Walk Talk Series
Day 69 – Treadmill Buying Guide
Are You Feeling Good?
Have the changes you have made in your exercise and diet made you feel better? Is your mood better? Do you feel better about yourself – see yourself as an active and healthy person?
Today’s Walk: Health/Recovery Walk:
- 45-90 minute walk in the healthy heart zone 50-60% of your maximum heart rate
- Warm up with 5 minutes at a very easy pace Find a safe spot with a wall or pole to do a 5 minute easy stretching routine
- Now resume your walk at a comfortable pace
- End with 5 minutes of gentle stretching
Exercise: Upper Body Exercises
Buying a Treadmill
Buying a treadmill is a step in the right direction toward better health and fitness. Is also shows your commitment to continue to exercise. However, the thought of actually shopping for a treadmill can be daunting. Shopping for the best treadmill requires looking at a variety of different features and considerations. For some people, cost is the deciding factor while others can choose the best features regardless of price. Going from store to store, comparing hundreds of models,talking to high-pressure sales people just isn’t appealing, and takes up lots of precious time. So we’ve put together some tips to buying the best treadmill for your needs.
- Price – You get what you pay for when it comes to treadmills, but for most of us any treadmill is going to be a significant investment. When you shop by price, you must be even more careful to select the best in that price range. The price ranges generally break down to budget ($500 to $1,500), mid-range ($1,500 to $3,000) and quality ($3,000 and up). There are often significant sales and discounts.
- Treadmill Motor and Horsepower – The motor matters as it gets the heaviest workout. The horsepower (HP) ratings can be confusing. The figure you want to look at is the “continuous duty rating” and shop for 1.5 to 2.5 HP “continuous duty.” The “peak duty” rating is less valuable. The “treadmill duty” rating falls between continuous and peak. Look for the longest warranty on the motor — 1 year at least. DC (direct current) motors are quieter.
- Treadmill Stability and Smooth Ride – Test treadmills wearing your workout shoes and clothes. A shaky or jerky ride is unacceptable. The hand rails should feel sturdy enough to support you and be in a good position to grip easily and not block your arm motion. The belt must be wide enough and long enough for your stride.
- Treadmill Workout Features – Boredom kills treadmill workouts. Choose a model that has the most pre-set and programmable workouts to vary pace and incline. The incline and speed should be easily adjustable from the console. A pulse monitor is good. A water bottle holder is essential. Some models plug into a video or audio player or the internet for new workouts.
- Noise and Space – The treadmill needs to work in your space. How noisy is it? If you plan to watch TV or listen to music, you need to be able to hear those over the treadmill itself. A model that looks small in the store can turn into an elephant in your spare room. Check its size when folded or stored and test how easy it is to move.
- Manual Treadmills vs. Motorized Treadmills – Due to the difference in cost, many people are tempted to buy a manual treadmill instead of a motorized treadmill. But manual treadmills have many drawbacks vs. their motorized cousins. They are often difficult to get moving without using an extreme incline, and once moving you can’t change the incline. The low price also often means less sturdy construction.
- Folding Treadmills vs. Non-Folding – In the last several years, considerable design improvements have contributed to folding models being comparable to the stationary treadmills. Look for stability, ease of folding, weight capacity, and how easy it is to move.
Here is the top picks we feel are the best treadmill buys for 2012 in four different categories.
Best Budget-Priced Treadmill for Walking 2012
Livestrong LS8.0T Treadmill – The entry model Livestrong LS8.0T treadmill is powered by a 2.5 CHP motor that is backed by a lifetime warranty, and has a number of other exciting features including a power incline, interactive programming, and a roomy 20″ x 55″ treadbelt. The reviews on the Livestrong LS8.0T are very impressive. Users love the quality and that it takes only 30 minutes to assemble. The drive system is quiet, the console is easy to use, and the overall design is quite aesthetic. Another plus, the warranty is very good for a $799 entry-level treadmill: 2 years on the parts and a year of service, plus lifetime coverage on the motor. This treadmill is best for users under 250 pounds who don’t do much running.
Best Folding Treadmill 2012 After its recent update, the Smooth 5.65 folding treadmill has gotten even better. They gave it a longer running surface, new cushioning system, more programs, and extended the warranty. All this, and they held down the price on this model at the 2009 level! The Smooth 5.65 features a silent 2.5 HP continuous duty motor with an advanced Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) circuit board. It has 2″ rollers for the belt, a lower step-up height, and a 20″ x 60″ running surface that is significantly more roomy than the 20″ x 50″ tread belt on the 2009 model. This is an impressive machine with an expanded warranty of 4 years on all parts and 2 years for in-home service. It is super quiet, has a large walking area, excellent cushioning, a stylish profile, and a cool-running motor. The upgrades and generous warranty prove that Smooth is serious about this model challenging the Sole F63 and the Livestrong 10.0 to see which treadmill will be the Big Dog at this price range. The Smooth 5.65 treadmill rates a Best Buy.
Value takes a lot into consideration, so we ended up with two winners in this category. One because it was a great folding treadmill, the other because it was a great all-around model.
Best Overall Value Treadmill 2012 The Sole F80 delivers more than any other folding treadmill you’ll find. You get the true feel of a commercial machine with the F80, one of the best folding treadmills you can get for around $1,500. The 3.5 horsepower motor is more than enough power, and this treadmill has more incline variety than others at this price – up to 15%. The lifetime warranty on the frame and motor with 3 years on the deck and electronics is better than any other warranty at this price point. Why so generous? Excellent construction and the best treadmill parts. It’s also the most stable folding treadmill you can find thanks to a patented deck and frame design.
Best Overall Value – The Smooth 9.35 HR is the best selling treadmill model that Smooth Fitness has to offer, and for good reason. The Smooth Hydra Suspension adjustable shock absorption system reduces impact on the joints and cushions your walk or run for a great feel and less fatigue. We love the full 3.0 horsepower motor, which has a lifetime warranty. The parts and electronics are covered for a full five years, which indicates the quality of the components. The commercial grade deck is triple laminated for a lifetime of use. For $2,950 the Smooth 9.35 HR treadmill is a genuine runner’s machine, but on sale (you can often find it for less than $2,000) it’s a steal.
Best Treadmill for Pros/Heavy Runners – For the serious runner who is looking for the best treadmill to challenge and last for years, it’s the Landice L700 ProSports Trainer. Quite simply, you can’t find a better treadmill. It’s pricey ($4,000), but worth the investment for individuals who want true luxury in a treadmill. Landice has perfected performance and comfort by manufacturing nothing but the best treadmills around – no ellipticals, no weight machines, no steppers. The result is the L700’s extra-long walking area, 4-ply deck (usually only found on commercial treadmills), 1” thick deck and patented shock absorption system. The aircraft quality aluminum frame and fabulous warranty makes the Landice L700 a dream machine for the serious athlete.