Selecting a treadmill
Of all the sports equipment available on the market, the treadmill is the most popular since it allows the owner to engage in the most basic of cardio workouts - walking and jogging. However, selecting a treadmill from the wide array of makes and models can be intimidating at most and confusing at least. Do you buy one based on price only, or should there be other important considerations? This article will help you decide.
If all you plan to do is walk, you may settle for a treadmill with a lower horsepower. Treadmills are rated in continuous duty horsepower', which refers to the power capability of the machine. In most cases, they range from 1.5 to 3.0, with the higher end being more durable. The higher the horsepower, the smoother the operation and the less wear and tear you can expect.
When running, your feet hit the surface at up to five times your actual body weight, therefore if you are going to be running on your treadmill, the deck quality has to be considered. A floating deck is the platform under the belt that is not bolted to the frame. This type of deck floats on special springs to allow for better shock absorption to your feet, ankles, lower back and hips. A reversible deck can be flipped over when it's time to change the belt, thus prolonging the life of the machine.
This should be at least 40cm wide and 130cm long, however the taller and bigger you are, the longer and wider the belt should be to comfortably accommodate your stride. Also, you want to get a treadmill which has a 4-ply belt with a high-density polyester weave on the underside to allow for less friction and wear and tear.
You also want to look for a sturdy frame with hand rails that are comfortable to grip and do not block your arm motion. If you like walking or running up an incline, you want a machine that tilts smoothly upwards at various increments. Electronic features such as speed, time, distance and even a heart rate monitor are extras that some people may find necessary. Safety features such as an automatic shut off key and a belt that starts slowly and stops slowly are vital to prevent accidents and injury.
Finally, be sure to test your treadmill using your workout shoes before taking the treadmill home. If there is any jerkiness, or the belt doesn't seem wide or long enough, choose another. Taking the time to familiarise yourself with these features before giving up your cash can save you added expense and/or problems later down the road.
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