We know that you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t serious about improving your life through an exercise routine; since running has been proven to aid in strength building of your joints, boost cardiovascular health, and burn calories all at once, of course you’ve included it as part of your weekly workout schedule. Unfortunately, it can be hard to travel the distance when your gym is on the other side of town, so in order to make sure you never have an excuse to skip a workout, you’ve decided to buy a treadmill all your own.
Even a cursory Google search can reveal dozens and dozens of models, each boasting various features and prices and claiming to be the best available — but just which one is the right one? We’ve compiled a list of the top five features any treadmill of the modern age should possess in the hopes of making this complicated and frustrating shopping experience a little more bearable.
#1 Automated Incline
By adding incline to your walk or run, you gain three key benefits: less strain is placed on your joints, calories are burned faster, and muscle definition is better supported. As an added bonus, they make treadmill exercises more varied so you don’t lose interest in your workout. Though you can absolutely experience an effective workout without an incline, the results seem to speak for themselves: by increasing your incline by just 20%, you can triple the number of calories burned.
#2 Built-In Workouts
We’re living in a technological age, so why not take advantage of it? Many modern home treadmills contain built-in workout programs that automatically control and change their speed and incline. Rather than spend extra time researching the best exercise routine, simply scroll through your machine’s workout menu (which can contain dozens of options) and select whatever tickles your fancy for that day.
#3 Docking Station
These days, nobody exercises without some motivating music or distracting entertainment; whether you prefer to watch Judge Judy or jam out to Iron Maiden, you shouldn’t have to worry about your tablet or iPod battery dying in the middle of your workout. Be sure to find a treadmill that contains docking stations for your preferred devices.
#4 Good Warranty
All these fun and beneficial features mean nothing if your treadmill breaks down in its first few months of use. To guarantee you (and your wallet) are protected, try to look for a treadmill that carries three to seven years of coverage on parts, and at least one year on labor. Most machines come with a lifetime warranty on the frame, but you’ll want to make sure that extends to the motor as well.
#5 Basic Accessories
Last but not least, consider the minor details. You’re not going to want to interrupt your routine to grab water, so your treadmill should absolutely come with cupholders. If you’re more likely to read than watch TV during your workout, check to see if your treadmill comes with a reading rack to place your books or magazines on. Many machines come with towel racks, extra storage space, and even built-in fans to keep you cool during your run.
Purchasing a treadmill is a huge investment; taking the time to do your research based on your own personal needs and desires is extremely important to find the right one for you and to ensuring you haven’t blown $1,000 on something you’re never going to use. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get out there and get running!