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Treadmills Buying Guide

The inception of treadmills first began to harness the muscle power of animals or humans to serve a specific working task or job, since that time treadmills have transformed and their purpose has shifted from a labour intensive design to an integral machine in the world of health and fitness. Treadmills were first developed and adapted for use in the home by a mechanical engineer named William Staub who identified that there were no reasonably priced models available for home.

In modern times treadmills are commonplace in most commercial gyms and can be bought for home use at a reasonable price as well, they have become such a giant in the fitness industry thanks to their simplicity, diversity and effectiveness at improving overall health.

Different Types

There are really only two variations of treadmills, manual or motorised. Manual machines are certainly more cost effective however the negatives far outweigh the positives. Manual powered options require you to physically push the belt of the treadmill by force, this can take time to pick up any real level of speed and if you lose momentum it’s tricky to pick it up again. This also means that workout programs are out of the question, you can change the incline but this also has to be done manually so you can only train at one incline level per workout.

Motorised options work as the name suggests, by an internal motor positioned at the front of the machine, this powers the belt allowing you to set specific speeds, inclines, run workout programmes and have a generally more productive workout than you would on a manual version. They do cost more than their manual equivalents but have much more to offer and are considerably superior in comparison. At PureFitness & Sports we do only supply motorised versions therefore the rest of this buying guide will be orientated around these.

Key Features

Motor

One of the most important components is the motor, been as it powers the motion of the treadmill. Cheaper machines have smaller motors which can prove to be unreliable and are limited to the amount of use they can sustain. The size is measured in CHP (continuous horse power), our recommendation as a minimum is to choose at least 1.5 CHP for good reliability and relatively silent usage, the more usage you think you’ll get out of it the larger the motor you will require.

Workout Programs

It’s always useful to have a few different running programs to spice up your training from time to time, going through the motions and doing the exact same routine each week will hinder your progress and become monotonous. Programs provide that bit of well needed variety; most motorised treadmills have some built in, the more you spend on a machine the more programs it will have, generally speaking.

Speed & Incline

Our full range has electronic speed & incline options pre-fitted onto the display. The maximum speed should really be at least 10mph so you can get into a good sprint if you feel the need, the incline should ideally go up to at least a 10% gradient for realistic hill climb simulations. Putting the running deck into a steep incline provides a refreshingly different workout, the change in angle distributes the work load to muscles that aren’t normally worked (your calves will take quite a battering) and also puts lets stress on your knees than running whilst still burning a similar amount of calories.

Console Display

The main priority with a console is to provide easy navigation through the treadmills controls and also to show a clear, concise readout of your workout whilst you’re training. Most of our machines feature backlit displays that are clearly visible even with glare from sunlight. Workout feedback should show time, distance, calories burnt, speed, incline and pulse measurements, this vital information highlights your progress over time so you can set targets to aspire to, then break through them, then set even higher targets.

Running Area, Belt & Deck

The running area of a treadmill has to be accommodating for your requirements and specifications. Firstly look at the width and length of the deck. You should look for at least an 18 inch wide running deck for a spacious workout area. The length is not quite as crucial or applicable unless you’re looking to sprint frequently or if you’re quite tall to provide plenty of stride length room.

The thickness of the belt can help to reduce the impact on your knees, orthopaedic belts reign superior but are quite exclusive to top specification machines. Most treadmills come with a cushioned running deck now anyway, they flex when you apply pressure to them to take that strain out of your knees that road running is notorious for.

Framework

It’s hard to really enjoy a workout on any piece of fitness equipment if it feels unsafe and ready to crumble into pieces if you push it too far. It can be hard to gauge how durable a product is by just looking at an image of it online but if you pay close attention to the thickness of the framework and how much of the machine is steel and not plastic then you will be able to get a fairly good indication on how robust it is. Also check the maximum user weight limit, this is a quick and easy way to identify the threshold and limits of the machine, we always say that the user limit is a testament to the durability of the product in question.

Folding or Non-Folding

The vast majority of our range of treadmills do have a fold up feature on them that reduces there length almost in half, they are naturally quite large and cumbersome so this can be a necessity for a lot of people. Non-folding versions are most commonly full or light commercial machines, they don’t fold up to increase their durability and strengthen their framework because of the more intense usage they are exposed to but are excessively expensive. If you are buying a home use option though then you can be quite certain that it will fold up.

Benefits

  • Convenience is a contributing factor for many people, hectic lifestyles lead to a distinct lack of time so been able to stroll into your spare room and squeeze in a quick 30 minutes on the running machine is a very appealing idea
  • Any form of aerobic exercise has a certain ‘feel good’ factor, this comes from the release of endorphins during exercise which can help to counter the effects of depression, anxiety and provide an overall positive effect on your mental state 
  • All of our treadmills come with a cushioned running deck feature, this is highly beneficial in reducing the high impact that running notoriously places on your knee joints to help prevent injury, something that road running cannot provide
  • Consistent year round running is made far easier as you’re shielded indoors from the harsh and temperamental British climate that frequently restricts outdoor training 
  • Running burns calories at a much quicker rate than alternative cardio vascular exercise such as cycling making it considerably more efficient and less time consuming to keep the weight off
  • Treadmills offer great exercise diversity, numerous workout programmes, incline options and interval training all contribute to differentiating your daily training to help keep motivation levels high and also to enhance weight loss
  • Simple user friendly displays are easy to use and navigate for all ages allowing you to set fixed workout times, speeds and gradients and a clear display of workout feedback is presented throughout
  • Running or walking is classified as a weight-bearing form of exercise, the benefit of this is that doing this type of exercise regularly can contribute to improving the density of your bones to counter the effects from the thinning of bones

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What treadmills are suitable for a large family?

Answer: If you’re looking for a machine to accommodate several people all you really need is a larger motor that can withstand the extra use it’ll get, aim for at least a 2.0 CHP size motor that can really take a pounding

Question: Why would I need a longer running deck?

Answer: A longer deck is mainly necessary if you’re quite tall and have a long stride length to prevent you running precariously close to the edge, also if you’re a sprinter a longer deck would be required for the lengthened stride when doing sprints.

Question: Are they easy to set up and assemble?

Answer: Treadmills generally require very little assembly, the running deck area is always pre-assembled then you just need to bolt the two main uprights to the base, the console to the uprights and you’re ready to run.

Question: How would it be delivered?

Answer: Due to the size and weight of these machines we offer a free 2-man delivery for all UK Mainland deliveries, the 2-man couriers will bring the treadmill into a room of your choice in its box to make the process as easy as possible.

Question: I’m a competitive runner, what would be suitable for me?

Answer: For serious athletes we tend to put customers onto either the Bremshey or Tunturi brands, these machines boast robust motors, great workout programmes and spacious running areas making them ideal for the competitive runner.

Question: How do they fold up?

Answer: The conventional fold up design for almost all designs is a simple matter of lifting the running deck upwards toward the front of the machine where it’ll lock into place at the top. A quick release catch can then be released to bring the deck back down again, sometimes a hydraulic system will bring it down safely and slowly.

Question: How much do you think I need to spend for a quality treadmill?

Answer: Our range generally starts from £500.00 at a minimum and then increases from there, this is the minimum spend level that we generally recommend for a good reliable machine. It’s merely a guideline but this is what we have found really constitutes for quality.

We hope that you have found this guide insightful and informative; feel free to view our range of treadmills.