Facts on Treadmills

By Kevin Rail

Treadmills have been around for over 100 years and have seen a steady incline in growth and popularity. There are some interesting facts and figures about treadmills that may not be common knowledge to many.

History

Treadmills were invented around 1875 and were first used for mobile power. Built in various sizes to accommodate dogs, sheep and horses, the smaller versions were used for smaller chores like churning butter. Larger ones that were run by horses were used to power threshing machines.

The year 1952 marked the invention of the first medical treadmill. Invented by Dr. Robert Bruce, the treadmill was used to evaluate cardiopulmonary disease.

The sixties saw a rise in the sale and use of fitness equipment. Lead by Tunturi, Aerobics, Inc and Woodway, numberous companies promoted the treadmill as a fitness tool. By the 70's, NASA entered the action using its version of the treatmill to allow astronauts to get exercise while in space. As of 2007, approximately 50 million people use treadmills.

Significance

The sale of treadmills over the past couple decades has been astronomical. The sporting Goods Manufacturers Association claims that more people spend money on treadmills than any other piece of fitness equipment. From 1995 to 1996, treadmill sales jumped from $660 million to $725 million. In 2001, 43 million households had treadmills which was a 9% increase from the previous year.

Function

Treadmills allow for convenience and a safeguard from bad weather. Because treadmills are used indoors, runners can have a cardio workout despite weather conditions outside. Many models allow users to adjust the speed and incline of the machine, with some upscale models offering a plug-in for iPods.

Types

Treadmills are available as home models and commercial treadmills. The home versions are usually lighter, smaller and don't go as fast as the commercial style. Some are collapsable for easy storage.

The commercial models are used in a gym or medical office setting. They are bigger and more powerful than the home models and offer greater stability.

Nordic Track has introduced another type of commercial treadmills called Incline Trainers. The model is used for extreme inclines that can go all the way up 50% grade.

Considerations

One consideration to take when shopping for a treadmill is price. The best treadmill might not always be the most expensive. Devise a budget and shop around for the best model that has everything you need. Prices can range anywhere from $300 for a low end model all the way up to $3500 for a top of the line model.

Another thing to take note of is that non-collapsable treadmills are more stable then collapsable. This should be taken into consideration when purchasing one for the home.

Benefits

Treadmill offer many health benefits. The most obvious one is weight loss. Treadmills also help with cardiac rehab, can lower blood pressure and cholesterol and help release endorphins for better brain function and mood.

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