How to Choose the Right Treadmill for Seniors

by Jodee on August 31, 2010

Seniors who want to get a cardio workout without having to either go outside or buy a gym membership may want to consider using a treadmill. It is a convenient way to get or stay in shape that doesn’t require the user to learn a routine or make an investment larger than the unit itself and a good pair of shoes. Older adults who want to buy a treadmill have specific buying needs that need to be addressed when considering available options.


Long Running Deck

The advantage to having a long running deck is that it lowers the risk of injury due to slipping of the back of the track. The user has more time to increase his or her running speed, grab onto the safety handles or lower the speed on the display console as needed.

Safety Handles

When shopping for a treadmill for seniors, look for a model that has safety handles that are positioned to the side of the treadmill. This feature offers additional support for people who may have balance issues or want to be able to use the handle as a grab bar if needed.

Motion Controls

A person who has vision issues or difficulty with eye-to-hand coordination should look for a treadmill offering motion controls. Rather than having to press buttons to start and stop the treadmill, simply moving one’s hand in front of the control panel can start or stop the machine. The same method can be used to increase or decrease speed while the treadmill is in use.

Adjustable Suspension

When issues like arthritis in the knees are present, being able to adjust the suspension on a treadmill is an important consideration when making a buying decision. All treadmills have some degree of shock absorption, but running on a surface that is too hard can lead to knee injuries. If the surface is too soft, it can be hard for the user to keep his or her balance, leading to falls.

Low Noise Level

To avoid the distraction caused by the motor on a treadmill while the machine is in use, look for a model with steel rollers. The noise level on this type of unit is reduced, which makes it easier for the user to listen to music or watch television while using it.

Treadmills equipped with steel rollers are usually more expensive, but choosing a machine at the higher end of the price range also means more features. Some units include an EKG monitor, for example, while others come with a built-in LCD TV for the consumer’s convenience.

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