Treadmills are versatile exercise machines that take up very little space but serve up a variety of health benefits. If you are looking for information on How to Choose the Perfect Treadmill for your exercise routine, here is a handy little guide for you wherein we will briefly go over the specifications of a Treadmill and discuss which one is the best for you.

You can use a treadmill to lose weight, increase endurance, improve fitness, gain strength, buildup your legs, and train for marathons etc. all without leaving the comfort of your home and while watching your favorite movies. Cold, heat, rain, going to the gym; say goodbye to all these hassles.

However Treadmills these days come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and prices. Choosing the right treadmill involves understanding the manufacturer’s specifications, which, frankly, are designed to confuse the layman. Here are a few questions you should ask.

What Should Be my Budget?
While it is easy to say that costlier is better, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on buying a treadmill designed for professional athletes. Here is a quick checklist.

Your budget should be:

Under $1,000, if you are buying it for walking purposes only.
Under $1,500, if you are buying it for some light jogging and would like some electronic functions.
Under $2,500, if you want a durable treadmill with sturdy motors, monitors, cushioning and treads.
Over $2,500, for a premium treadmill with all the bells and whistles.
What Do I Get in Return for the Investment?
On an average you can expect your treadmill to last you for 7-8 years. The better models will last for 10-15 years or more. The average time-frame for the life of a treadmill is 10 years, with some going for 12 years or more. Selecting the right model with regard to your exercise routine is therefore critical. Treadmills break apart at the deck due to belt friction. Wipe the treadmill down weekly and vacuum the area under and around the treadmill. Proper lubrication goes a long way in extending the life of your treadmill.

When it comes to warranty, the motor is the most important component that needs to be covered. Look for a warranty that covers the motor for 10 years, spare parts for 2 years and 1 year of on-site maintenance.

What Do those Numbers around the Motor Mean?
The motor drives the belt upon which you run, and is the heart of the treadmill. Motors are rated by their H.P. or HorsePower. Horsepower measurements are of two types; Continuous or Peak. Peak HP is the maximum power output by the motor before it fails, and therefore is of no use to you. You should look for continuous horsepower (C.H.P.) ratings. Insist that the manufacturer gives you the CHP of the motor fitted on your treadmill. A CHP of at least 1.5 is recommended for lighter use and a 2 CHP will cover jogging and running. If you see a treadmill being advertised for $900 with a 6 HP motor, that is the peak power output before motor failure, not the power output at which the motor operates. Usually, the larger the motor, the more expensive the treadmill.

What Should Be the Size of my Deck/Running Belt?
treadmillsStride (length of step) and Gait (side-to-side movement) define your walking or running motion. If you are tall or heavy or both, you will need more space to run on the belt. Choose a belt of at least 45 cm x 130 cm unless you are petite and short. Ideally, you want a belt of around 55 cm x 150 cm.

The deck is the part you run on, and is situated under the belt. Decks are often made of laminated wood, wax-impregnated or lubricated to improve their lives and placed on shock absorbers to provide suspension. Some are reversible, so you get double the life. The deck plays an important role in comfort and cushioning while running. Look for decks of at least 16 mm and ideally 25 mm size. A good deck will be thick and will have soft absorbing pads for cushioning. Proper cushioning will make it easier to exercise while reducing chances of injury, especially for those with joint problems or intensive exercise schedules. For marathon training you don’t require much cushioning since you want to mimic road conditions.

Most treadmills will have belts that whiz along at speeds of 1MPH to 10MPH. Only competitive runners need speeds more than that. Lower end treadmills might offer speeds of up to 8MPH, which is more than enough for walkers.

Treadmills which incline allow you to mimic walking uphill. Some treadmills incline manually, others use electrically powered rack and pinion mechanisms or screws. Inclines up to 12-15 degrees are commonly available.

What about the Fancy Wires?
The control console stores and controls information. It can provide you with speed, distance, heart rate, time, calories burned etc. Essential features are time, distance, incline and heart rate. Additionally the console can feature in-built preset workout programs. Modern ones feature touchscreens, wifi tethering, music and video.

What is the Best Treadmill?
There is no “best” treadmill. There however is a treadmill that matches your criteria. Your main criteria are:

Belt and Deck
Here are a few pointers to selecting a treadmill based on your exercise goals.

Go for a treadmill with an incline of 5-10 degrees. The motor should be of CHP 1.5 to 2.0. Choose a belt of 18 inches x 54 inches. Your console should give you distance, speed and pace. Opt for extra cushioning for a comfortable walking experience.

Go for a treadmill with the maximum possible incline (8 MPH and 10-12 degree incline should suffice) within your budget. A motor of CHP 2.0 is recommended to deal with the extra in. Select a belt at least 18 inches x 58 inches. Your console should give you time, speed, distance, and calories burned. Opt for a lot of cushioning to prevent join injuries.

treadmills2Choose a heavyduty motor of 2.0 to 2.5 CHP. The belt should be at least 18 inches x 58 inches. A speed of 12 MPH is desirable, but opt for at least 10 MPH. An incline of 5-10 degrees is sufficient. Runners need a treadmill that declines by 2 to 3 degrees. Opt for a reversible deck since runners wear out treadmills faster. Your control console should give you distance, time, speed, pace, calories as well as heart rate and target zone information.

That then concludes our guide on How to Choose the Perfect Treadmill for Your Exercise Routine. Hope this article has given you enough pointers for you to buy a durable treadmill that is just right for you, without going overboard on your budget. Happy exercising!