Treadmill Origin, Types, And Uses

Treadmill, a now popular gym equipment that has replaced outdoor running sessions was once used to torture jail inmates. The origins of a treadmill can be traced back to 1818 when Sir William Cubitt, a civil engineer invented the machine called the tread-wheel. The machine was a way to torture inmates by making them tread a 24-spoked large paddle wheel. As the convicts walked the wheel, the gears attached to the spokes utilized the energy generated to crush grains or pump water. The crushing of grains which mimicked the operations performed in a mill earned it the present-day name of “treadmill”.

The modern-day treadmill is a popular gym equipment that is a big hit amongst the working community who lack enough time to hit the gym. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the popularity of treadmills around the world. The ease of using the equipment has played a pivotal role that has led to an increase in the demand for the equipment. Further, working out on a treadmill burns more calories than any other form of indoor exercises. The availability of treadmills at homes allows people to devise their custom working out plans while controlling every aspect of their exercise. Such flexibility and control over the workout regime add to the appeal of the product.

Types of Treadmill Versions

There are different types of treadmill available in the market based on areas of usage and consumers budget. The different types of treadmills available are:


Manual treadmills do not require any electricity to function and operate as and when a person starts walking or running on it. Due to their simple and basic design, manual treadmills are the cheapest among all the types available in the treadmill market . One major advantage of manual treadmills is that the probability of injury is greatly reduced as the machine does not function until the user starts running or walking on it. The treadmills are devoid of any form of advanced features such as LED lights or heart monitors. Further, the equipment is designed for comfort with cushioned handles and a durable running belt. Another notable attribute of the equipment is that it occupies less space and can be folded when not in use. However, a major disadvantage of manual treadmills is the hassle a person has to go through when setting up the incline. The runner needs to stop running, get down off the treadmill and set the incline manually. Experts recommend manual treadmills for people who are new to using the equipment

Electric or Motored Treadmills

Electric or motored treadmills sport a large and sturdy build and require electricity to function. The equipment is majorly used in commercial gyms and health clubs as its utility in residential spaces is restricted due to its large build and limited portability. Electronic treadmills are loaded with numerous features that help users choose from a list of preferred workout routines.

Unlike manual treadmills, users can adjust the incline automatically without getting off the equipment. Furthermore, the addition of entertainment options in advanced treadmills allows runners to enjoy songs and videos while working out which in turn boosts their efficiency. Other features of electronic treadmills include foot platforms designed for extra comfort and noise reduction and adjustment of treadmill speeds up to 12 miles per hour. Most electronic treadmills are covered under warranty and can accommodate people weighing up to 300 pounds.

However, a major disadvantage of electronic treadmills is that electronic treadmills create a safety hazard. People can fall off the treadmill if they stumble or are distracted and can hurt themselves critically. Due to the large size and tons of features, electronic treadmills are marked heftily.

Hybrid Treadmills

The main idea behind introducing hybrid treadmills into the market was to add a flavor of variety to the workout regime that normal manual or electronic treadmills lacked. A hybrid treadmill uses a combination of two or more workout equipment. A hybrid treadmill can be a mix of a treadmill and an elliptical, a treadmill and a stair-climber, a treadmill and a stationary bike or a treadmill that aids in lifting weights. With hybrid treadmills, users can switch between different forms of exercising. Users can switch from one form of exercise to another by simply adjusting certain components of the machine with ease. The hassle-free transition adds to the appeal of the equipment.

Medical Treadmills

As the name suggests, medical treadmills are designed to rehabilitate patients or test for performances of athletes. Medical treadmills are also used as a measuring device during processes such as ECG, blood pressure monitoring, EMG or ergospirometry. Generally, medical treadmills are larger in size compared to other types of treadmills. Their larger size provides for the accommodation of patients with weights up to 400 pounds. Further, medical treadmills consist of a fewer number of moving parts in order to reduce wear and tear. Other characteristics of the product are low operating noise and controlled and comfortable start to accommodate patients.

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