But first, why invest in a treadmill?
Its primary—and non-negligeable—advantage: being able to run at home and at your own pace!
A solid, long-term investment.
A piece of equipment that is solid, easy for anyone to use, and that allows you to run safely. It's also recommended for physical rehabilitation.
Provides better cushioning than outdoor paved surfaces
When choosing your treadmill, a few criteria are critical.
Firstly, you should consider the following personal factors which will determine what type of treadmill you purchase.
Determine your fitness level: are you a beginner, or more advanced?
Define your objective: Will you be using the treadmill for cardiac rehabilitation? To get back in shape? To lose weight? As a training exercise for another sport? Will you be using it frequently, regularly, or occasionally?
Which treadmill for which use
A treadmill, whether designed for running or walking, allows you to perform a variety of exercises at any time, in any weather, in a fully safe environment, and with a low impact on the joints. Determine how often you will use your treadmill, based on your needs.
This mostly refers to getting back in shape or physical rehabilitation. Since performance is not a determining factor, getting a treadmill with a powerful motor is not a priority.
The Walk’In treadmill by Domyos is ideal for occasional cardio workouts. With it you can do up to 30 minutes of jogging, or moderate-to-fast walking, per day.
Designed for those running occasionally-to-regularly, who wish to do cardio workouts at home. In this case, we recommend choosing a treadmill for running, one that allows you to run an average of 45 minutes a day, such as the TC 2 treadmill.This treadmill comes with a relatively powerful motor and also provides you with a selection of training programmes to choose from. The incline can be set to up to 10% for more intense leg muscle workouts.
Advanced and high-performance users who will run frequently should choose a treadmill with a running surface that is suited for all types of strides. For long training sessions, or for running up to speeds of 16 km/h, pick a more complete treadmill, such as the TC 4, which is more powerful and comes equipped with high-performance technical features, has more training programmes, and can be set to an incline of up to 10%.
Walking and running treadmills
At speeds of 1 to 8 km/h you will be walking ("stroll" to "power walking"). Generally speaking, starting at around 8 km/h your pace will change to jogging, and then to a full run.
Treadmills for walking are generally smaller than treadmills made for running.There are 2 types: with or without a motor.
On a motor-less treadmill, the belt moves along as you apply pressure on it with your stride. This type of treadmill is fixed at an incline in order to facilitate the movement of the belt. This type of treadmill is lighter; however, it provides no option of walking on a flat surface, and the fluidity of your pace may vary depending on the model (which, if lacking, can place more strain on the joints).
On a motorised treadmill, a built-in motor moves the belt. The belt moves at a constant speed, which can be adjusted by the user at will (starting at 1 km/h). This provides two advantages: The option of running flat, and less impact on the joints (more comfortable).
There are many different treadmill models available. Each treadmill is designed to provide you with maximum comfort within a range of target speeds. This is achieved through the dimensions of the running surface, the power of the motor, and the structure of the treadmill. These factors directly impact the size of the machine and its price.
Features and their respective benefits
The running surface
The faster you walk or run, the longer your strides will be. The running surface must therefore be designed for your pace. A running surface of 100x40 cm works great for walking speeds between 1 and 6 km/h. A treadmill designed for walking will meet those specifications. When trotting or jogging at speeds between 6 and 8 km/h, a running surface of 120x40 cm will be more comfortable. Lastly, for running at speeds of 10 km/h and higher, choose a treadmill with a running surface that is 130x45 cm or larger. There's no better way to be sure that a particular model is right for you than to try it out in a real-life situation.
The power of the motor
Since the motor powers your speed, the one to get depends on your intended use of the treadmill. The faster you plan to go, the more powerful a motor you will need.
The needed power is also linked to the max user weight listed on the machine. 100 kg, or 130 kg? The selection will be different in either case. A motor that is powerful enough to match your continued use will extend your treadmill's lifespan. The first thing to look for is the motor's power in "continuous" mode (the power that the motor delivers when running continuously). The second factor is the machine's "peak" power (power available from time to time, such as during an acceleration phase).
One of the "comfort" benefits of running on a treadmill! Good-quality treadmills usually have a shock absorption system, with a level of sophistication that varies from model to model. This reduces the impact on your knees and joints. The level of impact absorption should match your level of use: for walking, a gentle cushioning means less impact on your joints and gives you a nice "bounce". For running, a harder cushioning mechanism will provide you with extra launch, and increase your running momentum while reducing energy loss.
Setting the treadmill at an incline is perfect for working out your leg muscles. It also adds variety to your run and simulates outdoor running conditions. It also works out your lower body muscles (glutes, thighs, etc.) and your abdominals (core muscles), and increases your calorie burn rate (up to 4 times higher at an incline of 20%!). There are two types of inclines: Manually adjusted, requiring you to stop the machine to change the setting; and automatically adjusted, where the incline can be changed while running.
The treadmill's console provides you with basic information regarding your run:speed, distance travelled, exercise time, average calories burned. There is a range of console models, from simple, intuitive ones designed for walking, up to more high-tech versions for running.
Check which measurement readings the console provides, as well as its built-in training programmes that let you analyse your performance and progress, its compatibility with other devices (coach or MP3), and how easy it is to read the display (size of the screen, backlit, etc.) Some models also display your heart rate. (The most accurate way to measure this is by wearing a heart-rate belt).
Max user weight
This can vary from 100 kg to over 150 kg, depending on the model. A treadmill's dimensions and motor size/power rating is designed to be able to safely support a runner weighing up to the maximum weight for an extended period of time.
The stability of your run will depend on the weight of the treadmill. The heavier the treadmill, the more stable it is. This also impacts how smooth and comfortable your running experience is. A treadmill's floor surface dimensions (length and width) is also a factor contributing to its stability.
Fitting it into your home
Fold-up/fold-down system: Most treadmills provide an option to fold up the running belt after a run. Unfolding the treadmill is usually a mechanically-assisted process.
Some treadmills also offer other options. For example, the Domyos Walk'In treadmill is thin enough to be stored under most beds, making it a great space-saver!
Moving the treadmill around: Most treadmills come equipped with a set of wheels for moving it around. However, bear in mind that some treadmills are easier to move around than others (the main factors in this case are the total weight and handholds or handles).
It takes 30 to 60 minutes to set up most treadmills. Alternatively, you can pick up a setup-free product, such as the new "ready-to-use" Domyos models.