These might be the characteristics of a decent treadmill for running:
- powerful motor
- max speed. The more, the better.
- hydraulic incline adjustment
- weight of the device. 70kg unit will be, on average, more durable than 30kg flimsy toy.
- price. In general, the higher the MSRP, the better the unit
- user reviews
Initially, I wanted to browse my local 'Craigslist' and pick a treadmill for a Walking Desk by applying above evaluation scheme.
However, I came across an article on workwhilewalking.com, which states that all those parameters are irrelevant, or even misleading. The reason being, treadmill-base of a Walking Desk is used…:
When running, you’re kicking the belt backwards and are in the air part of the time. When you’re walking at 1-2 mph, the belt is pushing your entire body weight while overcoming friction between the belt and the deck.
…at low speeds:
Any motor specifications other than the torque of the motor when running at speeds of 1-2 mph is utterly irrelevant.
When walking at 1-2 mph, the motor will only produce a fraction of its rated horsepower. […]
When you need the most horses to pull the belt along, the motor delivers the fewest.
…for much longer periods of time than, say, running 5x1h / week
All these combined lead to overheating and premature death of, allegedly, any treadmill that was not designed specifically for walking:
We’ve seen 2.5 HP motors used in high-end running treadmills burn out every few months under the strain of daily walking at 1-2 mph for hours at a time.
In the article, instead of grabbing a sweet second-hand deal on Craigslist, they advise either:
- Splurging on a walking-dedicated treadmill.
- Finding a rehab-dedicated treadmill:
We’ve seen 1.5 HP motors in low-cost treadmills originally designed for rehab applications (typically topping out at 4 mph) last forever with constant use in a treadmill desk application.
- Buying an inexpensive running-dedicated (aka 'regular') treadmill with a long warranty period on the motor. One'll have couple of warranty replacements, and, after the warranty period is expired, one will buy another unit.
I don't like approaches 1. and 2. above, because of a) limited availability of those high-end units in my country b) their insane price as for a treadmill with no incline, no heart rate sensors, etc. - I feel like I'm overpaying.
What do you think?
Perhaps there are some other ways to tell if a running treadmill will be suitable for walking ?
While the arguments in the article sound really wise, I've seen positive feedback on regular treadmills coming from users, that used them exclusively for walking.
- Maybe I should look for a different type of treadmill?
Magnetic, Manual ?