The Latest in Treadmill Technology 

Achieve FitnessAlthough walking or running on a treadmill is a fast and easy way to get healthy and get in some exercise no matter what the weather, it can be monotonous. Instead of just turning on the tunes or checking out the latest channel, find out about the newest technology that’s helping treadmills become more than just “dreadmills.”

Run More Realistically

Typically when you get on a treadmill you have to set a stride and go with it. This can be a great way to train at a particular pace, but it can get boring quickly. Our bodies naturally speed up and slow down because our movements aren’t as automatic as those of a robotic machine. Researchers at Ohio State came up with a treadmill prototype that recognizes when the body wants to slow down or speed up and adjusts accordingly. This makes running indoors feel more natural and less boring.

Newer treadmills also make running more natural by providing a decline option in addition to an incline. With both options, a treadmill can provide you with the more subtle physical changes that you’ll experience during an outdoor run. You can more effectively prepare for a hilly race and train muscles that don’t get as much preparation for going downhill. Using a decline also helps you practice real-world endurance, because you usually get a chance to catch your breath on a downhill slope after you’ve traveled uphill for some time.

Protect your Joints

Running on a treadmill is often cited as better than running outdoors because the cushioning on the treadmill absorbs more shock than hard pavement. However, that depends on the treadmill’s technology. The most ideal type of cushioning is variable cushioning, which provides different levels of shock absorption and firmness in different areas of the deck. These models have softer rubber up front, where your foot lands with greatest impact, and stiffer rubber toward the back, giving the foot something harder to push off from.

There’s an App for That

Some of the newest treadmills come loaded with workout apps that let you try different routines. Concentrate on fat burning or test your endurance. You can even hook up your own device to run your own apps on the treadmill or to surf the web. The screens on these treadmills are larger than those on your smart phone, so they’re easier to navigate and more fun to use.

More Entertaining Treadmills

A new technology makes working out on a treadmill more entertaining by letting users feel like they’re exploring the world. With iFit, you can select runs that put you into streetscapes of major cities across the globe. Feel like you’re running a 5K in Boston or challenging an opponent in a half marathon in Paris. The treadmill automatically adjusts to the terrain while you check out your progress via Google Maps and watch the street-view images at the same time. It’s a great way to keep yourself motivated and monitor your improvement too.

Other simulation software lets you experience majestic locations like the French Riviera or the Rocky Mountains as you exercise. High-definition images move to the exact pace of your own movement, so you feel like you’re really there. You can use this technology to connect your treadmill to your television so the videos show up on the big screen, making you feel like you’re really taking in the atmosphere.

All treadmills are not built alike, and the options you select when buying a treadmill can make or break your workout. If working out helps you escape from reality, you might enjoy a workout simulator. If you’re more of an outdoor exerciser, a treadmill with options for natural movement might be for you. In either case, don’t sacrifice on quality for a safe and healthy workout.