Things To Consider Before Buying A Treadmill
Treadmills are one of the most popular home cardio machines and rightly so. They burn a huge amount of calories, they strengthen your bones and they give your fitness a real boost. However, although they have a lot of good points, treadmills aren’t suitable for everyone and before jumping in and buying one, you need to consider whether they’re the best option for you. In this article I’m going to be helping you make this decision by covering the main things you need to think about before you part with your money and buy a treadmill.
1) High Impact Cardio Machine
Although the cushioned surface of a treadmill takes a lot of the impact out of running, running on a treadmill is still much more of a high impact exercise than cycling, rowing, stepping or gliding on an elliptical trainer. Therefore, if you have problems with your ankles, knees or hips, you may find that running on a treadmill is too painful and that a low impact cardio machine is a better choice.
2) Not As Effective As Running Outside
Another thing you need to be aware of before buying a treadmill is that while it’s a great way to put some miles on the clock, improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn some calories, it’s not quite as effective as outdoor running. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, when you run on a treadmill, the moving belt does propel you slightly and this makes it a bit easier than running outside. When you run outside, the ground doesn’t move and there’s nothing to propel you, so it is a little more challenging.
Secondly, when you run outside, the angle of the ground is constantly changing. Even if this change is too slight for you to notice, it still challenges your body and gives you a more effective workout. You can partially replicate this effect by adjusting the incline of the treadmill regularly but it’s never quite as effective as running outside.
Finally, when you run outside, you are exposed to the weather and this has an impact on the way you run. For example, if it’s windy, you have to run with more force and fight against the wind to keep going. If it’s raining, you have to pay extra attention to your running technique and the way you land with your feet, so that you don’t slip or fall. Running on a treadmill removes this element of uncertainty and as a result, it’s not quite as challenging.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to price up the cost of treadmills against other home cardio machines. While you can get some manual treadmills for around $100, most electronic models are $500+ and it’s not uncommon for a treadmill to cost $1,000+. In comparison, you can pick up a good elliptical trainer, exercise bike, rowing machine or stepper for less than $500.
As well as being expensive, treadmills are also generally the largest home cardio machines, so if the workout space in your home is limited, you may want to think twice before buying one. Even the smallest treadmills generally require a minimum of 70 inches by 50 inches of floor space. Exercise bikes on the other hand, generally require no more than 45 inches by 50 inches of floor space which represents a 10% saving in width and almost a 30% saving in length.
5) Potentially Dangerous
One final thing to think about when you are buying a treadmill is that it’s one of the only cardio machines where falling off is a very real danger. With elliptical machines, exercise bikes, rowing machines and steppers, falling off is almost impossible and even if you do fall, it’s not going to do much damage. However, with a treadmill, losing your footing when you are running at a high speed can be very dangerous, send you flying across the room and potentially cause a serious injury.
Despite the negative focus of this article, treadmills still are an excellent purchase and their benefits far outweigh their disadvantages. However, if you don’t have a lot of space, money is tight or you have problems with your joints, you may want to look at other home cardio machines. Exercise bikes and elliptical machines in particular still provide you with an effective workout but generally cost less money, take up less space and remove the impact on your joints. I hope this article helps you decide which home workout machine is right for you. Good luck and happy shopping.