Treadmill is the commonest equipment bought for the home gym and is also one of the commonest equipment used if one frequents the gym. It is often believed that the cardio exercises such as running, jogging or cycling help lose weight and also to keep one fit. But, it is worthwhile to note that the low intensity exercises help the body to adapt over a period of time thereby losing its efficiency at reducing the calories burned per minute.
Most of the people buy the treadmill and it soon becomes a dread mill- some use it as a storage space for books and other commodities. Some use the treadmill as a stand for hanging clothes.
There are, however, some points to ponder before buying one.
The advantages of a treadmill:
- Can exercise indoors despite adverse climate
- The smooth cushioned belt is kinder to the joints than when running on hard surfaces outside.
- Those who have no baby sitter or those who cannot leave home can benefit having this at home.
- This can be folded and kept aside if space is being compromised.
- Can listen to audio or see videos while on the treadmill.
- The programmable workout can be done to make the treadmill more interesting
- Can be monotonous
- The force of impact while stamping on the belt can cause injuries or pain to the knee, ankle or hip joints for some.
- While running or walking outside, the muscles make small adjustments to improve the co-ordination and balance which is not there while on the treadmill.
- While walking or running outside, the hamstring muscles ( muscles of the back of thigh and calf) help to propel the body forward. This does not take place while on the treadmill as the machine pulls the body forward.
- There is no wind resistance which can be encountered while exercising outdoors.
- There is nothing to match the downhill running on treadmill. While running downhill, there has to be a good co-ordination between the muscles of the front of thighs and lower leg muscles.
- Can fall off the treadmill with injuries if not concentrating while on the treadmill
- Adequate footwear is essential as the footwear can wear and tear easily due to the friction.
- Cannot enjoy the sights outside, no fresh air and also change in pace is not possible.
Points to ponder while buying one:
- There are two types- manual and motorized type. The manual needs one to use force to start it moving and some need even an inclination, but once it gets moving, the inclination cannot be adjusted unless you come off the machine. The manual one costs lesser than the motorized one.
- Stand on the belt and see if there is any jerky movement or instability of the base of the machine
- Look for a continuous duty rating of > 1.5 HP
- The belt size must be at least 48” long and 16” wide.
- The control panel must be easily accessible
- There must be an emergency stop button which can be used if there is a mishap.
- Look for the programmable versions available where the pace and inclination can be adjusted.
- Addition of audio and video plug ins cost more
- Water bottle holders are another option.
- Look for the warranty period
- If any other person besides you are planning on using the machine, please buy the high end machine. Those who are heavily built need a better machine.
- Regular servicing or maintenance is needed.
Before using the treadmill, do the following:
- Proper attire including good shoes
- Make sure you are fit to undergo the exercise. If a first timer, make sure the doctor clears you of any heart, eye, kidney or nerve problems. If having back pain, ask the doctor before starting the treadmill.
- Make sure the sugar levels are not too high or too low. Correct the sugar levels before the exercise.
- Carry with you an ID card mentioning you are diabetic. Have fast acting carbs with you. Carry either orange juice or water which can be had midway between a heavy work out if the duration lasts more than an hour. If you feel dizzy or complain of difficulty breathing, do consult a doctor before continuing.
- Adequate warm up is essential, start slow and then build up the pace or inclination and also stop slowly. Do not suddenly stop unless it is an emergency.
- Leave a space behind while on the belt, it is safer you have some space behind in case you slip.
- Hold on to the side railings while using an inclination or losing balance.
- Swing arms if possible as in natural walking.
- The short bursts of fast pace followed by slow pace improve the fitness levels as well do not exhaust the body.
- Keep back straight and not slouched over.