You might be surprised to learn that there are two different types of treadmills. The most common treadmills are powered by motors (motorized treadmill). They’re what most people think of when they think about a treadmill: you push a button and you start your workout.
The other type of treadmill is a manual treadmill (non motorized treadmill) These are less common; however they do offer a number of benefits.
What is a Manual Treadmill?
A manual treadmill is a treadmill powered by you, the user. Instead of plugging your treadmill in and working with a motorized machine, you are the motor. Think about a hamster wheel. The hamster is the motor for the wheel, and if the hamster stops, the wheel stops.
The same is true for a manual treadmill. You are the motor that stops and starts the belt on your treadmill.
The Benefits of a Manual Treadmill
There are a few surprising benefits of a manual treadmill. One of the biggest benefits is that they’re often lighter and more compact than a motorized treadmill. In fact, some people take their manual treadmill with them on vacation.
They’re also generally less expensive than a motorized treadmill. When there’s no motor to pay for, the price drops considerably. They’re also environmentally friendly. The only energy you use is your own energy. No carbon footprint here! Finally, there’s less maintenance and risk of breaking. There are fewer parts with a manual treadmill which means they’re easier to take care of.
Read also: The Pros and Cons of Buying a Treadmill.
The Downside to Manual Treadmills
There’s a flip side to every coin and the same is true with a manual treadmill. They’re definitely not for everyone. The biggest drawback for most is the fact that it takes quite a lot of effort to get a manual treadmill going. You’re starting from a stopped position and you’ll really need to pull to get the track moving.
If you’re not already in good shape, running on a manual treadmill may not be effective. You’ll almost undoubtedly run more slowly on a manual treadmill than on a motorized one. Most people recommend manual treadmills if you’re going to be walking on it – not running. They tend to be unstable and wobbly. Running on them can be tricky and potentially dangerous too.
Finally, manual treadmills need to be adjusted manually. If you want to increase the incline you’ll need to stop moving, get off the treadmill, adjust the incline, and hop back on.
If you are going to be using your treadmill for a walking fitness program then a manual treadmill may be the key. You’ll use less energy, save money, and get in great shape. If, however, you’re going to use a treadmill for running, you may want to consider a motorized one. They’re safer and easier to use.