What is a Treadmill?

Electric treadmills rely on an electric-motor powered belt.
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  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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A treadmill is a low-impact indoor exercise machine that allows a person to walk, jog or run in place by providing a moving running belt over a deck. Treadmills offer the convenience of exercising any time of the day or night within the privacy of your own home.

Manual treadmills are light, inexpensive, and can usually be folded away to slide under a bed or into a closet. The running belt wraps around rollers inside a raised deck. As you walk on the belt, your weight provides the friction needed for your feet to turn the belt over the rollers, allowing you to walk in place with the belt turning beneath you. Side rails provide safety support and the front of the treadmill is a raised console that supports the side rails and walking platform.

Motorized treadmills are heavier and less likely to be portable, however they offer a superior exercise experience. On a motorized treadmill, the motor, turning on its own power beneath your feet, operates the running belt. The speed at which it turns is adjustable, thereby allowing you to walk, run or jog. If you want to slow down, you must first adjust the speed of the belt.


A quality treadmill can come with many features including pre-programmed workouts of varying difficulty for everyone from the beginning walker to the advanced runner. The workouts vary the speed and incline of the walk, as motorized treadmills can also tilt the walking deck to simulate uphill conditions. Degree of incline can also be adjusted manually. Some models allow you to create customized programs, or, based on your history, will produce a log and a customized program for you.

Generally speaking, the more expensive a treadmill, the more features it will likely have. A gym-quality treadmill can cost $2,500 - $3,000 (US dollars), but very nice treadmills can be purchased for considerably less.

Treadmill technology is always changing, but if you are in the market for a treadmill you might want to consider a few basic things:

Treadmills generally come with an electronic heart-rate monitor so that the exerciser can see if he or she is getting the desired workout. There are differing opinions as to which type of monitor is better, but some reports indicate the ear clip type is the least accurate. Chest-wrap monitors are thought to be better, though inexpensive models may not be very accurate. Some high quality chest-wrap monitors are wireless and provide alarms to let the jogger know when his or her heart rate falls or rises outside the target range.

According to experts, future treadmill technology will incorporate virtual reality. With use of a VR helmet a homesick New Yorker working in Los Angeles might take a morning jog through Central Park, while a native Angelino might chose a jog past the methane oceans on Titan, or a walk through a lush Washington rain forest. This technology will likely be incorporated into industrial treadmills initially, but eventually price will drop enough to reach the home market.

The popularity of the treadmill continues to grow as people realize the importance of exercise and the value of walking. Whether it's 2 o'clock in the morning, snowing outside, or you just don't feel comfortable out and about in the neighborhood, a treadmill in the house will ensure you get the cardio workout you need to stay healthy and fit.

As always, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.


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Post 4

Crispety-I used to have a manual treadmill that was like a fold up treadmill, but I prefer the larger electronic treadmills because I like to run fast and these have the potential to allow me to go up to 12 miles per hour.

I usually don’t go that fast, but I like to do intervals also with varying speeds, and going up to just five miles per hour is not enough.

A treadmill is really an investment and it is far better to have a treadmill in your home than signing up for a gym membership.

The reason is simple. In a gym membership you have to pack your clothes and drive to the gym. However, if you have the treadmill at home, you can simply workout at home and have taken all of the possible excuses off the table in terms of your workout. This will make it more likely that you will continue your routine.

Post 3

Somerset- I agree with you. I usually wait until the Christmas holidays to get a treadmill. There are so many treadmills on sale and many retailers know that people start up their exercise routines in the beginning of the New Year. I was looking at the healthrider treadmill and hte pacemaster treadmill, but I can not decide.

I think that the best treadmills are the elliptical treadmills. What is great about those is that you are climbing up and moving your arms at the same time.

Since your body is using more muscles you will burn more calories and have a better overall shape overtime.

I think that NordicTrack sells them. I normally get the extended warranty on the treadmills that I buy because sometimes there are problems with the belt and the motor.

This way you will get someone to repair your treadmill and you don’t have to worry about interrupting your routine because once that happens it may be difficult to focus on your exercise routine again.

Post 1

I like to use treadmill because I know exactly how fast and long I walk. I also have no excuse on rainy or on cold days. Since the speed can be controlled it is easy to change it to the level of your fitness, and speed up and slow down during the exercise.

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