How to Choose the Right Treadmill For You

Treadmills are affordable. You can buy your own treadmill, place it in your home and stay fit without ever leaving the confines of your home. But before you get ahead of yourself, you must learn how to choose a treadmill for you.

Elle has a few great recommendations in the video below.

How to Choose a Treadmill

If You’re Looking for a Cushioned Deck

Man running on cushioned deck treadmill

If you’re looking for a cushioned deck treadmill, you’ll want to choose a model that offers:

  • On/Off features, which are available on many units. This allows you to turn the cushioning off if you wish.
  • Differential cushioning (another great option). This cushioning will provide support for a strong push off of the track and adds cushioning when landing to alleviate pressure on the joints.

You’ll also want to consider the points discussed below. A cushioned deck is all about relieving pressure on the joints. Impact when running on a cushioned deck is reduced by 15% – 40% – a great reduction for anyone with joint pain or who’s an older runner.

SafeBee discusses how to protect your joints when using a treadmill.

If You’re a Senior

Seniors, those that are not going to run, can choose a treadmill with a shorter deck. LiveStrong recommends a 60″ deck if you plan to run on the treadmill. You can choose a shorter deck if you don’t have plans to run on your treadmill.

Shorter decks take up less space and are often cheaper.

A few additional points to consider are:

  • Safety Does the treadmill have a safety clip that cuts off the engine when removed?
  • Cushioning for joints. A cushioned deck is a great option for seniors who often have joint-related issues.

Tracking and programs are also a great way for seniors to ensure that they are reaching their daily activity needs.

If You Live in an Apartment

If you live in an apartment, a treadmill on the second or third floor may result in complaints. The neighbors below you (if you have them), will be able to hear your treadmill session loud and clear in most cases.

And even the nicest neighbors will complain.

You have a few options if you live in an apartment:

  • Timing is of the essence. If you know your downstairs’ neighbors schedule, you can choose to exercise when they’re not home. This is the simple way to avoid complaints.
  • Cushioning can help to some extent, but you’ll still be able to hear the running or brisk walking on a treadmill.
  • Manual treadmills are known for producing less noise, but they also lack all of the advanced features that electric treadmills offer.

Unless you have reinforced flooring, it’s easy to hear a treadmill on a higher floor. If you live on the first floor, owning a treadmill is not a major concern.

Even if your lease doesn’t have a clause on treadmill usage, Expert Law suggests asking your upstairs neighbor nicely to be a tad quiet. If you’re too confrontational, you might end up with a poor neighbor relationship.

If You’re a Beginner

Man using an advanced treadmill

There are two routes you can take as a beginner: no-frills, or an advanced treadmill. You need to be honest with yourself when making your choice. If you plan to use your treadmill daily, then an advanced model may be the best bet.

But if you’re like a lot of people that use their treadmill once or twice and allow it to collect dust, then a no-frills model may be worthwhile.

The few features I recommend for beginners are:

  • Presets, which allow you to challenge yourself and keep your fitness level progressing forward.
  • Incline, which is essential for helping burn excess calories working out.
  • Speed, which is often less of a concern. Most people can’t run 10 – 12 miles per hour, so the top-end speed of 6 – 8 miles per hour will suffice for most users.

Of course, there are a lot of features you may like, but if they go unused, then what’s the point?

Treadmills are complex, and a few of the features you’ll want to consider when choosing your treadmill are:

  • Speed: The speed of a treadmill will often top out at 10 mph to 12 mph – faster than most people can run.
  • Presets: A great option for all fitness levels. Presets allow you to follow a solid treadmill routine and consistently push your limits.
  • Manual vs Electric: Manual treadmills are becoming obsolete, but they offer lower noise and fewer moving parts to break. Electric models offer advanced functions, computers and settings.
  • Cushioning: Deck cushioning reduces strain on joints and is a great option for anyone nursing an injury.
  • Incline: Inclines are a great way to engage additional muscles when exercising and to burn more calories.
  • High-tech: There are high-tech options available, such as Internet connectivity, fans, speakers, USB ports and other options that you should look into when making your choice.

If you follow the guidance above, I’m confident you’ll find a treadmill that meets your needs.