Treadmills have been around for a while and come with many different features, powers and functions.
Some are narrow, others are wider, some are foldable to save on space. Some are self powered and others are motorized.
Treadmills have evolved over the years from just being a motorized platform that can be made faster or slower, to highly sophisticated machines that offer interactive workouts, can connect with training software such as Zwift and other well known fitness apps, as well as those that stream entertainment channels onto their HD screens!
Read on for more information about exactly how to pick the treadmill.
Who Invented The Treadmill?
The treadmill was invented in 1818 by William Cubitt, and was originally called the treadwheel.
He was a civil engineer and invented it to be used originally as a punishment for prisoners rather than as a piece of exercise equipment! At this time treadmills were being used by over half of all jails in the UK.
The first treadmills looked like large wheels with steps fitted on them, with handheld bars for support; most were large enough to support a few men at a time.
These treadmills, driven by inmates also ground corn, so they had a dual purpose.
How Do Treadmills Work?
Treadmills have a moving platform or with a wide conveyor belt which is driven by a motor. Often you will be able to adjust the angle of the conveyor belt to simulate hills as well as being able to adjust the speed of the belt (and therefore the pace of your run).
Treadmills also often come with preset programs such as interval training, fat burn, hill runs etc. These preset programs can be set at various difficulty levels to accommodate new runners as well as very fit athletes.
These programs are designed to motivate the runner as well as provide fitness training regimes.
Why Do Treadmills Suddenly Stop?
A treadmill can stop suddenly to prevent itself from causing further damage. If the motor is too hot and it’s overheating the belt will not continue to turn.
If the belt is worn or frayed or out of line, the treadmill may also stop itself.
Routine maintenance should be carried out such as lubricating the belt to reduce friction between the platform and the belt, which can lead to overheating.
Are Treadmill Distances Accurate?
The simple answer is yes. Distance is measured by revolutions of the belt – so this can be used to calculate the distance in metres, kilometres or miles depending on user preference.
This figure is therefore much easier to calculate than calories burned because there are not variables such as height, weight or age of the user to take into account.
Are Treadmill Calories Accurate?
Although some models of treadmill will be more accurate at calculating calories burnt than other, none are 100% accurate. Generally, treadmills over estimate calorie burn by between 15-20%.
Calories burned are calculated by using a formula, often treadmill machines and other cardio machine will ask you to input details such as your age, height, weight and gender before you begin your workout.
This information will form part of that formula; however the treadmill cannot calculate how other factor affect your calorie burn such as efficiency of running style, and the fat % / muscle mass variables.
In summary, treadmills will give you a good estimate of how many calories you have burned, but this figure will not be exact.
What Is A Treadmill Test?
A treadmill test involved walking on a treadmill for a set amount of time, at increasing speed / incline whilst you are hooked up to a electrocardiogram (EKG) machine. This monitors your heart rate and therefore overall fitness and health.
A treadmill test is also known as a stress test. A stress test can reveal problems with blood flow within the heart. It will also monitor your blood pressure, heart rhythm and breathing too.
How Much Electricity Does A Treadmill Use?
The majority of treadmills typically tend to use around 300 to 900 watts of power but 600-700 watts is the average.
Why Do Treadmill Belts Slip?
The main cause if treadmill belts slipping is lack of proper lubrication. They can slip if there is too much friction or if they are on too tightly.
To check this – lift up the centre of the belt – there should be a 2/3” gap if it is fitted correctly.
How Much Treadmill Lubricant Should You Use?
By lubricating your treadmill regularly, it will reduce the need for repairs and damage.
It is recommended that you lubricate your treadmill once every three months or every 130 miles – whichever is soonest using one ounce of lubrication material for each application.
You will be able to tell if the treadmill is lubricated enough because the underneath of the belt should feel oily / waxy if it correctly lubricated.
Why Treadmills Noisey?
Treadmills are noisy by nature; treadmills have a moving deck and cushioning. The combination of these and the fact that exercising is an activity where your feet land on these components generates noise.
This can shake and vibrate your house floors and walls. The sound is amplified in the other rooms. Low frequency noises cause this vibration.
In no particular order, we are going to cover some of our favourite running treadmills:
- JTX Treadmill Sprint 7 Treadmill
- NordicTrack X32i Treadmill
- Reebok Jet 100X Treadmill
- Bowflex 56 Treadmill
- Roger Black Gold Treadmill
- Proform Pro 5000 Treadmill
- LifeFitness Treadmill
- Peloton Treadmill
- Lifespan 5000 Treadmill
- Xterra TRX3500 Folding Treadmill
- Noble Pro Elite E8i Treadmill
JTX TREADMILL SPRINT 7 - £979
The JTX Treadmills Sprint 7 has a cushionstep deck, a smooth, quiet motor and quick speed and incline buttons.
It has a 7” screen to display your workout stats, built in speakers, dual bottle holders and a tablet holder that doesn’t obscure the stats screen.
JTX Sprint-7 integrates directly via Bluetooth with Kinomap, an app you can purchase for your phone or tablet. Kinomap allows you to run stunning routes from all over the world, using google maps technology.
The Zwift Compatible feature of the JTX Sprint-7 directly connects the treadmill to Zwift via Bluetooth. Your speed and key stats will pull through to Zwift from your treadmill.
