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Portable Treadmill Types

By Wilhelm Schnotz

Treadmills allow you to get your cardio exercise on your own time, without weather interfering. But an even more convenient machine is a portable treadmill, which either folds or collapses to store away, or just move it to your desired location, like outside or to the family room. If you are interested in purchasing a portable treadmill, there are a few different options to choose from.

Manual Treadmills

Manual treadmills are powered up by walking, so if you want to increase the intensity of your workout by speeding up or adding incline, you'll have to jump off and vary the incline manually. They are easier to move than motorized treadmills because they are lighter, but don't have the space saving of the folding machines. These treadmills seem inconvenient, but if you're shopping on a budget, you can buy them cheaper than their motorized counters. Just like walking activates this treadmill, stopping will deactivate, making it a safer option for seniors. The amount of calories burned on any treadmill vary due to factors like duration and intensity, but walking for one hour at a slow speed will burn more calories than speed walking for half an hour making this a good buy for slower exercisers. (1) (2)

Folding Treadmills

This treadmill does exactly what its name says, it folds. This makes it more storable and portable than most other machines of its kind. This option is perfect if you live in a smaller home or you want it for a small home gym. They are also more affordable than other fancy machines. Most treadmills are 6.5 feet long and 3 feet wide, and folding treadmills are half that length when folded up. Keep in mind that you'll need about two feet on all sides to step on and off safely. The more incline you add to your routine, the harder your muscles will work and the more calories you'll burn. If you're 155 lbs and you walk at 3.5 mph on an incline you'll burn around 422 calories in 1 hour. (1) (3)

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Motorized Treadmills

These are the most expensive types of treadmills, and they are far less portable than their manual and folding counterparts. Though they are not ideal for small spaces or for moving from room to room, they do feature many fancy perks. Some treadmills will tell you your heart rate, calories burned and how far you've walked. Others have built in fans and keep track of your overall progress. If you decide to choose a motorized treadmill, keep in mind the power of the motor, the size and the nature of the incline. Also remember, that while a machine may tell you how many calories you're burning, most are inaccurate unless they factor in your weight and age, even then it is still guessing. A 155 lb person who runs for 1 hour at 5 mph will burn about 563 calories. (1) (3)

Safety Tips and Features

All tested treadmills come with a safety key for you to clip onto your clothing. If you fall, the safety key will come out of the treadmill and turn your machine off. Keep the safety key away from small children to prevent them from turning on the treadmill. Talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen, if you think you may not be ready. Start slow, no one expects you to run a 5k on your first day. Keep hydrated and wear appropriate attire, like running shoes and tight clothing; loose apparel can get caught in the belt causing injuries.

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