Home Treadmill News & Information

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Consumer Reports just named the ProForm PRO 2000 Treadmill a “Best Buy.”

NordicTrack has announced a new sale: NordicTrack Sale

NordicTrack Jillian

Benefits of Running Infographic

Treadmill Buying Tips Infographic

If you’ve thinking about buying a treadmill for the first time, there are several things to know that will help you. Don’t worry; it’s not complicated!

In fact, running or walking on a treadmill is actually easier than running or walking on a steady surface. Because the surface is moving you forward, you don’t have to lean forward like to have to do slightly when running outside. Because you don’t have to lean forward, you are actually performing less work. Sounds insignificant, sure, but it adds up. Using a treadmill can also be easier than running on a hard surface because the treadmill provide cushioning. Because you can set your own pace and goals on a treadmill, there is no need to keep going to reach your physical destination or to show anyone else what you are doing.

You Don’t Have to Think!

The secret to the ease and superiority of treadmill use is in their built-in programs. Virtually all treadmills can read your heart rate through sensors on the handles and display it to you on the console. This feature allows you to set and meet heart rate and fitness goals with far more accuracy than randomly running outside.

Of course, there is a danger in over-thinking treadmill workouts. It is actually quite easy just to get on and start. You can start the belt very slowly and turn up the speed as you feel comfortable. Most treadmills also come equipped with “keys” that you can attach to your wrist and console. If you ever felt like you had to stop for some reason, just moving your wrist away will bring to belt to a comfortable and safe stop.

The Fifth Annual State of the Treadmill Industry has been released. View it here for free: State of the Treadmill Industry 2013

Watch this short video to see how it’s done:

Treadmill Workouts Chart

Treadmill Incline - bump it up

Don’t have a lot of time for using your treadmill? Try raising the incline of the belt platform. This will dramatically increase the difficulty of both walking and running, This increase in the “intensity” of the exercise will burn more calories in a given amount of time than walking or running on a flat surface.

How Fast Should I Go with the Incline Up?

You don’t have to run or even walk fast. Studies show that walking slowly on an incline tends to burn fat, instead of simply consuming short term energy. Studies also show that this slow walking on an incline elevates your heart rate at least as much running without an incline. Using a treadmill with built-in programs that adjust the incline automatically can avoid having to do the calculations yourself and can keep your workouts interesting.

Exercise bike s on the Titanic 1912

These  exercise bikes are purportedly in the exercise room on the Titanic in 1912. We all know that we will all die no matter how good shape we are in. This photo reminds us that it may be soon than we think!  Note that the clock says 9:10.  Presumably this photo was not taken on the day of the sinking, which occurred in the early morning hours.

Or is the “clock” actually a stopwatch-like exercise timer? Either way, when your time is up, neither your low cholesterol, your stylish garb, nor your grim expression will another minute add!

Of course, treadmills are a better way to cheat death. Just see the cartoon below.

Running from death with a treadmill

Running from death with a treadmill

1934 – Treadmill belts of wood slats get replaced by fabric. Heels not yet replaced by sneakers. Incline and other angles look good.

Treadmills Before Sneaker Invented

Antique Treadmill

Unicycle on Treadmill
Treadmill Bike

NASA has confirmed that it will dispose of the treadmill that has been used in space for over ten years. The treadmill is scheduled to disintegrate in July 2013, as it re-enters the earth’s atmosphere inside a Russian cargo freighter filled with other technology that has “runs its course.” The treadmill was mounted on a gyroscope to reduce vibration transmitted to the space station. Astronauts were held down on the tread belt by bungee cords. The old treadmill is being replaced by a newer Russian model

Space Treadmill

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Some treadmill manufacturers promote their models with “orthopedic” (or “orthopaedic”) running belts. The idea is the thicker belt will provide further cushioning beyond that provided by the machine’s cushioning system. Treadmills’ cushioning systems are based on springs or shock absorbers. The orthopedic belt provides the same kind of foam-like cushioning that running shoes do. However, the thicker and heavier material of the orthopedic belt puts additional substantial strain on the treadmill’ motor. The same effect of the orthopedic belt can usually be achieved by simply adjusting the treadmill’s cushioning system to a higher level. This is more cost effective than replacing the motor or buying a treadmill with a bigger motor.

