What to Expect from Cheap Treadmill
Before you can purchase a cheap treadmill and save yourself some coins, here are some of its strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths of cheap treadmills
Cheap treadmills do have the following selling points that manufacturers want you to know;
- The most obvious one is that it is affordable because of its low price.
- Cheap treadmills are usually foldable and/or compact.
- Some of the cheap treadmills that are foldable can be stored easily as the can be very small in size and you can keep them under the bed.
Weaknesses of cheap treadmills
Before you buy a cheap treadmill, the following are some of the compromises that you should be willing to make:
So, if after reading all the pros and cons you decided to refuse from buying a treadmill, try
another leg exerciser
at the same price, which probably you will like more.
- Minimum comfort and track size: In order to cut costs, manufacturers of cheap treadmills reduces the track’s width and length. The normal workout surface for a standard treadmill is at minimum 50 inches long and 20 inches wide. The cheaper treadmills are normally shorter and narrower making it uncomfortable and impossible for most tall trainers to use. Also, they do not have enough cushioning to reduce the impact on sensitive ligaments and joints.
- Weak motor power: Standard runners’ treadmill do have a 3.0 horsepower(HP) while a walkers’ treadmill does have 2.5 HP. Since motor power affects the price of treadmills, cheaper ones do have 2.25 horsepower or less. They also breakdown more often, noisier and are not smooth when running.
- Absent or faulty consoles and workout programs: Cheap treadmills do not have workout programs and consoles, or if they do have them, they give inaccurate readings according to customer reviews especially the calculation of calorie burn and heart rate readings.
Safety Tips for Treadmill Users
For you to comfortably use a treadmill to achieve your exercise goals, the following are some of the tips that might help you:
Do not get used to the handrails. Handrails are a good source of support when you are getting used to the treadmill. However, using it more often can strain your elbows and shoulders. Handrails can also cause imbalances while walking or running leading to foot and leg injuries. You will not be burning enough calories when using the handrails because you are not engaging the core muscles, therefore, moving your arm freely will burn more calories. Straddle the deck first. When starting to work out on the treadmill, it is important not to put your feet on the belt but straddle the deck first. In as much as there is a safety feature for the treadmill to start slowly, sometimes it can malfunction and move fast causing injury if your feet are already on the belt. Increase either the speed or the incline. It can be difficult to maintain a fast pace when running on an incline. It is important to increase the incline first to a level that is comfortable to you then slowly increase the speed to avoid slipping and falling. Do not walk or run barefoot. Using the treadmill barefoot will lead to blisters, scrapes and burns because the moving belt has friction and heat. Wear good fitting shoes for exercising to reduce the shock and minimize the stress in your joints. Running barefoot can lead to fungal infections as germs can easily move to your foot. Do not step off a moving treadmill. It is dangerous to step off a moving treadmill even if you are injured or your towel is accidentally stuck on the treadmill. Use the emergency stop button for the treadmill to stop completely and then you can get off. Keep the treadmill away from children. Children are very curious and can put their arms on the belt, which can cause serious injuries or turn the treadmill on while on it. Therefore, store the treadmill away from them or make sure that your children are supervised when you are using the treadmill. Create enough space. Even if you are an experienced treadmill user, falling down can happen, so make sure you have enough space behind the treadmill. And that there is nothing that can hurt your head when you fall in case the treadmill moves faster and you lose balance. Know your limits. Do not push too hard at the beginning. Take it slow until your body is used to the treadmill. It is a good idea to know your heart rate and try not to exceed 80% of it when using the treadmill as it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. And do remember that is better to train your body in complex, so try looking through our list of power towers which are not expensive, but very efficient exercisers.
- Look forward. Most people exercising on the treadmill for the first few times will often look down on their feet on the side. This may cause them to fall or lose balance while training to lead to injury. When exercising on the treadmill, there is a feeling that the ground is moving. This may lead to dizziness especially to people who have just started using a treadmill to exercise. It is advisable to hold on to something until the dizziness reduces.
Workout Tips for Treadmill Running at Home
The following are some of the workout tips for working out using a treadmill:
- Walk on an incline to increase the resistance.
- Change your shoes every 4 to 6 months.
- If you are watching TV while using the treadmill, make sure the machine is directly in front of the screen to prevent a stiff neck situation.
- Before starting and ending each workout, walk for 3-5 minutes at an easy pace and don’t forget to stretch as well.
Features to Consider While Buying the Best Treadmill under $500
Before you can purchase the best treadmill under $500 there is, consider the following features first:
Number of users
Know the number of people who will be using the treadmill and the amount of time that will be spent on the treadmill per week.
Nowadays, home treadmills have inbuilt programs for working out that control speed and incline. Some have short routines while others have a large number of routines. Some treadmills have console gadgets installed in them such as speakers, LCT TV, and fans. Ensure that the treadmill you buy has well-designed controls and displays such as heart rate, speed and time. The SF-T4400 has the best controls of the products reviewed, including a ‘pause’ workout button.
Running surface and incline levels
It is important to buy a treadmill with a running surface that accommodates your full stride length when running. This is to make sure that you don’t artificially shorten your strides but be able to perform a full exertion. A good incline level is 15%, but it is essential that you purchase a treadmill which you can adjust electronically to either increase or decrease the incline level to suit your preferences.
Horsepower and speed
Most people will prefer using a treadmill with a motor power of 2.0 and 10 miles per hour at most. However, motor power and speed are adjustable.
Most treadmills frames are made of aluminum but it is advisable to buy one made of steel because it is durable and can withstand more weight as per the customer reviews.
Make sure that the treadmill has an auto-stop feature especially if you have kids and pets. The auto-stop is controlled by a key attached to your body with a lanyard so that when you fall it detaches itself from the treadmill stopping it.
Most treadmills handle the weight between 250 and 400 pounds such as the SF-T7718 reviewed in this article. It is recommended to buy one that can hold 50 pounds more than your weight to avoid straining the motor.
This reduces the impact on the joints hence reducing injuries while promoting stamina, therefore an important factor to consider. The XTERRA Fitness TR150 has the best track cushioning of all the products reviewed.
Make sure you have enough space to keep your treadmill at home. A normal home treadmill is 6 feet long and 3 feet wide. You can look through our list of folding treadmills if you are looking specifically for the compact one.
Frames and motors normally have a lifetime warranty while the parts will come with a 90-day warranty.
Treadmill Maintenance Tips at home
Here are a few things you need to do at home in order to maintain your treadmill at home:
- After every use, wipe it down.
- Make sure the walking belt is always aligned and centered.
- Have a treadmill mat under the machine.
- If you have pets, vacuum it regularly to remove pet hair.
- Make sure that you lubricate your treadmill with a lubricant recommended by the manufacturer.
Daily maintenance tasks
- Wipe it down.
- Keep an eye for any developing problems.
Weekly maintenance tasks
- Check the deck and walking belt for any tear and wear.
- Vacuum the space around and under the treadmill to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris.
Monthly maintenance tasks
- Check the frame bolts and nuts to ensure they are secure and tightened.
Yearly maintenance tasks
- Vacuum the compartments of the motor.
- It is recommended to lubricate the treadmill once per year at a minimum depending on the frequency of usage.