So, what is the point of having a treadmill?
What are treadmills good for?
You might be wondering about this and if they’re even worth it, what the benefits are and what the potential hazards and drawbacks are.
Well, luckily for you, we’ve compiled an article packed with information to help you decide whether to use your local gym’s treadmills or purchase one for yourself.
Let’s get started!
What Are Treadmills and Why Use One at All?
A treadmill is a device that uses rollers and a track to mimic either walking, running or jogging on a road or rough terrain.
There are various types of treadmills that can run flat, incline for uphill adventures or decline automatically to mimic more challenging topography.
Many reasons exist that you may choose to use a treadmill:
- You think that you can lose weight on it
- Maybe you think that they can get a good cardiovascular workout on one
- You might be training for a specific event
- You just want something to run or walk on during bad weather
- Perhaps you’re thinking of a fast and convenient way to get some activity into your day with one of these awesome desk treadmills
All of these reasons are valid with the exception of one:
One does not lose weight by running on a treadmill and you can find out why this is here.
Any of the other reasons are valid, and we’ll discuss more about that below.
Treadmills are a fantastic way to get some extra activity when, for whatever reason, you cannot go outside for a walk or hiking, but there certainly a few drawbacks that we want you to be aware of as well.
You Think You Can Lose Weight on a Treadmill…
We’re saying that you “think” you can lose weight on a treadmill because for the most part, treadmills do not make you lose weight.
No amount of exercise can make you lose weight unless you are eating the correct amount of calories.
For an in-depth explanation of this concept, we invite you to check out our article about how many calories you must consume for weight loss which can be found here.
The simple fact is that exercise can act as a secondary aspect of weight loss but definitely not on its own.
You still must eat fewer calories than you burn and there is no shortage of information on the internet regarding how to do this.
By the way, if you want to learn about my experience losing 30lbs over the course of a few months and how I did it, check out this page here.
Getting a Cardiovascular Workout on a Treadmill for Overall Health
Now, this is where things get interesting.
You may want to simply use a treadmill to get a good cardiovascular training session in, and this is completely possible albeit not with its own set of caveats.
As we know, steady-state cardio training is not very efficient at burning calories nor is it very efficient at getting your heart into its target heart rate range either.
Actually, the only thing good about steady-state cardio is the fact that it wastes tons and tons of your valuable time!
The tried and true method of getting your heart rate into the target range and becoming more fit is by doing HIIT which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training.
Here are several major benefits of HIIT that we think you will really love:
- Get your target heart rate up very quickly and efficiently
- Keep it there for a while and then back down for rest-periods
- Complete your workout in 1/3 or 1/4 of the time it would take to burn the same number of calories doing steady-state cardio
- Train your body to become more fit all around – get into great shape and train your cardiovascular system
- HIIT allows you to spend less time on the treadmill thus reducing the amount of stress on your joints and back (more on this in the cons section below)
Check out the short video clip below on what HIIT is and how to do it on a treadmill.
As you can see, it’s very easy to to HIIT on a treadmill for the maximal benefits you can possibly obtain from your device.
Why wouldn’t you want to get as much out of your treadmill that you possibly can in the shortest amount of time possible?
What if I told you that running on your treadmill for 2 hours gets less done for you than spending 15-20 minutes on it?
That is the power of HIIT and you’re going to love doing it.
The only requirement of being able to do intense HIIT on a treadmill is that it’s a great quality machine with a powerful motor because cheaper units just cannot cut it in terms of build quality and reliability.
So you have two options at this point:
- Go to your local gym and sign up for a membership so you can use their equipment
- Go check out our guide here on how to choose a treadmill for running for your own home if that interests you
The cons to having a gym membership is the cost, and the time wasted having to drive there everyday.
The pros to going to your gym is that you have access to much more equipment than just their treadmills.
Some cons of buying a treadmill for your own home include the high cost, the space they take up and the hassle if you ever need to do a warranty claim.
Some of the pros to owning your own treadmill are being able to work out whenever you want at your own convenience and having a machine that will last you for a very long time.
Not only that, you can choose a treadmill that best suits your needs and you only have to spend as much as you need.
In addition, you don’t have to bother going to your gym at all!
Training for a Specific Event
If you are training for some kind of a marathon then probably you’re also training for great cardiovascular endurance in which case a treadmill would be great.
However, again, we really want to emphasise the use of HIIT instead of steady-state jogging which just destroys your joints and back (not to mention your knees).
So why bother doing something that is less effective, takes longer and produces negative impacts tocertain parts of your body?
Exactly my point.
The Weather is Bad Outside but You Still Want to Walk or Run
You see, this is a completely valid point and we’re really a big fan of this one.
When people come to me and ask me if a treadmill will help them lose weight I say a resounding NO!
A treadmill is a fantastic way to be able to go for a walk, jog or run even in the worst, most inclement weather conditions such as southwestern Ontario’s notoriously harsh winters!
When people come to me and ask me if a treadmill is good for cardio training I definitely also say no.
The same can be said for training for an event or for overall health benefits: The answer remains NO!
There are tons of different options you can select from that do far more for your body than a treadmill can do all while taking far less time (unless you’re using the treadmill for HIIT).
However, there is one circumstance in which I truly recommend having a treadmill.
Owning a treadmill can have provide many benefits to you and your family, and our favourite reason is for time saving and still being able to walk or jog during very poor weather.
I don’t know where you’re located, but here in southwestern Ontario, the weather is no good for running between December and March.
You just can’t do it – it’s frozen over and it’s ice cold outside, not recommended for running at all!
That’s three whole months you must go without running or walking outdoors.
Fortunately, owning a treadmill can be a fantastic way to be able to do your walking or running indoors and you can even watch your favourite movies or shows while you’re doing it too!
Final Thoughts: Pros vs. Cons of a Treadmill
- Excellent way to walk or jog when the weather sucks outside
- Cheap options exist to stash it away when not in use
- Great way to do HIIT without the need to have a large space
- Excellent option if you don’t want to travel to your gym to exercise
- The most advanced options have the ability to incline and decline giving you the ability to have a “realistic” workout on rough terrain and topography
- Your entire family can use it if you have one in your home
- Doesn’t take up much space at all
- Watch your favourite shows or movies while you exercise!
- Steady-state cardio is bad for your joints, knees, hips and back and can cause severe strain, injury and/or both
- Treadmills are not a cheap option if you’re serious about running and need more power
- The options are limited if you want to keep your workouts fresh and exciting – a gym membership would be better in that case so you can switch it up!
- Running on a treadmill is NOT a good way (or a way at all!) to lose weight!
We think that owning a treadmill is great if you understand what we’ve covered in this article.
For more info, you can check out our two guides on purchasing a treadmill.
For Overall Treadmills Great for Walking, Jogging and Running, Learn About the Best Treadmills Available Today:
For More Powerful Options Suitable for HIIT Training and High-Intensity Fast Running, You’ll Want to Check These Out:
We really hope you enjoyed our article and, as always,
Michael and. Co.!