Manual treadmills are definitely cheap treadmills but are they a realistic option for a home treadmill? People with budget constraints are often tempted to buy a manual treadmill because they are so cheap. You can find one for a couple hundred dollars or less. While they may seem like a great deal, they have some serious drawbacks that you need to consider before buying one.
Instead of a powerful motor moving the belt for you, your feet power the belt. Do the Flintstones ring a bell? As you push off the belt with your feet, the belt slowly begins to move. As the belt gains inertia, it moves easier but then to maintain the momentum you have to keep moving! Every time you slow down, you have to speed up again to keep the belt moving smoothly.
There is a major problem having your feet power the belt. Because it takes so much effort to get the belt moving there is a lot more stress on your knees and joints. With a motorized treadmill, the belt is moved effortlessly for you. While there is still some stress on your knees and joints when exercising on a motorized treadmill, it is far less than it is on a manual treadmill.
You’re probably thinking all that energy used to get the belt moving on a manual treadmill is a good thing because you burn more calories. While that makes perfect sense, it isn’t true. You may burn more calories in the first few minutes of your workout, but during the entire time of your workout you’ll easily burn more calories with a motorized treadmill.
The reason for this is it is nearly impossible to maintain a steady, fluid walk, jog, or run on a manual treadmill. Unlike a motorized treadmill where you can easily regulate and maintain your speed for maximum calorie burning, you cannot do this efficiently with a manual treadmill.
To adjust the incline on a manual treadmill, you have to stop your workout, get off the machine, manually adjust the incline, and then hop back on to continue your exercise. Do you see the obvious problem with this? With a motorized treadmill you can easily increase or decrease the incline of the deck with a push of a button while you are exercising. Manual treadmills also don’t have exercise programs to challenge you or to keep your workouts interesting.
The only advantages to buying a manual treadmill (other than the fact that they are a cheap treadmill) are that they take up very little space and are easy to store. They don’t weigh much and easily fold so they can quickly be stored out of the way. A good motorized treadmill will weigh 200+ pounds and will take up a lot of room. However, folding treadmills can help solve this problem by taking up less floor space when they are not in use.
Another option would be to buy a used treadmill or even a brand new treadmill. You can easily find a quality used treadmill for around $700, and if you can stretch your budget a few hundred dollars more, you can get a brand new treadmill. The Smooth 5.25 treadmill, for example, is just under $1,000 and is considered to be a high-quality folding treadmill for walking and light jogging.
If you can hold off buying that manual treadmill and save up a few extra dollars for a motorized treadmill, you’ll end up with a machine that you’ll be much happier with – and more importantly, you’ll end up with a machine that will give you better results!