Three Things to Consider Before Buying an Incline Treadmill
Running uphill is easier on your joints and offers a better workout than level jogging.
There are two ways to make a treadmill workout more challenging: increase the speed or raise the incline. While all treadmills have variable speeds, not all allow height adjustments. Yet the benefits of running at a slight incline are undeniable. Just a one-percent grade better approximates the resistance found outside on level ground. Uphill running also has less impact on your knees, making the incline treadmill an all-weather workout that is easy on your joints and can be fine-tuned to individual fitness goals. If you plan to add a treadmill to your home workout routine, keep these buying tips in mind.
All incline treadmills are either automatic or manual. Auto-incline machines make adjustments keyed in from the control panel during your run. With manual, you have to raise the height to a fixed position beforehand or stop the workout to make changes. The best incline machines sync with preset programs that will automatically raise and lower the tread. You’ll pay more for that feature, but “smart” auto-incline allows you to focus on your run rather than fiddle with controls.
Some treadmills will decline as well as incline. Changing the angle above or below 0° alters the biomechanics of your running form and helps prevent repetitive-use injury related to jogging at the same angle all the time. When comparing machines, consider the range of incline angle as well as the speed at which the tread raises and lowers. When you are running at peak intensity, it is important to be able to lower the tread rapidly if necessary.
Interactive treadmills with a virtual fitness coach offer state-of-the-art indoor training. An incline treadmill makes that experience more realistic. If your on-screen trainer is running uphill or downhill, so will you. Virtual training is a great way to stay motivated and power through tough workouts. But professional inspiration is pricey, so shop annual membership costs before deciding whether you prefer to go it alone or need a little encouragement to get across the finish line.