What’s the best way to shop for a treadmill?

I have covered this topic before, but continue to hear people ask “What’s the best way to shop for a treadmill?” Back buy popular demand, here are five more tips to go about getting the best treadmill to fit your needs.
1. Establish a gameplan – Just like a pro football team shows up on Sundays with a good idea what it wants to do in the game, you should set up a plan before you start shopping.
Write down how much you plan to use the treadmill, what activities you’ll do on it (ie: walking, light running, distance running, sprints) and how much you can afford to spend.
2. Try it out in person – Don’t buy a treadmill online or from some Big Box store that appears to be a great deal without trying it out. Chances are you won’t wind up liking it and it will eventually serve as a clothes rack in the back of an extra bedroom or box holder in the garage.
Go into a specialty fitness store such as At Home Fitness (Arizona) and let the experts give you a guided tour of what’s available.
Bring a pair of running shoes and ask to try out the treadmills like you’ll use them at home. If you plan to run on it, then run on the ones in the store you’re interested in.
Many of us have used a treadmill in a hotel or resort that doesn’t work right, is broken, or unstable and doesn’t seem to support very well. Make sure you really like the one you buy so that doesn‘t happen to you.
Most treadmills look similar and it will be hard to tell them apart by simply walking on them. The biggest mistake people make in buying a treadmill is not taking it for a proper test “run.”
3. Don’t under buy your treadmill – As mentioned above, if you plan to do a good amount of running on a treadmill make sure you get one that accommodates it. Some treadmills aren’t even designed to be used by someone who weighs over 200 pounds running on them on a regular basis.
4. Explore your options – There are lots of options available on treadmills and sometimes you can save money on high-end treadmills depending on what options you go with.
For those who want a high-end treadmill, Landice is an outstanding brand to choose. You can mix and match options even at the elite level.
Landice offers two different sized frames (L7 and L8) and four different electronic boards (pro trainer, pro sports trainer, cardio trainer and the top of the line executive trainer) to select from.
When it comes to mid-line treadmills, brands such as Vision Fitness, which is manufactured by Johnson Health Tech, offers many great options.
Finally, for entry-level treadmills, AFG (Advanced Fitness Group), is an outstanding choice.
5. Warranty, warranty, warranty – Check the warranty. Some companies undersell the competition, but they know full well that seven years or so down the line people will be coming back to them to buy replacement parts and/or service and often wind up spending another $500-700. (There goes the initial “good deal” out the window.)
However, companies such as Landice offers a lifetime warranty. So there can be a huge difference.
Contact the pros at At Home Fitness for more information: www.athomefitness.com

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com