By AARON DORKSEN – 3G Cardio Fitness Editor
More than 50 million Americans used a treadmill at least once in the previous year, according to a 2016 survey by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA).
Treadmills make up about 40 percent of an estimated $3.5 billion in retail fitness equipment sales in North America. These incredibly versatile and effective machines can range in price from $300 all the way up to $10,000 or more for commercial-grade models.
People of nearly all ages and physical abilities can get at least get some use out of a treadmill. As long as you can walk and keep your balance, you can benefit from a treadmill.
Based on those statistics and the versatility, obviously a great number of people feel like treadmills are a good investment.
Control your workout
In 2018, many consumers want to control their lives with technology as much as possible. When it comes to fitness, treadmills are the perfect machine to do that.
A person can exercise when, where and how they want to on a treadmill. The user has total control of the environment, ranging from where the machine is set up, to the temperature and surroundings of the room. Electronics that come with a treadmill can be linked via a smart phone or iPad and allow users to customize workouts.
All aspects of the actual treadmill workout can be controlled by the user – speed, incline, warm-up period, cool-down period and energy expended.
A lot of us don’t like to run or walk for 20-30 minutes at a time, but it’s a great way to stay healthy and fit. If you can watch NetFlix or YouTube while exercising, or crank tunes over your home stereo in a workout room, it can help pass the time a lot faster.
And, treadmills are extremely efficient. Running on a treadmill usually burns calories faster than most other forms of in-home exercise, such as using an elliptical machine or riding an exercise bike.
Another great benefit of treadmills is that they’re safer than running outdoors because you don’t have to worry about stepping in a hole outside, inclement weather, etc. A treadmill has a predictable surface that is much easier to walk or run on than roads, sidewalks, curbs, trails, etc., where the risk of tripping or suffering an injury such as a sprained ankle is greater.
The convenience and availability of a treadmill can make it feel like more than just a collection of steel, bolts and a rubber belt.
Walking on a treadmill at a brisk pace for 30 minutes can help boost HDL levels, aka “good cholesterol,” by as much as 5 percent if you exercise regularly, according to MayoClinic.com. Regular exercise will also help improve cardio stamina and muscle tone.
Consult with a doctor or trainer to determine your “cardio zone” when exercising on a treadmill and use the heart rate monitor on a treadmill to monitor it. Treadmills usually have programmable workouts, or you can synch up your own electronic device, and enter your age, height and weight to achieve the right speed.
Commercial gym membership or home gym?
There might be a little sticker shock for some people when they see that a good treadmill can cost between $3,000-$5,000 or more.
However, a typical high-end treadmill should last 10 -15 years, while a $50 per month gym membership for two people can easily cost $1,200 or more a year.
In the long run setting up a home gym with a treadmill is a lot less costly than paying a monthly gym membership.