Exercise! - Treadmills?

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Sara's Mommy
11-18-2002, 01:13 PM
Hi all!

I am thinking about buying a treadmill, does anyone have any recommendations about what brands/types are good?

I don't want to spend a fortune, but I don't want to get a cheap one either.


11-18-2002, 10:26 PM
We have a Free sprite from Sears. I think that we paid 1200 dollars. I feel that if you get to cheap of a treadmill you may regrett it. Check out your fitness store than your bargan finders to see if someone is selling their for cheap.

11-19-2002, 06:02 PM
i bought a cheaper one ($450 or so) and i regret it. it is loud and uncomfortable to walk on. maybe that's why i am never on it :) i will check ou thte brand tonight so i can warn you which one NOT to buy. i would suggest buying at sears or a sporting store where you can get on it and try it. feel it out and listen to it. i bought mine from a catalog, big mistake.

meg 1+2
11-21-2002, 05:07 AM

I have a "Spirit" 3200 model. It is wonderful!! We shopped around for a couple of weeks and ended up buying this one at a Local Fitness equipment store. It was pricey $2000.00 but I owned a $700.00 treadmill prior to this and it was a total waste of money. My brother purchased a $900.00 machine that is a piece of junk also.

The one I have now is programable, you can set it up (there's all kinds of programs) and the machine takes you around a simulated track, starting off with a warn up and then getting your heart rate up and then down again. It automatically takes you up hills and down...I have 10 levels I can climb, although I can't go over the 6th:lol: . I find having this feature keeps me from getting bored.

Another nice feature...you can set the computer with all your stats and it will tell you how far you walked/jogged, and how many calories you burned. Also monitors your heartrate.

It also has a cushioned shock absorbant track...so it is easy on the knees and it allows you to jog without hurting yourself. That is a big plus, saw the difference right away. The old one had a thin, hard surface. This I would definitely say is a must!!

Now, you don't have to have all these features...but I would tell you to go to a store that has several treadmills there that you can jump on and off to test one after the other comparing them on the spot. What I was finding going from store to store was that I didn't recall how the last one felt. :?:

So in my opinion, don't waste your money on a cheap one! You probably could get a decent one for $1200. to $1500.

One other thing I would be sure to check out...the width of the track (the walking surface). Some of them are very narrow.

Hope this helped.



Sara's Mommy
11-22-2002, 10:45 AM
Thanks for the info!

Guess I'll put on my walking shoes and head out. We don't have a lot of choices here (Sears, Dick's) so I'll check out my options there. I may get brave and check out a used sporting goods store, but I think I'd probably want one with a warranty of some kind.

11-24-2002, 03:55 PM
We just bit the bullet and made an "investment" in a Precor treadmill. Very pricey at $3,000 but we had our reasons and did alot of checking around before chosing this one. It's our Christmas, birthday, anniversary and whatever presents to each other for the next 5 years

The advice - buy the best you can afford is the best advice of all. We just replaced our old treadmill that we had for 15 years so a good one will last you a long, long time with proper care.

Some of the things you want to consider are - are you a walker or a runner? Runners require a bit sturdier of a unit because you give it more of a pounding. What is the weight of the person using the treadmill - some treadmills only perform well for someone 200 pounds and under - after that you start stressing the motor (and you DO want to do one with a motor - forget those cheapies that you just power the belt on your own with walking - you'll HATE them). You also want to look at the horsepower of the motor - it should operate at a continuous horsepower - some work to a "peak" of the rating but don't operate at that speed continuiously which will wear the motor out sooner. The width of the belt is also important. Too narrow and you can't move your arms easily while walking.

Don't get swayed by alot of bells and whistles. Having preset programs are nice but you have to factor them into the price.

It's best if you can try out a few models but as you said you have limited availability. We were considering purchasing directly from the Internet - there is a model called Smooth which is highly rated by Runners World Magazine and since it's factory direct, it's less expensive than models carried at store fronts. Here's the link if you want to check it out http://www.1800treadmill.com

You don't have to spend what we did to get a good treadmill. We debated long and hard about our purchase (I almost fainted when we first priced them) and got a gym quality treadmill which was a bit overkill for just the 2 of us who are mostly walkers. However, we use it 8 - 12 times a week between the 2 of us and it has a cushioned deck which helps my husband who's got a very bad back. We intend for this to last a long, long LONG time and felt in the end it was worth paying more up front.

