Walking is one of the best forms of exercise.
If you have a treadmill then you can
Forget these excuses
The weather is…too cold, too hot, too windy, too snowy.
The sidewalks/pavements are… too icy, slippery, too hot or too busy.
It is too dangerous
I have pollen allergies
I am too old
It is too late/early to go out
I need to catch the latest episode of...
I am too overweight and unfit
This is not an excuse – you need to take care of your body – after all it is the only one you have got!
However if you are overweight/obese then talk to your doctor/health professional before starting to walk on a treadmill.
Buying a treadmill
Don’t go into a fitness equipment shop and be overawed by the salesperson – take a good look and ask the questions below and if at all possible - try out several before you buy. Take along the footwear you would use at home.
Go to the shopping centre or mall and have a go. You can always go home and find the same one cheaper on the internet.
Tips on what to look for when buying a treadmill
What weight of person can use this machine?
If you are very overweight/obese then check out the weight limit of the treadmill
Is it 300, 350, 400, 450 pounds? The machines vary so it is worth asking the question.
The Whole Treadmill Size
Before you go on the internet or out to the mall measure the space where you think your treadmill will be kept.
If you want to have it in a spare room - is there a television socket, phone socket?
Can it be placed near a window and a mirror? (Mirrors are good for checking your posture)
Is there room for you to swing your arms?
Could there be a fan nearby to keep you cool?
Is there an electric socket nearby?
Do you need a machine that folds?
This is bit you walk on. As everyone has different length strides, check that it suits you. The taller you are the longer belt you will need.
Also check the width as I think that most people need at least 20 inches.
Belt thickness – the thinner the belt the quicker it will wear, so go for 2ply if you can afford it.
This tells you the number of miles you have walked in the number of minutes, the calories you have burned.
A useful feature is being able to put in your weight and age
Some machines count down the number of minutes you have left on your walking plan.
Does it have an easy to use heart rate monitor?
The speed control
You need to make sure that your treadmill has programmes for the very unfit - about half an hour for a mile and programmes that will take you to higher fitness levels.
Never be tempted to start on too high a level –you will only feel fed up and discouraged – set yourself realistic goals.
When you are walking outside you don’t hold on to anything. You will lose more calories by not holding on.
However the handles are good to hold when you are first starting out or if you have a balance problem.
This is one of the reasons you need to try out the treadmills
Do the handles feel comfortable?
Can you easily reach the drinks holder etc?
Shock absorption can be provided by shock absorbers under the deck or by a thick belt. However increased shock absorption can mean increased price – so another reason to try before you buy!
Or going up hill - many treadmills have the facility to alter the incline of the deck. Do you want or need a large variety?
How do you adjust this incline - is it easy to do?
If you are buying a treadmill check out the warranty period.
Is it six months, one year, two years or three years?
If you are offered a lifetime warranty – check it out – and get it in writing.
Look out for size of the horse power or duty rating
For walkers it is best to go for a treadmill between 2 and 3 horsepower. The higher the horsepower the longer the motor will last so if you are very overweight it would pay to get at least 3 horsepower machine.
Book rests and drinks holder
One of the most important things you will need is a bottle of water and having a holder or two is really necessary. It is also good to have a place for tissues and if you want to read when walking then consider treadmills with a bookrack.
There are treadmills for all budgets - I would recommend that you get the best you can afford in your price bracket.
Don't be tempted by the prices slashed etc unless the machine does all the things you want it to!
Enjoy your walking!