As a life-long on again, off again wannabe fitness enthusiast, I have tried dozens of different exercise routines, equipment, gyms and classes. Over the years I have learned what we all know to be true: consistency is THE key to success. And for me the KEY to consistency is convenience and ease of use. Buying a home treadmill was the best decision I ever made. It provides both ease of use and the convenience needed to keep me consistent with my routine and finally get off of the off again, on again cycle of exercise.
I know what you are thinking. You have been down this road before. You see a great piece of equipment, buy it, get it delivered and set-up, and for a few days you are committed to making it work. After a few weeks, the novelty wears off and the equipment begins to collect dust in the corner under a pile of clothing.
Still, using a home treadmill is a great way to workout. It remains one of the most popular home exercise equipment to buy, because it is simple to use and provides a good cardiovascular workout. So it is an investment in your health that can be the key to achieving your fitness goals. Here are some easy tips to getting the best use from your home treadmill.
Do your research first
1) Consider your specific location and needs when comparison shopping. Do you have a large, dedicated exercise room with lots of space or will the treadmill live in the corner of your bedroom? Will you move and/or store it when not in use? Some treadmills fold and have wheels for ease of movement (Of course the heavier the equipment, the move cumbersome it will be to move regardless of wheels). There are lots of size options and many treadmills come with “space-saver” designs.
2) Will you walk, jog or run? Are you a tall person with a long stride? How much do you weigh?
This is important, the length of a treadmill bed and its maximum weight capacity vary. Standard sizes are 55 inches and 60 inches, but some come in shorter or longer lengths. Taller people with long strides and runners are typically more comfortable with longer treadmill belts.
3) What features do you want? What features will you actually use?
Today’s treadmills have an abundance of very cool features. The more features, typically the higher the price tag. If you are on a budget, consider what features you will actually use. If you know that you will walk at relatively low speeds and flat terrain, do you need an expensive incline trainer that goes up to 40%? Other things to consider:
Do you want a machine with lots of pre-programmed workouts for variety? If so, consider buying a treadmill that is iFit compatible.
What about a TV console, iPod connection or the ability to browse the web during your work out? These things will definitely increase the cost of your machine, but if it makes you use it more consistently, isn’t it worth it?
If you like to drink water during your workout, make sure there’s a water bottle holder included in the treadmill console. I made this mistake with my own machine. I always drink water during my workout and although I love my machine, it does not have a compartment deep enough to hold a water bottle.
Location Location Location
Although it may seem like a good idea to put your treadmill in the garage or the basement storage area where it cannot be seen and is out of the way, it probably is a bad idea. I fixed up my extra bedroom as an exercise room that, according to my father, makes you “want to work out.” Putting your equipment in a dark, dingy, cold (or hot), damp, unattractive space is a recipe for failure. Who would want to spend time there? Your workout area should be bright, well-lit, visually stimulating AND conveniently located. By locating my exercise room in my extra bedroom, I literally get out of bed in the morning, put on my athletic shoes and jump on the treadmill in my pajamas.
Prepare your space. Make it fun.
If you love music, have a great sound system available to listen to your favorite tunes or catch up on new music. If watching television is your preferred form of entertainment, have a TV large enough and well placed so that it will be easy to hear and enjoyable to watch. Do you like to read? Although difficult to do while jogging or running, it is certainly doable while walking. Even an attract view from a window can help lessen the boredom during your workout. Prepare your exercise space with the things you love and you will look forward to spending time there.
Create a Plan for Success
I don’t mean unrealistic expectations of quick weight loss and running marathons (although the latter is certainly an admirable goal), but how will you work out and when will you work out. Planning a specific time 3 or 4 times a week when you will use your equipment will help you stick to your goals. Are you a morning person? Plan to get up 30 or 45 minutes early and use the treadmill before jumping in the shower. Do you prefer to exercise in the evenings? Use the treadmill time to wind down from work and catch up on the local news before having dinner. Start slowly if needed and keep it simple. You can walk for 10, 15 or 20 minutes or jog for 5 or 10 minutes at first. If you wake up 15 minutes late and can’t workout for 30 minutes, then work out for 15 minutes. Don’t let excuses stop you from achieving your fitness goals. Consistency is the most important factor to success.
With just a little preparation, you can successfully maintain a home exercise routine and get the most of your treadmill or other home fitness equipment.