on a treadmill give you a planned workout based on total distance you want to reach or total time you want to work out for. Different programmes may include varying speeds or inclines to stop you getting bored! Example programmes include: 5km lake loop, 400m track laps, mountain pass, rolling hills, speed builder.

What's on the display?

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.

Speed The speed the track's moving at – in other words, your running speed!
Time The time since your workout started, or your time per lap.
Calories Estimated amount of calories you've burnt off since starting.
Distance Total distance travelled or distance left to go on a programme.
Pulse/heartrate Your current heartrate, measured through hand grips, a chest strap, or earlobe clip.
Motivation Encouraging messages displayed to keep you going strong.
Elevation Estimated 'height' you've reached after running up an inclined track.
Incline The angle the track's sloping upwards at (0 if flat).

A note on speed

All treadmills have a maximum speed. If you’re starting out, a machine that goes up to 12 kilometres an hour (about 7.5 miles an hour) will be fine. If you’re fit, try for one that can take you to 14 or 16kph, and if you’re training for actual events, you might even want 18kph (the speed of a champion marathon runner!)

page 2 of 4All treadmills are different, so check you know which features to look for. With that done, let's choose your machine: Choosing the treadmill thatís right for you

Argos guide to treadmills

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