The benefits and what to look out for
Using a treadmill can be an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise within the privacy and convenience of your own home. They are ideal for burning fat and can provide a solid overall exercise programme if used for walking, as well as an intense workout if used for sustained jogging or running.
Most runners will agree that using a treadmill is very similar to running outdoors and furthermore, can provide significantly lower impact on the joints than road running for example.
As well as being very straightforward to master and use, the treadmill can offer an excellent way of targeting specific exercise programmes such as interval, fartlek or endurance training. With the facility to alter the velocity and angle of incline (to represent running up a hill), a treadmill can provide a tailored training schedule with the convenience of not having to worry about the dangers of traffic, weather conditions or what time of the day it is.
What to look out for
1. Safety cut-off for peace of mind whilst exercising. This will stop the treadmill in the event of a fall.
2. Speed range – the average speed range is 0 – 8 mph, allowing a range of speeds from walking to running.
3. Adjustable incline to offer the user the opportunity to vary the angle of incline to represent flat or hilly terrain.
4. Fitness computer to monitor time, speed, distance and calorie consumption. Some models may also offer pre-set programmes for convenience.
5. Dimensions – consider the assembled and folded (if applicable) dimensions before purchase.
6. Running belt should be of a decent size as it represents the running surface. Look for something in the region of 120 x 38cm wide.
7. Extras such as a pulse monitor to measure heart rate and an accessory station to hold the all important water bottle and towel.
Cautions and precautions
Before using any treadmill, read the manual thoroughly and understand all the features that it offers.
You should also consult a doctor prior to commencing with any form of exercise programme, particularly if it involves a significant change to the amount of exercise that you normally take.