One of the best things we can do for our health is increasing our daily activity level. This doesn’t need to mean enlisting in a workout program, taking a zoom workout class, or lifting weights if those forms of activity aren’t your cup of tea. Increasing your activity level can be effectively achieved by walking. Walking can have a tremendous impact on your health if you implement a minimum daily step or time goal. This will motivate you to move your body more while also helping to combat the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

A study that looked at sedentary lifestyle behaviors of American citizens, found that the most sedentary individuals were older adolescents and adults over 60 years, and that 60% percent of their days were spent sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to a plethora of health risks including an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and anxiety, amongst other risks. Therefore, it is paramount to increase our activity levels to maintain our health and decrease the risk of developing these detrimental health conditions as we age. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults should do at least 2.5-5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise per week.

Walking is a form of aerobic activity that can be implemented into your daily routine to help you achieve a more active lifestyle. For those individuals who may not be able to commit to walking outside due to weather or other lifestyle factors, investing in a treadmill for your home is a great solution. However, once you have a treadmill, you must take the time to rebuild your daily rituals to involve walking. For instance, you can set up your treadmill in front of the TV to walk while watching the news or while your kids watch a show, or you can designate a task or time of day as your cue to walk on the treadmill. Some examples of this would be: 1) Every time I have my afternoon work call, I hop on the treadmill to take the call while walking, or 2) After I eat dinner with my family, I hop on the treadmill for X amount of minutes.


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    • Includes month iFit membership
    • Easy to fold for storage
    • Weight capacity: 300 pounds

    This treadmill is a sturdy and high-tech treadmill that is on the pricier side but is a solid investment. NordicTrack is a trusted brand and their treadmills are known to be comparable to a Peloton treadmill. The model I linked is the T6.5 S model with a 5 inch display screen because this is the cheapest option available (currently) on Amazon. This purchase comes with a 1 month iFit membership, which is their signature interactive personal training application that gives you access to workouts for on and off your treadmill. If you decide to get a newer model or larger display, your treadmill screen will be large enough to display the iFit workouts instead of having to view them from your phone or computer. The treadmill is foldable so that it doesn’t take up too much space when you’re not using it. When the treadmill is unfolded the dimensions are: 73″ L x 36″ W x 54″ H; and when the treadmill is folded the dimensions are: 38″ L x 36″ W x 67.5″ H. 22″ x 55″ tread belt.

    • 2-In-1 folding design
    • Functions with standing desk
    • Powerful and quiet motor

    This is another great treadmill made by Goplus with a compact design that offers more versatility and high-tech features. It has a walking mode when the handrails are folded down and a running mode when you flip up the handle bars. In walking or jogging mode the speed range is 1-4km/H and when the handrail is raised the speed can go up to 12km/H. It also has a bluetooth speaker built in and a remote control that can be used to conveniently adjust the speed. There is also a mini LCD display that can show you your workout time, speed, distance, and calories burned. 

    • 42 x 13 inch tread surface
    • Folds up for easy storage
    • Max weight capacity: 220 lbs

    This treadmill is a great option if you don’t have a lot of space and are looking for a more compact and easily portable treadmill. It still features a mini LCD monitor display, which shows your workout time, speed, calories burned, and steps. Having a monitor that can help you track your workouts is beneficial because it can help you stick to your minimum activity or step goal each day. When the treadmill is unfolded the dimensions are  49” L x  23” W x 50” H, and when the treadmill is folded the dimensions are 20” L x 23” W x 50” H. Because it is so lightweight, the treadmill is built to withstand walking or light jogging, but not running.

    • 16" X 50" tread surface
    • Speed range: 0. 5 -10 MPH
    • 3 Manual incline settings

    This treadmill is a more economical option and is still equipped with all the features to allow for a great walking or running workout. It features an LCD display that shows your workout time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse. You can adjust the incline manually to three different incline options. The type of motor and material of the treadmill deck helps reduce the stress on your joints and ensures a more smooth and quiet workout. The dimensions are 63.3” L x 29” W x 51.7” H when the treadmill is unfolded, however it still has a large walking surface (16″ X 50″ ). It also has folding capacity to minimize clutter when it’s not in use. 

    • Installation-free design
    • 0.5–5 Mph treadmill speed
    • Max weight capacity: 220 lbs

    This sleek treadmill is a pricier option compared to the Sunny Health & Fitness compact and portable treadmill. It has a small LCD display that shows your workout metrics and also includes a Tablet PC/phone holder. This would make it easy to take video conference calls from the treadmill! It has an ultra thin foldable design so that you could potentially slide this under your bed when you’re not using it.  Again, because of the sleeker design, the speed capacity is maxed out at 5 mph so it is not suitable for faster runs.

    How To Start Using Your Treadmill

    First and foremost, it is essential to learn where you’re starting in terms of your daily activity level so that you can set daily step/walking goals that lead incremental increases in your activity. This will increase the likelihood that you achieve your goals by helping you take smaller steps (pun intended!) towards adopting a new health-promoting habit long-term!

    You can determine your current activity level by guesstimating how many minutes or hours you walk or engage in some kind of activity each day, or you can use a tool like a pedometer, an activity tracker, an app, or your phone or watch (if they have an activity tracker built in). Once you learn this information, set a new daily goal that increases your activity level by between 10-15 minutes. At the start of each week, continue to increase your activity level by this much until you reach your final goal. Your final goal should be at least what the Department of Health and Human Services recommends (see above). By the time you reach your ultimate daily activity level goal, your new active lifestyle will be ingrained into your daily routine.

    The Best Treadmill Workouts

    Although any activity you do is beneficial, one way to vary your exercise routine and increase the challenge while walking on the treadmill is by engaging in interval training. Interval training simply means varying the speed and/or incline throughout your workout. This type of exercise increases the demand on your cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) by continuously changing the effort that your body must endure. Unlike when you’re walking or jogging at the same speed for a prolonged period of time and your heart rate reaches steady state (not fluctuating up and down), intermittently changing the intensity of your workout leads to fluctuations in your heart rate and other physiological measures, leading to a more effective workout.

    I have created a sample 25 minute interval training walking workout for you to try. I did not include specific speed targets because everyone’s fitness level and perceived difficulty level can differ. Choose speeds that are “slow,” “medium,” and “high” for you when completing this workout.

    I hope this article will make the process of choosing the best treadmill for you a little easier, and will motivate you to live a healthier and more active lifestyle!



    Riley is a licensed physical therapist with almost a decade of experience in the health and wellness field. Her work has transitioned to being primarily remote in nature so she has enjoyed finding creative ways to continue to serve her patients and clients effectively from home. She hopes to help others who are making this transition to remote work do so in the most adroit and seamless manner possible through sharing what has helped her succeed while working from home.

    Work From Home Adviser
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