First, think about your fitness objectives. Whether it’s enhanced athletic performance, general health and fitness, or rehabilitation, knowing how you will use your treadmill can help you identify which model to buy.
Next, consider budget. Investing in a more-expensive machine gets you sturdier construction, a longer parts warranty, a larger running surface, higher top speed, and steeper incline. But if your goals don’t require the latest and greatest, you may be able to choose a less expensive model.
Keep in mind:
• Size. Most treadmills have a similar footprint, on average 77 inches long by 35 inches wide. A folding treadmill will be half its length when stored. You'll need adequate empty space around the treadmill for access and safety.
• Ergonomics. If you’re a runner, you will need a deck length that accommodates your stride. Consider how comfortable you are on the machine while walking or running. Choose a model that appeals to you ergonomically and aesthetically.
• High-tech features. Docks for iPods, USB ports, and wireless Internet connectivity are standard features on many treadmills.
• Adjustability. Most treadmills have top speeds between 10 and 12 mph; some will go faster. They typically incline between a 10 to 15 percent grade, but some offer an increased gradient.
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