Treadmills can be an excellent source of exercise and sanity, especially in bad weather. And, fortunately for seniors, they come with a number of amenities that can enhance one’s running experience.
What to Look For in a Treadmill:
Most machines have small handles installed on or in front of the display panel, which are mostly used for catching ones breath. If you feel unsteady on your feet, however, or simply want to take a brisk walk with a little support then you may need safety handles that jut out to the sides of the treadmill. These handles are a little higher than the average walker or cane, but they do provide extra relief to weak knees or leg muscles.Best Fitness BFT1 TreadmillThis machine has two thick side rails that should provide extra support without throwing off your balance.Adjustable SuspensionAn adjustable suspension allows you to increase or decrease the treadmills shock absorption. This is ideal for all runners, not just those who may have knee injuries or arthritis. Many treadmills advertise their shock-absorbing abilities, but consumers should realize that just because a machine boasts that it has this feature, it doesnt mean that its level of shock absorption is right for every user. If a machines too absorbent it can throw off your balance, possibly causing falls. If the platforms too stiff it can inflame arthritis or even cause knee injuries.Smooth Fitness 9.45ST TreadmillThis treadmill comes with the adjustable hydra suspension system, which provides 12 levels of shock absorption that can be easily adjusted to accommodate multiple users.Long Running DecksEveryone can use a little extra room, especially on a moving platform. Thats why a long running deck can decrease the risk of injury on a treadmill. Weve all done it at one time or another – increased the speed of the treadmill too high and found ourselves getting farther and farther away from the display. Get too far and you may fall right off the machine. A larger running deck provides more track, making it more forgiving for ambitious runners or for those who may lag or fall back from time to time.Smooth Fitness 7.6 HR Power Folding TreadmillLong decks, which thereby result in longer belts, are also great for taller runners, as they accommodate extra-long strides. Smooth Fitness features an extra-long belt thats 20-by-60-inches.Motion-Contolled Speed AdjustmentIt can really break your stride if you have to manually adjust your speed every time you want to go faster or slower. Motion control allows you to control these settings by waving your hand. This can come in especially handy if you get into trouble, need to slow down and would otherwise be fumbling to see and push the emergency off button.Smooth Fitness 9.35HR TreadmillThis machine is ideal for those with failing eyesight or poor hand-eye coordination. You never actually have to touch the machine to get it running. Just wave your hand and itll start, stop, increase or decrease in speed.Steel RollersIf you like to watch television or listen to your favorite music when you work out, or you simply dont enjoy the sound of humming motors and rotating treads, then youll want a unit thats quiet. Thats where steel rollers come in. They reduce noise and provide a smoother, quieter workout.Nordic Track Professional Series 4000 TreadmillThis unit, like many that come with steel rollers, is a bit pricey. Its a higher-end model that will run you about $3,900. It does run the gamut when it comes to features, however. The 3.5-inch crowned steel rollers are nice, especially since theyll allow you to hear the built-in flat screen LCD TV better. Its also got numerous preset programs and an EKG monitor, among other features.Selection of PresetsYou dont want to spend your whole workout pushing buttons. So opt for a machine that comes with some preset tracks and courses. These should range from a mixture of inclines and declines to intensity intervals, and warm-up and cool-down sessions.ProForm 9.0 Competitor TreadmillThe ProForm is a smart machine that has 24 running workouts programmed into it. Its also got a Competition Training Center that pits your running skills against those of others in a virtual race. This will allow you to monitor your progress, set goals and achieve your personal best.