Whether you want to burn calories, train for the next competition or just clear your head: A treadmill is an effective way to increase your fitness in the living room and you don't have to run in the dark in winter. Instead, you run on a level surface that is slightly springy and therefore easy on the joints.
Treadmills have motors ranging from 1 to 4 hp that can propel the belt to speeds of just over 20 km/h. With many models you can choose between pre-installed programs with which you can increase your fitness level in a targeted manner. For example, you can do interval training at different speed levels or simulate mountain runs with the increase setting.
Here we show you what you should look out for when buying a treadmill and which models are suitable for which type of sport.
You should pay attention to these with treadmills:
Cushioning, incline and programs - so that you can find the treadmill that suits your needs and individual training goals, we will show you the important criteria you should consider when buying a treadmill.
The running surface: enough space for your steps:
The treadmill should be vibration-dampened and offer enough space so that you can move freely on it. In general, the taller the runner and the faster the pace, the larger the running surface should be. If you only walk briskly on your treadmill, an area about 45 cm wide and about 120 cm long is sufficient. For fast runners with long legs, the treadmill should be at least 50 cm wide and about 140 cm long. Also note the maximum user weight specified by the manufacturer. Many models can withstand up to 150 kg.
Incline angle for your mountain training:
Many treadmills allow you to set an incline angle at the push of a button. On some models, the treadmill rises up to 15% at the front, simulating a running route that leads uphill. With mountain runs you train the lateral buttock muscles and your thighs. It is practical if you can adjust the angle of inclination while running. It is recommended to always set the treadmill to an incline of 1% to simulate natural outdoor conditions such as headwinds, small inclines and the effort required to move forward.
Treadmills are equipped with cushioning to protect the joints. In addition, there are rubber buffers on the running plate, which absorb shocks like a soft forest floor and effectively cushion your steps. There are even models where you can adjust the degree of cushioning. Cushioned running shoes that are tailored to your running style also support a comfortable running feeling thanks to good cushioning.
Sufficient speeds and engine power:
Many treadmills allow top speeds of between 12 and 16 km/h. Recreational runners can improve their fitness and burn calories on the treadmills with a motor output of at least 2 hp. For faster runners training for competitions, the treadmill should be able to reach a maximum speed of 20 km/h, very ambitious runners even need a speed of up to 23 km/h. If you want a treadmill to walk or jog on slowly, a model that reaches a speed of 8 km/h is sufficient.
A display for easy operation:
Make sure the display is clearly laid out. The letters and numbers should contrast well with the background so that you can see your performance values ??clearly while running. The display should have few, clearly marked buttons and be easy to use. With direct selection buttons and large plus and minus buttons, you can easily change the speed and incline without losing your rhythm. Training can be started quickly and easily with a quick start button.
Devices with heart rate measurement:
Many treadmills can measure your heart rate with sensors on the handrails. With a good running style, however, your arms swing at your sides, so measuring your heart rate via integrated hand pulse sensors can throw you off. If you train according to pulse zones or if you want to keep track of your heart rate while running, a heart rate belt that is placed around the chest is recommended. Look for a treadmill whose computer you can pair with the belt.
Personalized and varied training programs:
To vary the speed and incline, many treadmills have programs for interval training and hilly runs. There are also preset programs for fat burning and special programs for conditioning, including warm-up and cool-down. With very innovative treadmills, you can set a personal upper limit in the form of your individual heart rate, for example if you are only allowed to train in a certain heart rate range for health reasons.
A recent trend in treadmills is the simulation of races or courses. Completing your favorite run in your own dry four walls is no longer a problem - at least virtually. Technical highlights such as a programmable competition with friends and training partners are completely new.
Safe running training:
Beginners can find it difficult to find a secure footing on the treadmill at first. Models with extra-long handrails offer you stability. An emergency stop function is important: a large red button or a clip that is attached to the treadmill with a ripcord. If the button is pressed or the leash is pulled, the treadmill will stop immediately. Make sure that your treadmill has been tested and has a safety mark.
Tips for setting up and maintaining your treadmill
Here are a few tips on where to set up your exercise equipment and how to take care of it properly to run long and effectively on it:
A suitable place for your treadmill is a dry room. Set it up so that no direct sun shines on the treadmill, as this will damage the material.
If you have neighbors in the apartment below, place a mat under the treadmill to muffle the noise.
There are models that fold up and stand upright against the wall to save space when you're not training. If you have enough space, we recommend a treadmill with a fixed frame that is more stable.
If the ground is uneven, you should be able to level your treadmill with leveling screws to keep it from wobbling. Otherwise there will be uneven wear.
The tread should not sag. For testing, you can run the belt at 5 km/h and see if it runs evenly. If it slips slightly, tighten the tensioning screws on the tread.
Always wear clean running shoes when exercising on the treadmill. You should regularly dust off the treadmill and wipe off dirt with a damp cloth. Do not use strong chemical cleaning agents.
Every two weeks, clean the surfaces, the engine compartment and the surrounding area with a vacuum cleaner. Check treadmill lubrication monthly by reaching under the edge of the treadmill. If it is dry there, you can renew the lubricating film with silicone spray.