The 10 Best Folding Treadmills
10. NordicTrack T 6.5 S
9. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400
8. Marcy JX-650W
7. Efitment T012
6. Schwinn MY16 830
5. Iubu Fitness
4. Endurance TF3i
3. LifeSpan TR4000i
2. Sole F85
1. 3G Cardio 80i
A Brief History Of Treadmills
It should not come as a surprise that the treadmill was originally invented as a torture device.
During the height of the Roman Empire, slaves were forced to push what was known as a tread wheel. This was basically several horizontal bars attached to a vertical shaft that, when pushed, was able to lift heavy objects or buckets of water out of a well.
Of course, using animals like mules or oxen was much more efficient, and so the treadmill fell out of favor until 1818, when a British engineer named Sir William Cubitt found a much more humane use for it...wait, no, it was still used for torture.
Cubitt, outraged that prisoners were sitting around idle when they could be improving their physiques and performing useful labor, devised a contraption that worked like an endless staircase. As prisoners pushed it, the machine ground grain, pulled water, or ventilated mine shafts.
This punishment was considered enormously cruel, even by 19th-century standards, so it was only a matter of time before some sadistic person figured out a way to get normal, law-abiding citizens to do it willingly. This happened in 1968, when a mechanical engineer named William Staub realized there was nothing on the market that would allow people to experience the pleasure of a walk without having to leave the warm, comforting glow of their television.
After Staub released his first prototype, the machine quickly caught on with hospitals, gyms, and even NASA. The benefits of aerobic exercise were starting to become widely known, and more people were starting to pay attention to their physiques. As a result, the treadmill became a workout staple in both gyms and homes across America.
In recent years, there has been a concentrated effort to improve the performance and design of these running machines. You can get models with Wi-Fi, HD touchscreens, and more electronics than the space shuttle, but all the bells and whistles in the world can't distract you from the fact that you're voluntarily doing something that used to be considered a form of barbaric torture.
But hey, keep it up. It's really good for you.
Why A Folding Treadmill?
The primary benefit of a folding treadmill is obvious: it saves a ton of space.
Most folding models are easy to put away when you're finished, and you can slip them under your bed or in a closet when they're not in use. This lets you stay in shape without sacrificing an entire room in your home to an ugly torture device...er, I mean exercise machine.
For apartment dwellers, this can make all the difference in the world. If you're trying to save money on gym memberships, a treadmill can be a fantastic way to stay motivated (especially in harsh climates). It wouldn't be worth it, however, if the majority of your space was dominated by the contraption.
Even if you have plenty of room, being able to put the machine away can still pay dividends. Vacuuming will be much easier, and you won't be tempted to turn it into a glorified clothes rack.
Since most folding models are less bulky than their stationary counterparts, they're usually less expensive. This makes them a natural choice for anyone looking to reduce expenses.
That doesn't mean that they're without their downsides, however. The biggest potential disadvantage is the possibility that, once you slide it under the bed, it will stay there. You need to commit to a regular exercise routine if you want to see results and get your money's worth.
Also, they're usually not as robustly-built as stationary models. This shouldn't be a big deal unless you're really hard on it for some reason, and even if it breaks down eventually, chances are it'll still be cheaper to buy two of these than a single high-end, non-folding option.
At the end of the day, the best piece of exercise equipment is whatever you'll use consistently. Still, it's nice to have something that you can get out of your way when it's not in use (and you won't have to feel it glaring at you when you skip a workout to eat ice cream on the couch).
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Treadmill
You started with the best of intentions. You committed to getting in shape, found and purchased the best treadmill, and now it's here, in your home.
Even the most hardcore exercise enthusiasts can get burned out eventually, and just because you made it more convenient to work out doesn't mean that it will be any easier. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make you more likely to stick to your routine.
First off, schedule a set time to use your treadmill, and guard this time jealously. If you're a morning person, it's a great way to start your day, and night owls can use it to blow off steam from the stress of the day. The important thing is to associate a certain time with the exercise, making it easier to form the habit.
Next, try to make it as fun as you can (I know, I know). That could mean listening to a pulse-pounding playlist, watching TV, or competing with friends and family in fitness challenges. Anything you can do to break up the monotony will help you stick with it.
Speaking of which, don't just do the same thing every time. Mix it up — change the incline, incorporate weights, give HIIT a try. By making your workout fresh, you'll always have something new to look forward to, and new challenges to master.
Just remember: if you stay dedicated, the results will come — and those results will feel better than skipping a workout ever did.