Home Equipment – 10: Treadmill

Onward ho with our series on home workout equipment . Coming in at #9 we have the venerable treadmill. It's the largest piece of equipment on the list, and the most expensive. But it's a popular item and for good reason.

Treadmills are mostly used for variations on walking and running. I like to do "hiking" with steep incline changes as well as sprints, sometimes with incline (like hill sprints). Treadmills come with varying numbers of built-in programs. I occasionally use these but mostly stick with on-the-fly manual adjustments.

One of the main reasons people don't have treadmills is cost. A decent one will be well over one thousand dollars with fancy-pants machines costing several times that. But a good machine should last at least ten years so it's not such a bad deal when amortized over its lifespan. (Of course, weights are cheaper and last pretty much forever but hey...apples and oranges.) You might be able to find a decent used machine (I sold one last year) but you won't get any warranty protection so caveat emptor.

Another difficulty with having a treadmill is space. A typical machine will be about seven feet long and three feet wide. Many partially fold to save space when not in use but it's still a definite commitment. Good ones are also quite heavy so don't plan on being able to move one out of the way when you're not using it.

Some people find treadmills really unpleasant. The "boring" factor can be high but I have a reasonably large TV in front of mine. Who can be bored watching "Perry Mason"?

Good machines have cushioned decks that make running easier on the knees than paved surfaces. The belts are also easier on your shoes so if you wear expensive ones they'll at least last longer.

If you're planning to run on your treadmill (rather than walk or hike), be sure to get a longer deck...60 inches is good. The motor should be at least 3 HP regardless of how you use it.

With winter here, having a treadmill is a great way to safely keep up your walking and running. If you're a step counter, they're also great for getting your numbers up. With adjustable speeds and inclines, almost anyone can use them to get in a workout, whether it's a relaxing walk, a vigorous "hike," a longer run, or some HIIT sprints. There's a reason you find them in every gym and fitness center.

[A brief mention about ellipticals, which are kind of an alternative to treadmills. They won't be on the list because I don't have one in my home gym. I'm also not a fan (the motion is unnatural and lacks hip extension) but some folks like them. ]

A treadmill can't beat a scenic walk or hike (or wike) but they're an excellent way to stay consistent with your workouts and track your progress. If you can get one in your home gym, go for it.

Be seeing you.


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One Comment

  1. I feel your lack of mentioning the “Ger-Bull Wheel” as part of
    home training shows a lack of understanding for the common office worker (of which there are many). Note: I type this while on my wheel right now.

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