Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Folding Treadmill
Because the tread can turn to dread if you look at it too long.
A treadmill can be a great cardio machine, but it can also take up serious real estate—that’s why a folding treadmill can be a great option. When it folds upright, you can stow your treadmill a closet or in a corner. A folding treadmill can accommodate any athlete, from someone just getting back into shape to a weekend warrior who is training for a marathon. The right folding treadmill for you depends on how you plan to use it—a low-key walker may not need the incline and speed capabilities of a varsity track star. And of course, as with any piece of exercise equipment, the best model for you is one that you’ll actually use (for something more active than a clothes rack).
Foldable doesn’t mean that the equipment isn’t rugged. Many high-end treadmills have folding capabilities and work well for serious athletes. If you plan to regularly use the treadmill, you may consider one that includes access to streaming workouts. These workouts can provide a challenge and accountability, and can give you multiple cardio options besides running. For example, a treadmill can work well for a bootcamp-style class, where you run for a certain number of minutes, then hop off the treadmill to do resistance or floor-based exercises.
An under-desk treadmill can be a great way to get steps in and keep moving while you’re working. People generally walk on an under-desk treadmill at a pace well below their “regular” walking speed—usually about 1 or 2 miles per hour, as opposed to the 3 to 4 mph of a regular walk. Look for a treadmill that works well under the desk, but that you can also bring out for a more robust workout. Some desk-specific treadmills top out at 4 mph—if you want a treadmill that can do double duty it may be best to look for one that isn’t marketed as under-desk specific.
Consider who is going to run on the treadmill. Some folding treadmills are built with a lighter frame and may have a lower weight limit than “traditional” treadmills. It’s also a good idea to consider how and where you’ll use the treadmill. While some treadmills minimize noise with shock absorbers, you still may be able to hear them from other rooms in the house—or they may be heard by neighbors. Padding, such as placing the treadmill on top of a workout mat, can help.