What to expect from a treadmill for seniors
Most people know what a treadmill is: it’s a relatively simple piece of exercise equipment that can be either manual or motorized, allowing you to walk, jog, or run in place on a moving belt. Often, treadmills come with different speed settings, incline angles, and even preset workout programs to try out too, but what makes a treadmill senior-friendly?
Well, the best treadmills for seniors put comfort, stability, and safety first. Elderly people can still remain in great shape with regular exercise, but their joints and muscles are often not quite as flexible and hardy as they once were. Treadmills for seniors are therefore designed with aspects like cushioned grip handles, full-length side railings, tread belt cushioning, easy-to-read LCD displays, and large, simple buttons with easy-to-use, intuitive controls.
If you’re looking for the best treadmills for elderly people, the key is to focus on these main aspects, trying to find a model that can provide a senior user with an effective workout, while also maintaining high levels of safety and comfort.
Features to consider while choosing a treadmill for seniors
We don’t recommend simply diving right in and buying the first treadmill you find. There are a lot of different models out there, and they’re not all made equal. They come in different sizes and styles, with vast differences in speeds, inclines, price, weight, and overall design. You need to think about which factors or features matter the most to you and bear those things in mind when shopping for your own senior-friendly treadmill. Read on to learn more about each individual factor and why it matters.
One of the first questions to ask yourself when buying treadmills for seniors is which type of treadmill you’d like to get. Treadmills are divided up into two main types: manual and motorized. The ProGear 190 is an example of a manual treadmill, actually one of the best in its price range of the treadmills under 600$, while the Bowflex BXT216 is one of the best motorized treadmills for seniors you can buy today.
Manual treadmills for seniors, as the name implies, are powered manually, using the actual motion of your legs and feet to move the belt around and generate motion. They don’t have motors or electrical components, so they’re often a lot cheaper, lighter, and less likely to break over time too. However, they don’t have all the fancy features and speed settings of motorized models.
Motorized treadmills, meanwhile, have a motor inside which is used to move the belt around, so you can just flick a switch or hit a button and start the belt moving without needing to use your legs to start it up. Motorized treadmills are usually more expensive and the electrical components can break down and need repair, but they have the advantage of offering a range of speed settings and workout programs.
Safety and rails
If you’re looking for a senior-friendly treadmill, safety features and rail length are very important features. Rails help to provide support and stability to the user of the treadmill, and this is particularly important for elderly people, who sometimes need a little extra support in order to keep their balance.
The Exerpeutic TF2000 is one of the best models in this category, as it comes with full-length rails that you can use to step onto the treadmill and support you throughout your workout session, as well as helping you step off the machine when you’re finished.
Every treadmill has its own maximum weight capacity too. This tells us the maximum weight that the treadmill can take without breaking. Some treadmills have quite high weight capacities of 400 lbs, like the Bowflex BXT216, for example, which is also the best in this category among the treadmills with 400 lb weight capacity. Others have lower maximum weight capacities, close to 200 or 220 lbs.
Larger and heavier people may not be able to safely use certain models, depending on the weight capacity, so this is definitely something to bear in mind if you have a high body weight.
One of the key features of most treadmills is an array of different speed settings. These settings can be adjusted during your workout, letting you choose between walking at a gentle pace and jogging at a much faster pace, depending on how you want to exercise. The more speed settings a treadmill has, the more flexible and varied workouts it can provide.
For seniors, lower speed settings are the best, as most elderly users prefer simple walks and light jogs on their treadmills, rather than speedy sprints.
A maximum speed of 8.5 mph, as seen on the MaxKare Folding Treadmill
, for example, should be enough for most senior users, but you can go even further than that and find models with top speeds of 12 mph, like the OppsDecor Under Desk Treadmill
If you’re choosing a motorized treadmill over a manual treadmill, it helps to pay attention to the type and power of the motor inside. A high quality motor, as seen in the Bowflex BXT216, for example, is able to provide higher speeds and more consistency than weaker or lower quality motors seen in other models. The stronger the motor, the longer it should last and the more power and performance it will be able to provide for your treadmill too.
Many treadmills come with adjustable incline settings, allowing you to change the angle of the belt slightly to make it seem like you’re walking or running uphill, for instance.
The more angles you have, the more varied and different your workouts can be, and working out at an incline can help to burn more calories and develop higher levels of stamina and strength too.
The ProGear 190
is a great choice for this as it can have its incline adjusted up to 10 degrees.
As well as the overall functionality of your treadmill, you need to think about the size as well. Treadmills can come in all kinds of sizes, from huge models that take up quite a lot of space in your home to much smaller and compact models, like the Goplus Under Desk Electric Treadmill, which slots right under a desk.
Small treadmills for seniors have the advantage of taking up less room in your home and therefore being easier to store away while not in use. Larger treadmills, meanwhile, usually need to be either folded down for storage purposes or simply left set up at all times.
Running surface dimensions
Along with the overall dimensions of your treadmill, it’s absolutely vital to take a look at the running surface dimensions too. Trying to run or walk on a very narrow treadmill belt can be a real challenge, and if you accidentally step on the sides, rather than the belt, you can fall or injure yourself, so it’s very important for seniors in particular to find a wide running surface.
There’s also the weight to take into account as well. Some treadmills, especially the smaller models like the Murtisol 1100W Folding Treadmill, can be very lightweight, while others tip the scales at several hundred pounds. You need to look at your own situation and decide whether a light or heavy treadmill is right for you.
If you have a home gym and plan to leave the treadmill set up at all times in the same place, with no real need to move it around, you won’t really mind a heavier model. If, however, you don’t have too much free space and want to store your treadmill away when not in use, it makes sense to have a smaller and lighter option.
Some treadmills, like the OppsDecor Under Desk Treadmill, for example, are foldable. This means that you can fold them up when not in use, which drastically reduces their overall size, allowing them to be safely and easily stored away for your convenience. Again, a foldable treadmill is a good choice for someone who wants to store their treadmill away when not in use, but will be less important to someone who plans on leaving the treadmill set up at all times.
A lot of modern treadmills come with a digital display on the central control panel or dashboard area. This shows you a range of data, including how long you’ve been using the treadmill, how much virtual distance you’ve traveled, how many calories you’ve been burning along the way, and other details too.
A digital display can be a useful tool on a treadmill for keeping track of your progress and monitoring the effectiveness of your workouts. It’s always helpful for seniors if the display is large, clear, and easy to read, like on the Exerpeutic TF2000.
Another important factor you may need to think about when buying a treadmill for seniors is the price. Prices of treadmills can vary quite wildly from one model to the next. Some of them are surprisingly cheap and simple, like the ProGrear 190, for example, while others can be much more expensive, you can as well encounter treadmills under 2000$.
When it comes to treadmills and prices, you tend to get what you pay for. So if you pay a more expensive price, you’ll probably get a model with more speed settings, a stronger motor, different preset workout programs, and fancier features. Cheaper models, meanwhile, will usually be more simplistic, but still perfectly fine for home workouts.
One more factor that is definitely worth bearing in mind is the warranty. This can vary from one manufacturer to the next. Some of them offer quite lengthy warranties on the various parts of their treadmills, while others offer little to no warranties at all.
The Exerpeutic TF1000, for example, comes with a 5-year motor warranty and 1-year frame warranty, which is a really great deal as it means that the motor will be covered for repairs and replacements if it breaks down any time during the first five years of use.