Treadmills have been around for a long time, even dating back well into the 1800s. Throughout history, their shape, design, and usage has changed, and has evolved today into a fitness tool that isn’t just for exercise, but for rehab and physical therapy as well! Treadmills of today also come with a plethora of different options in regards to accessories, programming, virtual capabilities, and storage options, which can be overwhelming if you are trying to decide on one for your home or office.
Manual vs. Electric Treadmills
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of the different details of treadmills, we need to start with two of the main differences that you’ll find with this piece of fitness equipment – and that is manual and electric treadmills.
With a manual treadmill, there is no power source, so they are only used for walking, and can be significantly cheaper than an electric treadmill. Manual treadmills are often also not as heavy and can be folded up and stored away when not in use. Since these manual treadmills are only used for walking, one has to be able to hold onto the handlebars in front in order to push with enough force to get the belt moving, which can also be a bit easier if the treadmill is at an incline and you can use gravity and your weighted force to get the treadmill belt moving. Once you stop moving on this treadmill, the belt stops immediately since there’s no power source to keep the machine going, which can be a good safety feature!
An electric treadmill is one that requires a power source and can be used for both walking and running since the belt is pre-powered without any external force needed to operate. These treadmills can be a bit more costly than a manual treadmill, and some can also be stored away when not in use, although this can be more difficult based on their footprint. Electric treadmills generally have buttons that you can press on a screen in order to adjust factors like speed and incline, and the belt will continue to move even if you stop moving on these treadmills – so safety is key!
Details Of Electric Treadmills
Because electric treadmills are more prominent nowadays (although there are still some manual ones out there), there are also more choices in regards to just how many different types of electric treadmills you can purchase! Granted, we can’t cover every single feature that is available on the market today for electric treadmills, but most do have the same similarities. For example, most electric treadmills have an incline setting, and this allows you to vary your “hill” from completely flat (0-1%) all the way up to 40%, which is perfect for being able to adjust for different fitness goals!
Next, many of the electric treadmills out today have some sort of screen on them; this screen, ranging anywhere from 10-22” in size, can display your workout statistics clearly for you, as well as let you watch your favorite television shows, movies, and even virtual running paths through different parts of the world! With that being said, electric treadmills often also have a way to stream different shows and program virtual workouts with live trainers, leading you through a workout and keeping track of your workout history (if you want to have that option)!
As far as being able to put these treadmills away, this can be a bit difficult depending on the size of the machine that you get. Electric treadmills are built to be sturdy and able to withstand the pounding on the belt, so a larger footprint and a more solid design make some of these machines not easily foldable compared to their manual counterparts. There are some electric treadmills out on the market that will fold in half to be able to stow away though, so pay attention when you’re shopping and if this is a key feature for you, ensure that your particular machine can be packed away if need be.
Electric or Manual Treadmill?
When deciding what kind of treadmill investment to make, it’s important to consider your overall fitness goals, what kind of workouts you want to do on the treadmill, and what kind of accessories you want to be included in order to make your time on the machine worthwhile. If you’re looking for a simple walking device, a manual treadmill might be your best option. If you’re looking to run or have more included in your workout (i.e. Bluetooth, powered fans, etc.) then an electric treadmill might be the way to go!