Ultimate guide to treadmills

What is a treadmill? What factors must be taken into account when buying?

The treadmill is a cardiovascular machine that works all the muscles of the body. Although it is known as a running machine, it can also be used for jogging or walking.

The key factors when buying a treadmill are:

  • strap size

Normally a strap is usually at least 120 cm long and 45 cm wide. For taller people it is recommended that the size be 137 cm to run and walk comfortably with an adequate stride. 

  • Damping

The cushioning is essential to avoid injuries, the shock of the foot must be absorbed by the tape in a natural way. If your intention is to run regularly, we advise you to buy a machine that has the possibility of 16 km/h or more.

  • Stability

The tape has to be stable in order to offer maximum security. The frame that holds the tape must be firm and stable, while the tape runs smoothly. 

  • Weight

It is a very important factor, in the event that you are a large person, the tape must be resistant and powerful to perform the function at the intensity you want. Home use treadmill motors can hold up to 300lbs. 

  • User-friendly control panel

It is important that the control panel of the programs is within reach during the exercise to avoid having to stop or fall when you want to manipulate it. It is also important that you can adjust the speed and incline in order to have a complete workout. It is advisable that you have the possibility to install an MP3, USB or Bluetooth player. 

  • space and size

First of all, we recommend that you think about the place you are going to have for the machine, since regardless of whether the machine is large or small, it will take up a lot of space. It is true that there are also folding tapes, but they are still heavy.

It is advisable that you enable a large space for the tape and that you take into account the measurements when making the purchase. 

  • Price / Warranty / Delivery / Installation

Generally, the price It is one of the first factors that a person looks at when making a purchase.

The options range from 500 euros to almost 10,000 euros, with different variants in between. For this reason, it depends on your budget, but keep in mind that there are important differences between a cheap treadmill and one that costs more than 2,000 euros.

Regardless of the price, the warranty It is essential since any damage, even during transport, can be covered. 

Another very important concept is the cost of delivery. It is interesting that you ask about the cost of delivery, since you can get an idea of the cost, but delivery can increase the amount of the final price. It is also of interest that you take into account the service of installation, despite the fact that the installation and configuration of the machine does not require major complications, it would be an added value if the service were included in the price.

Benefits of the treadmill 

Burn calories and help lose weight: using it regularly helps you burn calories. Also, if you are looking to lose weight, the treadmill will allow you to lose weight more easily than other devices.

So that you can have an approximation of the caloric burn in 30 minutes, taking into account three approximate cases of body weight and different rhythms, we have prepared the following table:

Calories burned on average in 30 minutes

Physical exercise

57 kilos

70 kilos

84 kilos

Running: 8km/h

240

298

355

Running: 8.3km/h

270

335

400

Running: 9.6km/h

300

372

444

Running: 10.7km/h

330

409

488

Running: 12km/h

375

465

555

Running: 13.8km/h

435

539

644

Running: 16km/h

495

614

733

 

Improves cardiovascular health: repetitive work increases your breathing and heart rate which, in turn, improves blood flow and strengthens your heart. This helps reduce the occurrence of associated diseases, such as myocardial infarction, heart failure or arrhythmias.

Strengthening of muscles and bones: It not only tones muscles, it also strengthens tendons, joints, ligaments and bones.

Increase our energy: With the practice of sports, your body will gain strength and resistance and, therefore, you will have more energy.

Improves our emotional system: With the release of tension, stress is reduced and more peace of mind is achieved.

It helps to sleep: Regular physical activity will help you rest better at night, which will allow you to be more active during the day.

Types of tapes 

We are going to explain the different types of treadmills differentiated into four large blocks. 

In the first block we have introduced the folding tapes, which have an articulated structure to be able to fold on itself. Very optimal machines for when there are space problems.

The second, the fixed tapes, are usually found both in gyms and sports centers because they are larger and heavier. It is also true that they are usually better and with more variety of programs.

The third, manually powered belts, suppose a high effort for the runner since the treadmill enters circulation when the user propels it with the legs when performing the movement of running or walking.

In the fourth block, they would be mechanically propelled or self propelled beltsThey have an electric motor to rotate the band by means of rollers. The athlete himself is the one who selects the speed at which he wants to walk and, in addition, they usually have training programs incorporated.

Engine Options

There are two types of motors for treadmills, the well-known direct current, DC, and alternating current, AC motors.

DC motors they are the ones that use brushes and a commutator that requires more maintenance, the speed is limited and the useful life is reduced, due to the addition of moving and wearing elements.