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It adjusts for your head bobbing while using a treadmill. See http://www.runnersworld.com/treadmills/device-might-make-reading-treadmill-easier

Homer Simpson’s treadmill workout:

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worlds new largest treadmill This treadmill was built for an elephant with a 75 hp motor. The elephant didn’t like it, so it was sold on craigslist, advertised as the world’s largest treadmill. The buyer was a guy who will use it to train dog teams. Holy Smokes! Can anybody top this? (Mining conveyor belts do not count.)

An attractive benefit of home treadmills is their ability to raise the incline and increase the difficulty of walking or running. The higher you adjust the incline, the more difficult your exercise becomes. It is widely stated that increasing the incline 1% makes treadmill running equivalent in difficulty to running outside. Therefore, people comparing treadmills may be concerned how high they can adjust the incline on their machine. Common ranges cited are “0 –12%” and “0 – 15%.” Sounds good, but what does this really mean? Fifteen per cent of what?

100% would be…what? Doesn’t make any sense, does it? Angles are not measured in percentages! Angles are measured in degrees. 180 degrees is a straight line. Straight up from the ground is 90 degrees (abbreviated as “90°”). Picture about a quarter of that angle and you will picture what 22.5° is. See the graph below to see what the angle of 15° looks like.

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Incline Angles in Degrees

Incline Angles in Degrees

commercial treadmillsCommercial treadmills are better than home treadmills, right? It seems they must be because manufacturers describe some of their models as having “commercial grade” motors or belts. But what does this really mean?

There is no industry definition of “commercial” or “commercial grade.” Commercial gyms buy very heavy duty treadmills that cost more than $5,000 each and that home users are unlikely to buy for themselves. But what about other non-home users, “light commercial” locations, such as exercise rooms in hotels and condos? These non-home users often make their buying decision based on what their bosses tell them a treadmill that is covered by a warranty.

It’s The Warranty

That’s the difference between a home treadmill and a true commercial treadmill. The warranties for home treadmills specifically cover home use only. Many light commercial users choose to buy better-quality home treadmills without being covered by a warranty. They calculate that the money they save on the purchase could more than make up for paying for any necessary repairs.

Light commercial administrators, such as hotel and condominium managers should determine if they are required to only buy equipment covered by warranties before deciding which treadmill to buy.

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Should you choose a treadmill with a DC motor or an AC motor?Treadmill Motor

You probably won’t get the choice. But let’s say you did, what difference does it make?

Almost all homes in the U.S. are supplied with AC current (alternating current). To complicate matters, the treadmills in the big gyms tend to have AC motors, so wouldn’t those be better? Thus, common sense suggests that your treadmill should have an AC motor. But no! Appliances of various types, including treadmills, typically have other components that convert the AC current to DC (direct current) and allow the appliance to use a DC motor.

AC motors start faster than DC motors, and are more powerful, but also make more noise. DC motors are simpler than AC motors, can start at slower speeds for slower people, and tend to produce more consistent power at higher speeds. Thus, the manufacturers have decided it is better to equip home treadmills with DC motors, almost universally.

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If a tread belt runs on front and back rollers, and is held in place by tension, why would you want to lubricate it? Wouldn’t that make it slip? Not if you do it right. The real purpose of lubrication is to prevent the belt from drying and cracking, which could shorten its life substantially. With its belt properly lubed, your treadmill will also operate more smoothly, extending the life of all its moving parts.

For the correct lubricant, see your owner’s manual. This is important because some belts require silicone-based lubricant, while others must have a zinc-based lubricant, depending on the material the belt is made of.

The first step is to unplug the treadmill. Clean underneath the treadmill with a vacuum cleaner, using the nozzle attachment to clean inside the treadmill as much as possible. Clean the belt with a damp cloth or mild soap. Allow it to dry. Adjust the belt tension according to the manual.

