According to the Sports Goods Manufacturers Association, treadmills are the #1 home-fitness item, outdistancing stair-climbers, stationery bicycles, rowing machines and cross-country skiers. In fact, some surveys indicate that nearly 40 million Americans run on treadmills.
Marathoners use treadmills, so do collegiate runners, soccer moms, lunchtime joggers and legions of senior citizens who are eager to get in shape and keep in shape. And according to the research firm American Sports Data, women, forever dedicated to self-improvement, are purchasing 75% of the new home treadmills being sold. It’s easy for women to incorporate a home treadmill into an existing exercise program as an alternative to outdoor running. Or, a treadmill can easily be the centerpiece of a fitness plan, providing excellent cardio-vascular benefits all by itself.
The “smart money” knows that an investment in a good home treadmill will pay off with big dividends in a variety of areas:
IT’S A SURE THING
It doesn’t matter if you’re weathering a snowstorm in Nome, Alaska or a heat wave in Tallahassee, Florida, your treadmill is always ready to take you a few miles closer to good health. Let the mailman worry about snow, or rain or dark of night, with a treadmill, you can run whenever you like.
THE CALL OF THE WILD
There’s no doubt that a run on a forest trail or in an urban park is a wonderful experience that brings out our spirit of adventure. But, in many areas, a run in nature may expose you to wild animals, unfriendly pets and even unsavory human beings. Far too many women in large cities and small towns have been victimized while out for a morning or afternoon run. A treadmill is always in a safe place – your house. And you can bring the outdoors in for you run by setting up your machine near a window so you can enjoy the view during your workout.
SLIPPERY WHEN WET
After a heavy snowfall, plows often heap white mountains onto the sidewalk, forcing runners into the streets, where ice and cars present dangerous obstacles to making it home alive.
Running on a treadmill is much easier on your legs, feet, and joints than running on rock-hard concrete and asphalt, and special low-impact treadmills are available which claim to reduce the impact of running by 40%. How? The running belt on the treadmill gives more than outdoor surfaces, and the inner workings of the treadmill help to disperse the shock waves that occur when your foot strikes a surface.
YOU’VE GOT HEART
Want to know how many calories you’ve burned? Your heart rate? How fast you’re running? The distance you’ve run to the hundredth of a mile? A wide range of built-in monitors is standard equipment on many treadmills. Monitors help you get the most out of your workout by approaching it scientifically and focusing on things like keeping your heart rate at a good level.
In fact, some treadmills even offer a special function that regulates the speed of the treadmill based on your heart rate – the ultimate custom-tailored workout.
FORM IS THE FUNCTION
It’s tough to develop a good running form when you’re skipping to avoid tree roots or jumping on and off sidewalk curbs. And good form is integral to getting the most from your run. With a treadmill, you have the dual advantage of a smooth running surface and a steady pace, so you can concentrate on things like lengthening your stride, pumping your arms, etc. Any progress you make on the treadmill will easily be translated to your outdoor running.
TV – YES! COUCH POTATO – NO!
If you love to watch television, your time on the treadmill is a perfect opportunity for guilt-free multi-tasking. In the gyms of Wall Street in NYC, captains of industry watch CNN and get the market news while they’re getting their morning dose of endorphins. At home, with a VCR, you can watch whatever you like – cartoons, Regis and Kelly, soap operas, even tapes of your favorite marathon! (Hey, maybe you’ll pick up some running “style tips.”)
FINDING THE ZONE
Because home treadmills eliminate a variety of distractions and stressors – dogs, traffic, uneven roads, etc. – they allow you to really clear your mind and easily enter a relaxed, meditative state while running.