The JTX Sprint-7 treadmill also includes built in heart rate training, which is a popular feature with users. The computer monitors the user's heart rate and adjusts the treadmill resistance to keep you working in the ideal heart rate zone.
After sales services on this treadmill includes a free personal training plan.
NORDICTRACK X32i TREADMILL - £3799
NordicTrack X32i treadmill is not just simply a running machine, when connected to wifi you can tune in to LIVE workouts for running and other cardio training workouts.
There is workout leader board so you can push yourself to beat others in the iFit community. Users can also contact the trainers in real time for tips and advice.
The on-demand workouts feature Automatic Trainer Control that allows your iFit trainer to automatically adjust your speed and incline in real-time.
Smart exercise features include iFit family membership, auto trainer control, blue headphone connectivity, mobile app, google maps, and track your stats.
LIFESPAN TREAT5000IT Treadmill - £1699
The Lifespan TREAT5000IT Treadmill is equipped with 20 preprogrammed training programs and can incline up to 13% and decline down to -2% allowing the user to really mix it up with varying speed and virtual hills.
A unique feature of the LifeSpan Treadmill TR5500iT are the running surface and the console consisting of two separate parts. Because of this, the console doesn’t vibrate while you train, and you are able to read the text projected on the display.
The running surface has a shock absorbing tread and is powered by a strong 4.0 horsepower motor.
It will fit in with your life conveniently too as it is foldable for when not in use.
PROFORM PRO 5000 TREADMILL - £1799
The Proform Pro 500 treadmill is equipped with iFIT technology and allows you to virtually train with real professional coaches that accompany you in the comfort of your own home.
It comes with a 30-day iFit complementary family membership too. This treadmill offers an incline adjustment of -3% - 12 %.
It has 20 possible speeds so that combined with adjusting the incline you can ensure that you get a varied and demanding workout.
REEBOK JET 100X TREADMILL - £699
The Reebok Jet 100x treadmill is a compact foldable machine that doesn’t come with as many flashy gadgets as some others, but it is functional and does the job, and is also considerably cheaper than many other models. Customer reviews have cited how quietly this treadmill runs.
Workout data is displayed on the compact led screen and it offers 29 workout programs and 12 different speed settings.
This treadmill can incline up to 12% but does not offer a decline setting. This treadmill can be folded away after use.
XTERRA TREADMILL 3500 - £1299
The Xterra treadmill 3500 is a folding treadmill with a quiet running 3hp motor. It has a top speed of 12mph and has 12 levels of incline.
The XTRAsoft deck is built to be kind on your joints and to reduce the impact of every stride.
There is a 6.5” LCD screen to help you monitor your progress and achievements.
With 34 different motivating workouts, you can mix it without getting bored. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to link up with Zwift, Kinomap, Wahoo SYSTM, Strava, Fitbit and more.
Extra features include double cup holder, cooling fan and accessories tray.
BOWFLEX TREADMILL 56 - £3408
The Bowflex treadmill 56 doesn’t just have all the usual features you may expect from a treadmills such fitness and training programmes, variable speeds and inclines, it also provides information and entertainment via the huge touch screen.
You can stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, so that you can exercise whilst still catching up on your favourite program!
It has a -5% - 20% decline / incline and all the usual workout metrics to enable you to track your workout.
It can also display 40+ scenic destinations from around the planet that you can ‘virtually walk or run through!
ROGER BLACK GOLD TREADMILL - £469
The Roger Black gold treadmill has 14 fitness programmes and an emergency stop feature.
It also has a pulse monitor to enable you to monitor your heart rate whilst working out.
This treadmill has MP3 connectivity, and is Bluetooth compatible, meaning that you can use programs such as Zwift with it.
This is a more basic bit of kit and doesn’t have the ability to adjust the incline of the running platform.
SELF POWERED CURVED TREADMILL - £2500
The self-powered curved treadmill requires the user to make the belt move with the power of your legs.
There is a lever to adjust the resistance of the belt. The obvious advantage of this is that you won’t be adding to your electricity bill when using it.
Reviewers do mention though that it is firstly very large and secondly extremely heavy and therefore wouldn’t be suited to someone living in a flat any higher than the ground floor!
Due to it being self-powered there are also no preset fitness programs on it!
Having said that, because users need to power the treadmill themselves, it does burn more energy than electric treadmills.
NOBLE PRO ELITE E8i TREADMILL - £1692
The Noble Pro Elite E8i treadmill allows users to use the touchscreen to view popular entertainment apps such as Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and Spotify.
It comes with a lifetime FREE Kinni Membership, and connects to the latest treadmills apps including Zwift, Rouvy, Peloton, BitGym, Strava and Training Peaks and Kinomap. It has a top speed of 13 mph, with a 4hp motor.
This machine despite its power is quiet running and feels big and sturdy like a gym treadmill.
It has a fan but reviewers report this isn’t very effective.
The Noble Pro Elite E8i treadmill is heavy to move, however it can be folded up out of the way.
DO YOU USE TREADMILLS TO RUN?
If you have any questions you would like to ask about treadmills, please ask below in the comments.
If you found this blog post useful, please share it using the SHARE button below.