Then lift up a side of the belt and apply a thin line lengthwise to the underside of the belt. Turn the belt with your hand until you have completed one turn. Go to the other side of the belt and repeat. After application is complete, plug the treadmill back in and run it on the slowest speed possible for a few minutes, without getting on it. This will distribute the lubricant across the underside of the belt and allow the lubricant to work itself into the belt.

You Are Done!

After a few minutes, try walking on the treadmill and gradually increase its speed. If you used too much lubricant, the belt may slip. In that case, unplug the treadmill again, wipe off the lubricant with a clean towel, and tighten the belt a bit. This should eliminate any slippage due to over-lubrication. A belt may continue to slip if it is worn or stretched and needs to be replaced.

Some machines say that no lubrication or “No Maintenance” is required. However, even on these machines, some lubricant will extend the life of your belt. Lubricating once every year or two should suffice, depending on how often and how hard you use your machine.

Smooth Fitness was sold for cash in December to the private equity firm of Larsen McColl after a brief suspension of operations. Existing orders and being filled and all warranties are being honored. The sale was an all-cash transaction, which leaves the newly-organized company with no debt and existing management in place. The company is investing millions more to introduce new products and expand.

Everybody knows that if you want to lose fat, do cardio, and, if you want to gain muscle, lift weights. Right? A December 2012 study looked at this question specifically, seemingly for the first time. It turns out it’s not so simple. The results may surprise you. See Cardio v. Weights for Fat Loss.

What good is that heart rate monitor on your treadmill? Here’s a good article on how to get the most out of it: How to Use Your Heart Rate Monitor.

China's Treadmill City

Xiamen, where your treadmill probably comes from.

According to China Daily, one Chinese city now produces one third of the world’s treadmills. China’s Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau says that 2011 saw a thirty per cent increase to $650 million of total fitness equipment exports from the eastern coastal city of Xiamen, about a quarter of the country’s total.

Xiamen is the second largest city in Fujian province and was one of the original four Special Economic Zones established during the 1980s. When costs later increased dramatically for Taiwanese manufacturers, many manufacturers moved to the Chinese mainland. Now the city hosts holds more than eighty fitness equipment manufacturers. Xiamen’s administrative district recently approved an “exported fitness equipment quality and safety demonstration area” for its fitness equipment manufacturers. This public district coordinates training, manufacturing, and exporting.

The United States is the largest consumer of most fitness equipment, about forty per cent of the market. Chinese sales to the U.S. and Europe grow about 20 per center per year, but the industry in China has been transitioning from simply manufacturing parts and complete units for U.S. companies to being more involved in the design and marketing.

Chinese companies are also now manufacturing and selling its own brands for sale within China and elsewhere. According to Ryan Lee, General Manager of Xiamen Cowell Industrial Ltd., which supplies U.S. giant ICON Health & Fitness, new treadmills that have interactive, high-tech features sell well in newer markets like Brazil and Russia, where sales have more than doubled each of the past few years. He also says that western buyers like to buy their fitness equipment at malls, while the Chinese prefer to shop through specialized agents or stores.

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New “Check Engine Light” for treadmills detects problems, such as excessive electricity use. Watch this video about the “Treadmill Saver.” at http://www.greenfitco.com/

Huge!!This photo is from ebay Australia. Something is not right!

The same technique applies to most brands.

The Fourth Annual State of the Treadmill Industry report is now available at 2012 Treadmill Industry Report

The 2012 Health & Fitness Expo showed that the exercise equipment industry is keeping pace with changes in technology. Among the innovations revealed at the show were:

Treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes that you plug your iPad into and actually run your exercise program through the iPad. (BH Fitness and Bodyguard)

Treadmills, bikes, and steppers where the user is half submerged for rehab purposes. (Fit Wet)

Club ellipticals and bikes that generate electricity, feed it back into the grid, and allow users to track their own contributions. (Sports Art Fitness)

Open API that allow developers to create apps for gym equipment. (Life Fitness)

Watch this short video to know the basics:

7 Deadly Sins of Treadmill Buying