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Health Benefits of a Treadmill

Updated on July 9, 2010

Years and years ago a very dear friend of mine asked me why stair stepper machines were so popular. He told me that he just couldn’t believe that all of these people did not have access to stairs. Of course, he was joking but I used to question why anyone would spend the money on a treadmill when there are plenty of places to walk to in our world. It just seemed like a waste. However, there are a number of very real health benefits as well as motivational benefits to a good treadmill.

First of all, a treadmill allows you to get your workout no matter what the weather is like outside. This is very important because staying motivated to workout is a major key to achieving your health goals. You may not want to run or walk when it’s raining, too hot, or too cold. But with the treadmill, you can always be in a climate-controlled environment. You also don’t have anyone to impress or to be embarrassed by when your in your own home, which can also be a deterrent to your motivation.

Second, treadmills allow for changes in pace and elevation. By programming a varying workout, you can change the parts of your body that you are focusing on and change the intensity from a mild cardio workout to a sweaty sprint. By varying your workout you also help keep it from getting boring. If you know that it is going to change, you should be able to stay motivated longer and get a more fulfilling workout.

I could never afford one, but some of the more modern treadmills have some pretty cool interactive features. Some give you internet access with a built-in LCD screen and keyboard/mouse interface. Others have some awesome immersion programs where the screen shows you running in different beautiful locations around the world. The screen actually responds to your speed and you can program them to change elevation as the images show you running up a hill. These ideas are simply designed to help motivate you to continue, but they also make it fun. You can tell yourself that you just need to make it over the next hill or mountain and the changing scenery makes you want to see what is around the next corner. These units are very expensive. They are cool but, you may be able to get a similar experience just moving the TV closer.

When picking out a treadmill, make sure to comparison shop the different models. Of course price is probably your biggest point, as it is mine. But, also look at the different features and actually run on a few sample machines to find the one that feels strong and secure enough. Also note the difference in the impact of your footfalls, some machines are designed to provide a firmer track and others are designed to provide a softer, less impacting, run. I really like the ones that generate their own electricity from your running. How cool is that?


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    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      I want one for home for the rainy days.

      Do look for the incline and heart rate monitor. Tracking your resting heart rate over time - you will be surprised. Our muscles respond to exercise as well as the heart muscle.

      My resting heart rate is 94 when I am not active and now 64 - two weeks ago it was 79. Working on it!