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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What is a Treadmill



What is a Treadmill

One of the most popular types of home sport equipment is the treadmill, which provides a straightforward, efficient aerobic workout for your fitness. For many, treadmills are a good choice to begin a new exercise routine because walking is well tolerated by most individuals regardless of fitness level and for most back conditions. As strength and endurance are developed, the treadmill can be used for jogging and/or for interval training.

Treadmills (often referred to as running machines) are pieces of cardio equipment used for running, jogging, fitness or walking whilst remaining in one place.

A treadmill provides a moving platform by means of a running deck and belt. The belt is powered by an electric motor and moves from the front to the rear, allowing the person to walk opposite to the direction of the belt.

The Fitness Benefits of Using a Treadmill

The treadmill is a relatively easy piece of exercise, sport and fitness equipment to use

The treadmill has a predictable surface that is much easier to negotiate than sidewalks, curbs or trails and the risk of tripping is reduced

All aspects of the workout can be controlled by the user: speed, incline, warm up period, cool down period, and energy spend

Generally, users can design custom programs to fit the time they have to exercise

Multiple users can use the same equipment without adjusting the structure

Some treadmills have special features such as step counters and heart rate monitors so fitness progress can be tracked

Running on a treadmill generally burns calories faster than most other forms of in-home exercise, such as biking

  • Less Impact on Joints - Running on a treadmill reduces the impact on your joints compared to running on pavements or road surfaces. To further reduce the impact purchase a machine with an orthopaedic belt.
  • Reduces Stress - During cardio exercise endorphins are released into your bloodstream. This release of endorphins produces a natural high, which in turn relieves stress.
  • Increases Energy Levels - Exercise of any kind will increase your energy levels, and running is one of the best forms of exercise to help increase your overall energy.
  • Increases Lung Capacity - Long distance running will help improve your lung capacity. Improving your lung capacity will make you stronger and healthier.
  • Increase Bone Density - The impact of running on a treadmill overloads the selected structure and causes the body to increase the density of weight bearing bones in an effort to accommodate the stress of the activity.
  • Increased Calorie Burn - Because running is a weight bearing exercise it burns more calories in comparison to Rowing Machines or Exercise Bikes.

Users can do other things while on the treadmill, such as watch television or read, which for many can help keep the exercise interesting

If getting in shape and/or losing weight are primary concerns, treadmills might be the best machine to accomplish these objectives. In a recent study comparing exercise, users who felt that they had exercised equally strenuously on bikes and treadmills actually spent 25% more calories on the treadmill. (Milwaukee VA Hospital Study) .

Disadvantages to Using a Treadmill

They can be expensive, with some models over $2000.

The cushioned surface of the treadmill may still inflict too much of a jarring impact on the back or stress the hip, knee and ankle joints. Testing the surface and rebound is critical.

They can take up a lot of space. The more sophisticated treadmills take up a fair amount of space (up to 36 inches wide by 72 inches long) and generally do not fold up.

Like other equipment with computerized programs and motors, maintenance of treadmills usually requires a professional.

Some treadmills have loud motors that interfere with other activities near the equipment.

Treadmills provide a limited kind of exercise – walking to running - so some people find treadmills boring after a while.

Features of the Modern Treadmill

  • Motor - The electric motor is the heart of the treadmill, without it the treadmill is useless. Motor power/output is measured in horsepower (HP) the higher the HP the stronger and more efficient the treadmill will be. Always look for at least 1.75HP motor, if you plan to run long distances then look for at least a 2.0HP motor
  • Belt - The belt should be long enough and wide enough to accommodate your running style, if you plan to do a lot of running then look for a belt with a width of 50cm (20") and a length of 140cm (55").
  • Speed - The maximum speeds will vary between models. Mid range and commercial treadmills have maximum speeds of 20kph (12mph). To give you an idea of speed, world class runners run at an average speed of 20kph during a marathon!
  • Incline (Elevation) - If you plan to do a lot of uphill walking or running then look for a treadmill with an incline of 10%. Thankfully most mid range treadmills incline to 10% (some incline to 12%).
  • Console & Programmes - Nowadays most treadmills come with built in computer displays that enable you to select customised workouts, speed, incline and other options. If you get bored easily it may be worth investing money in a treadmill that has a range of different workout programmes, as this will help you stay motivated.
  • Maximum User Weights - Always check the maximum user weight before you purchase. Budget running machines usually have maximum user weights of around 100kg / 16 stone whilst mid range treadmills have maximum user weights of around 130kg / 20 stone.
  • Warranty - Always check the warranty before purchasing. Most treadmills come with parts and labour warranty, which means you won't have to repair it yourself if something goes wrong. As a general rule, mid range and commercial treadmills have better warranties in comparison to cheap budget machines.
  • Accessories - You can purchase many accessories, at Fitness Superstore we offer accessories such as: Floor protector Mats, Extended Treadmill Warranties, Heart Rate Monitors and much more.

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