Personally, we looked at the ones that Sears carries and didn't like them. I would pick the Smooth brand on the Internet over the models Sears carried. But it is your choice and you have your own budget to consider.

Good luck! If you do buy one, make sure you understand how to care for it. Don't put it directly on a rug as the dust and fibers will get sucked into the motor and will stress it over time. If you do have a rug, invest the $20 or so in a rubber mat to put between the two. Some treadmill models also require periodic care to the belt.

11-25-2002, 11:31 AM

Everyone has said it all - buy the best you can afford. We did many years ago and we're so glad. We have ProForm 2005EXL that was about $1,000 way back then (12 years or so).

When you are in the store, actually try it out. See if you can see and use the controls while walking. I wear trifocal eyeglasses and I can tell you that this can be a real problem if the controls are too hard to see.

With luck, we won't have to replace our treadmill - it has been zooming along very nicely for so long. So be sure to get one you really like.

12-02-2002, 09:53 AM
I have a Proform 760 EKG and LOVE it!!!! We paid $700 for it from Sears. It is also iFIT.com compatable and I go there and let the web site adjust the speed and incline. I just get on and walk. I have lost 20lbs in about 2 months so far and am very pleased with how I am doing.

12-02-2002, 05:18 PM
I have a Proform that I bought at Sears for about $350 6 years ago. I have used it faithfully for the last 2 years and I see no problems with it.

Grandma G
12-03-2002, 12:09 PM

I was just scanning the boards and ran across this interesting discussion about treadmills. I thank you for all the information. I bought a Cadence Treadmill at Sears about six months ago. It was only $299, a real cheapie. I never could understand why people spent so much on buying a treadmill when you could buy a cheaper one and I thought it did eccentually the same thing.

It is doing the job for me as long as I make myself use it, but after reading your post, I can now understand why people do spend the extra money. I wonder if I should have gone to a more expensive one. I don't much like to exercise anyway and only do it because I need to for health reasons and because I need to continue losing weight. I've lost 39 lbs since last March. I was afraid I would spend all that money and then not use it. My husband needs to exercise too, for the same reasons but I can't get him started on the treadmill. Do you think that having a better one motivates you to use it more? Because of problems with my feet and my back, I can not walk very fast, and I tire too quickly when I put it on an incline, so would all those extra features be of any value to me. The cushioned shock absorbent track feature sounds nice, but would it be that beneficial to someone who is only walking slow? I went in to Sears planning to get the least expensive one I could, so that was the first thing I asked and I didn't try any of the expensive ones. Maybe now I will go back and try different ones, as suggested. This would be an investment for our health, because we both are under doctors orders to walk for health reasons, and we live in a place where walking outside is so ofter weather dependent.

If anyone has the answers to the questions I have asked, I would appreciate it. I have found this whole discussion very interesting. Thanks.

12-04-2002, 03:10 AM
Hi Grandma G,
Some of the reasons people go towards more expensive treadmills are:
1) they are quieter
2) they have a better motor which will last longer
3) the treadmill belt is more sturdy which will last longer
4) they want to run or walk at fast speeds
5) they want special features like programs or adjustable inclines
6) better treadmills generally have a wider track so you can swing/pump your arms while walking for a more intense cardio workout
7) larger people (over 250 pounds) may be using the unit - some units tell you there is a weight limit of 250, especially if you are planning to run on it.

From what you say in your post, most of this doesn't really apply to you. Sounds like you have more of an issue keeping motivated to use it. (Although I must admit, if you spend a fortune, you do feel guilty if you don't use it which is somewhat motivating :lol: ) I would suggest that you stick with what you have right now if you are comfortable walking on it. Let it become a regular habit for you before you go investing more money. As you said, your health should be the prime motivators for yourself and your husband. There's many types of exercise but most people can deal with the walking on a regular basis. Even if you aren't racing along, it's better to walk slow and consistently than not at all.