Instead, AC motorsThey are more expensive, but they do not use brushes and are a newer and more sophisticated technology. If what you are looking for is not wanting to worry about replacing the motor, it is the best option.

What muscles do we use when running on a treadmill? 

The muscles that we frequent when exercising on the treadmill are numerous, regardless of whether it is for running, jogging, or walking. The legs and buttocks are toned, complemented with a workout for the arms, back and abdomen. 

The muscles that are used directly or indirectly are classified into three groups: Upper limbs, encompassing the shoulders, arms and forearms; the trunk and pelvis, incorporating the chest, belly and back; and, in the lower limbs, buttocks, thighs and calves.

The heart It is the main muscle that you are going to work when using the machine since it is directly related to cardiovascular activity. It will help you increase your heart rate, it will strengthen your physical condition and your resistance. The quadriceps they are strengthened by the exercises we do on top of the treadmill. The twins they act as stabilizers of the body, so they are in continuous work. The hamstrings they tone up and strengthen themselves with the treadmill. And lastly, the buttocks they work hard.

Things to consider before buying a treadmill

Force and RPM 

If you look at power in isolation, you'll probably go for the higher HP number, and that would be a mistake. You have to look at whether it is a peak or continuous duty motor. The first works at 8,000 RPM and the second at 4,100 RPM. That is, you should always choose the one with the lowest RPM for optimal performance, energy efficiency and increased lifespan.

frequency of use  

The frequency with which you plan to use the treadmill is very important to know what type of machine you should buy, since it has nothing to do with whether its use is 3 hours a week, 10 hours, or more than 20 hours, like that if its use is professional instead of amateur. To do this, we have segmented the frequency of use into 4 blocks.

If the use is professional, they are treadmills to take the highest level of training home or for facilities of collective use. It is characterized by not being foldable and by supporting a minimum of 150 kg, in addition, they are prepared for more than 30 hours per week. Among them, availableBH MAGNA PRO RC and the FINNLO TR8000.

If the use is more than 20 hours, we would be talking about semi-professional use. In this case, they can be collapsible. In this section, we show you the treadmill BH I.MAGNA RCo to BH RC12 TFT.

If the use you are going to give it were around 7 and 20 hours, we would be facing a domestic use, specifically an intensive domestic use, where there is the possibility of finding folding treadmills. Two good options would be BH PIONEER R7 Y EVERGY WITH TILT LEVEL AND FOLDING”.

On the contrary, if the use is less than 7 hours, we continue in a domestic use, but in this case, it would be a regular domestic use, being also possible to find folding options. You will have options like the treadmill FINNLO TECHNUM IV and the BH SLIMRUN.

Maximum weight

Treadmills have a maximum weight they can support. Generally, they are around 120 kg, but we can also find a maximum user weight of 90 kg or up to 160 kg. It is recommended that there is a margin between the weight of the user and the weight that the treadmill supports. 

Race Zone Size

The size is relevant since it will condition our exercise. Keep in mind that, if you are a person of above average height, it is of interest that it is of a larger size as well, since the stride both when running and when walking, will be larger. If you measure more than 185 cm, it is important that the length is at least 153 cm.

The use should also be taken into account, since if the use will be for walking, instead of running, it is not necessary that the tape be wider or longer, but in the case of using it for running, it will be an essential aspect. to be able to run comfortably.

In the case of using the treadmill, if the surface is more than 40 cm wide and 125 cm long, it would be enough. On the other hand, if it were to run, it is recommended that it be 55 cm wide and 140 cm long.  

We are talking about the length of the running surface, not the total length of the machine!

App Integration  

Using applications is proven to help improve performance because they monitor progress. By having the option to measure your workouts, you are likely to improve and also force yourself to train. Likewise, there are numerous Apps that can give you the option of creating a real-time competition with other users or running while watching a popular race recording, which are elements that serve to motivate you even more.

Service and maintenance 

Although it is true that a treadmill needs maintenance, it is not maintenance that requires multiple actions. On the one hand, it is important to lubricate the tread at least once a month so that it does not wear out before it is due. It is advisable to start training at low speeds and with your feet on the axles, not on the running surface. 

On the other hand, it is important that the engine does not overheat, this can be done by placing your hand on the engine cover, without any risk. Of course, it will be hot, but it is important that it does not exceed 50ºC. 

risks 

Like practically everything in this life, with the practice of sports on the treadmill, there are risks. And, these risks can end in injuries. Above all, these types of injuries are muscular, which will be carried out through longer recovery times.

