No matter what brand or what quality of treadmill you are shopping for, you will bump into some common terms. Read all about them, so you sound like you know what you are talking about to the salespeople! And you will understand the literature better.
Deck - The part of a treadmill that creates a stable base upon which users walk or run. Depending on the design, a deck can reduce the impact of walking or running from that outdoors.
Side runners - Non-moving edges along the right and left sides next to the treadmill's belt for safe footing.
Belt - The moving rubber loop that circles the deck upon which users walk or run.
Motor - The power for the belt movement, which usually ranges from 1.5-2.5 in quality home treadmills. Can be both AC and DC. Best if DC because it uses less energy.
Motor shroud - The covering at the front of the treadmill that covers and protects the motor and ensures your safety. No gnawed on toes!
Emergency stop - A button or magnet that users can push or pull with one quick motion to stop the treadmill immediately in case, for example, the speed is accidentally punched too high.
Hand rails - Bars along each side and/or front of a treadmill that are preferred on quality equipment so users feel safe and can check their balance.
Display console - The display board at the front of the treadmill, which houses the controlling electronics, from which users control their workouts, most commonly including speed (miles per hour) and incline. Displays may also include special programs, mileage covered, workout duration, calories used, speed in minutes per mile, graphics of a workout profile, or various other features, such as heart rate.
Incline or grade - The percent of steepness the treadmill will go up to simulate a hill. Usually from 0-15 percent.
Speed - How fast a treadmill will allow a user to move, using revolutions per minute of the belt. Usually from 0-10 mph in home models.
Calories - Usually based on a 150- to 155-pound person and therefore often not accurate for everybody. For accuracy, you need to be able to over-ride the information and input your own weight.
Heart Rate Monitoring - Some treadmills are compatible with wireless heart rate monitors so users may wear a chest strap to pick up electric signals from the heart and see their heart rate displayed on the console, allowing for safer and more effective workouts.
Start - Either a one-button or several button procedure. Some require a user to hold down a button. Some treadmills require users straddle the belt by standing on the side-runners since the belt starts moving immediately. When shopping for a treadmill, consider a quick-start feature so you can just go, rather than be forced to input a bunch of info.
Pause - Allows the user to take a quick break to get a drink of water, towel off, or pickup something on the ground.
Stop - The button that slows the belt to a stop.
Run The Planet thanks the GearTrends website (www.geartrends.com) for the permission to reprint the article "Treadmill Lingo and Features" by Therese Iknoian, author of "Fitness Walking" (Human Kinetics, second edition, 2005). GearTrends is the most thorough source for news, products, how-to and trend information for the outdoor and fitness industries. Text © 2005 by Therese Iknoian. No reprints or use without permission. Illustration © 2005 by Run The Planet.