The 10 Best Treadmills
10. NordicTrack T 6.5S
9. Sunny Health & Fitness
8. Horizon Fitness T101-04
7. Exerpeutic TF1000
6. Schwinn MY16 830
5. Weslo Cadence R5.2
4. LifeSpan TR1200-DT5
3. AFG Sport 5.5AT
2. 3G Cardio Elite
1. ProForm Pro 2000
More To A Treadmill Than Meets The Eye
At first glance, it doesn't look like a treadmill is that complicated of a machine. All you really see of it is the console, some posts, and a belt that wraps around a flat surface.
To put the complex construction of any given treadmill into perspective for you, we've provided this almost needlessly elaborate schematic of all the treadmill's parts.
This is, honestly, the other end of the spectrum, and it makes a treadmill out to be more intricate than it is at its core.
The heart of the treadmill is near the center of the image, where you see the main motor component which turns an internal belt, whose motion translates to the movement of large rollers. Those rollers move the big belt on which you run.
It's a pretty simple transition of energy from one element to the next, but the stronger the motor and the sturdier the rollers, the better the treadmill.
Judge Tread: Evaluating Your Perfect Mill
When I was in my teens, I would start almost every year with a resolution to get in shape. Too much refined sugar and simple carbohydrates kept me in a perpetual state of chubbiness, and those holiday months of hibernation, hot chocolate, and home-baked cookies didn't help.
So, every January, I'd roll the old treadmill out of the closet and set it up, hop on, and begin the long, tedious, suffering path toward fitness. By my junior year, with a little more commitment and a better eating plan, I finally got in the shape I desired.
The treadmill we had was perfect because it stored nicely enough that we never felt the need to get rid of it to save space. That allowed me to keep trying year after year until the habit stuck.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you're going to be the prefect runner, or that you're going to get the best results out of your treadmill within a certain amount of time.
A lot of your success here is going to depend on you, but if you get the right machine, not only will your chances of success go up, the likelihood that the treadmill will last as long as you need to establish good habits becomes greater, as well.
That decision comes down to your current level of fitness, your goals for yourself, and your space. If you can fit a big machine in your house or apartment, and you need that great top speed and steep incline just to break a sweat, then go for it.
If, however, you're really just looking to raise your heart rate a few times a week, maybe just to get a good, brisk walk in during the months of the year when it's too cold to go walking outside, a smaller, simpler machine might be perfect for you.
Oh, and don't forget to mention to your doctor any drastic changes in your eating or exercise habits. He or she might want to help you ease into it. After all, there's nothing worse than having to suspend your journey toward wellness to recover from an injury.
It's Always Been A Punishment
If you've ever heard anyone describe their workout as 'punishing,' it turns out they were making a specific historical reference, though they might not have known it.
Back in the early 1800s, a miller's son devised a form of effective punishment for idle prisoners. Based on the principal of the water wheel, the original treadmills were long, step-based wheel systems on which prisoners would be forced to climb.
Their climbing motion turned the heavy stones that ground grain in the mill. Hence the term 'treadmill.'
It was more than 150 years later that the first consumer treadmill hit the market in response to growing evidence of the need for exercise among Americans.
More recently, we've seen the incorporation of Bluetooth connectivity, built in speaker systems, and advanced statistic tracking, among other technological developments.
When the weather's nice, I still think nothing beats a good run outdoors, but when the weather's cold or rainy, and as the sun and the air get more dangerous to our health, having one of these high-tech treadmills in the home is necessary.