Tibialis anterior tendinitis. This is due to not running the treadmill at the proper incline (between 2 and 4 degrees). The fact of not modifying the inclination, apart from not simulating the race in the open air, makes it easier to move the support foot backwards, thus causing an overload and the appearance of these discomforts.

Lumbar and hip problems. It arises as a consequence of running with an incorrect technique. When the treadmill is in motion, the leg involuntarily gestures backwards involving the hips, but it should do so with the glutes. This problem causes you to run with an arched back. To solve this risk, one option is to do a good abdominal workout and pay attention to the correct technique.

Back problems. The back becomes overloaded with the vibration that is created on the treadmill. If you exercise for a long time and do not recover properly, pain in that area may appear.

plantar fasciitis. It is produced by the constant repetitions you do with this device. By repeating the same movement for a certain time, the foot can be stretched and torn. When the sole of the foot is distorted, it is called plantar fasciitis. Recovering from this injury requires rehabilitation, and in some cases, surgical intervention.

Muscle overload. This overload is created by the monotony of running on a treadmill or by using improper technique. Because of not having enough variety, the muscles can become congested and overloaded.

Knee injuries. The knee is a joint that is in constant movement during activity, therefore, injuries such as overexploitation of the joint may appear. As a consequence, irritations and inflammations may appear.

4 false myths about running on the treadmill

There are many myths related to indoor running, so we have selected 4 myths to dismantle them, since knowing that indoor running is not the same as outdoor, it does not have to be a bad practice.

The first False myth is that running on a treadmill takes more effort. The truth is that running on a machine involves less muscular effort and, therefore, less energy expenditure. This is because the simple fact of moving the foot backwards by the same movement of the tape makes it easier to push the body forward. In addition, we avoid external agents such as wind resistance, visual distractions or the variety of the terrain. 

Don't make the mistake of thinking that sweating more means working harder. Do not forget that being in a closed room with limited ventilation can cause an increase in perceived exertion and heart rate. 

Also keep in mind that, on a treadmill, you may take shorter strides so you will be taking more strides in less time and to this, add that it is a constant landscape and without visual stimuli, which can also increase the perception we were talking about before, making the race seem more monotonous and longer.

The second, running on a treadmill destroys the joints. For this, it is important to have a good cushioning of the surface of the treadmill that we use, since the impact is more aggressive than on surfaces such as earth or grass, but it must be taken into account that it is less aggressive than the asphalt impact. 

The key here is not to abuse and to use it consciously. It is recommended to train between 30 and 45 minutes a day to avoid joint crushing. It should also be noted the importance of wearing good footwear. 

The third, running outdoors and on the treadmill is the same. We agree that it's fake, right? Likewise, it is not recommended to replace outdoor training with indoor running. Treadmill training is a very good option as a complement to training. We mentioned before that the stride is diminished when running on a machine and factors such as the footprint or the energy cost, but there are also other factors that modify the practice, among them, there is the movement of the arms, the plantar pressure or even the muscles being worked.

The fourth And finally, running on a treadmill is the only effective method to lose weight. In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Spending a lot of time on the treadmill will cause you to lose fat, but if you only do cardio, you may lose weight from where it doesn't suit you since cardio burns fat but also muscle.

5 treadmills

Below we have made a selection of 5 folding treadmills to make your search easier.

The best-selling treadmill is called “FITFIU MC200” with measurements of 140 x 60 x 110 cm and a maximum recommended weight of 90 kg. It has a maximum speed of 14 km/h, but although it is the number one selling treadmill, it is currently not available.

One of the best selling treadmills, it is also the treadmill BH RunLab, for a maximum user weight of 110 kg, with measurements of 153 cm long, 79 cm wide and 134 cm high and has a speed of 1-15 km/h. It is around the €700 offer.

The most reliable and fastest machine is the so-called “BH fitness i.Boxster” for a maximum weight of 130 kg, dimensions of 184 x 94 x 149 cm and with a maximum speed of 20 km/h with an approximate cost of €1,000.

The cheapest on the market would be the “Fit-force'' With a cost of €300, it has a maximum speed of 15 km/h and dimensions of 140 x 6.2 x 105 cm and the maximum weight decreases to 95 kg.

On the other hand, the most economical quality-price machine is the Pioneer S2 treadmill. It has a maximum speed of 14 km/h, a maximum user weight of 115 kg and dimensions of 162 x 72 x 131 cm with an original price of €800.

Don't forget to stretch before and after using the treadmill!


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