Get yourself a clear glass jar and put it by the treadmill. Each time you use it, put a dollar in it. As you see the dollars accumulate, it might be motivating (might also make you a little guilty if it stays empty for too long). This way if you keep up with things, little by little you're building up a nice down payment for a new one by the time this one breaks down or you decide to trade up. Just make sure you don't have your treadmill on a carpet. The fibers from the rug will get sucked into the motor and will wear it out way sooner than it should.

The biggest problem most people find with walking is that it's boring. My husband likes to watch TV while he's walking. Me, I need music to keep me going. Other people like to read magazines. You just need to find a trick that will help keep you going and you'll be surprised how the time will pass. Other people like to keep progress charts - mark down how far you've walked each time and tally it up daily or monthly. It's makes you feel pretty impressed with yourself to see just how far you've walked in a month. Good luck to you and happy trotting!

Grandma G
12-04-2002, 12:27 PM
Hi Happy,

Thank you for your advice. I guess my reasons for buying a cheaper treadmill were good ones. I didn't think I really needed any of the expensive features. But like you say if I can get myself and my husband into the habit of using it daily as we should, then it might be a good idea to upgrade when this one wears out. Also, I will move it because it is on a rug and I want it to last as long as possible.

Mine isn't as noisey as a lot of them so I can watch tv or listen to music when using it. Reading would really make the time go fast, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. I need some kind of a holder to hold a book and because of my bifocals, that might not even work. I have been trying to find a holder to try it, but haven't found one yet. I have been told to go on line and check the company that made the treadmill. I haven't tried that yet. They don't sell them locally. Does anyone have any advice about this?

Thanks also, for the tip about the jar with money, I like that idea. It might be a good incentive. I also like the idea of adding up the distance I go too. All these things are good tips and might help to keep me motivated.

Well, treadmill here I come!! Good luck to all for a good exercise day!

Sara's Mommy
12-09-2002, 11:40 AM
I'm not, nor will I probably ever be a runner either (asthma and a bad ankle), so I don't know if I need all the gizmos either. I really have to have the book holder though, when I used to go the gym I liked to read and walk.

I will probably try to go with a mid to lower range treadmill. That would probably suit my needs. Or I'm going to look at elliptical trainers too, they're usually a little more reasonably priced.

Just have to get the basement cleaned out (do that "Flylady" thing!), and save up some money (the harder part).

Good luck with your motivation!

Grandma G
12-09-2002, 04:09 PM
Hi Sara's Mommy,

Good luck with finding the treadmill you are looking for. I have a question for you. Do you know where a person can buy a book holder to add to a treadmill. Probably the more expensive ones have them built in but I didn't think about it before I bought my treadmill. I would really like to try it, because I love to read and if I could read and walk I know I would be more motivated. However I haven't been able to find one anywhere. I asked at Sears and they suggested I go on line and buy one direct from the Company that makes the treadmill. But I tried that and all I get is information about buying treadmills, nothing about added accessories. I know they have them, because my neice who lives in a city told me she bought one for her treadmill. Hey, that's an idea, if I can't find one, maybe I can get her to buy one for me. But I would rather do it myself because I am sure there would have to be different styles for different treadmills. Wouldn't there be?

If you or anyone else has the answers, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Avalon Whitemare
12-16-2002, 01:33 PM
Well, I was going to ask if anyone could recommend one of those treadmills that folds up and stores away easily. I live in an apartment and there's no a heck of a lot of room. But I guess, after reading this thread I'm just going to have to walk the old fashioned way-outside. Theres no way I could afford even over 300.00 for a treadmill, never mind 3000.00. Yikes!!! *LOL* I used to have a good one when I lived in Florida, but it was such a horrible thing to move we decided to sell it instead of bring it with us when we moved north.

Sara's Mommy
12-18-2002, 12:55 PM

I don't know if this will help, but I used to go the gym and use the treadmills. They had a book holder to put on their treadmills, so you might call one of your local gyms and see if they can tell you where they got theirs. You might also search on-line with www.google.com and put in treadmill accessories to see if you can find one for your particular model.

Good luck!