As anyone who’s made a daily (hot girl) walk a part of their fitness routine knows, taking a stroll can really boost your day—and shopping the best treadmills for walking, like slim under-desk models and machines with challenging incline ranges, is an excellent solution to those days when you just can’t (or don’t want to) go outside but want to stretch your legs all the same.
The benefits of using a walking treadmill
Wherever you do it, walking is a wonderful form of exercise. As SELF has previously reported, it can aid in active recovery, ease aches and pains, and boost your mood. All walking requires is a good pair of walking shoes and a surface to get your steps in. That’s where a walking treadmill can come in handy. Factors like inclement weather, a lack of sidewalks or safe walkways, and limited time can make it difficult to take your stroll outside, but a walking treadmill brings your walk into the comfort of your own home. A high-quality home treadmill can provide you with the same workout you’d get outside—or an even more challenging one, depending on its range of settings. Plus, using a walking treadmill is a shining opportunity to call and chat with friends, break up a monotonous workday, or catch up on your favorite Netflix show without distractions.
What to look for when buying a walking treadmill
If you already have a standard treadmill as part of your home gym, that will work just fine as a treadmill for walking. However, if you’re shopping for your very first treadmill and only plan to use it for walking, you don’t necessarily need one that’s as heavy-duty as a running treadmill, Kami Blease, CPT, a personal trainer on Fyt, tells SELF. “If all you are going to do is walk on the treadmill, you don’t need to prioritize ones that have higher speeds or more support because their buildout is intentionally designed for someone who plans on running,” she explains. Although you might not need as many bells and whistles on a walking treadmill, there are still a few key elements to consider before making your purchase.
Size and storage
Walking-only treadmills tend to be smaller than running treadmills, due to the differences in the stride and pace used when walking versus running, Raphael Konforti, MS, senior director of fitness, at YouFit Gyms, tells SELF. In addition to their smaller overall footprint, a lot of walking treadmills are foldable, which is a major asset if you have limited space for workout equipment at home. Some folding treadmills can be stored vertically, while others are thin enough to stow under your bed or desk—just keep in mind what your living space can accommodate.
Fitness machines like treadmills can cost a pretty penny, so it’s smart to have a budget in mind while you shop. It’s totally possible to find a relatively affordable walking treadmill, but you can spend more if you want extra features or a particularly durable model. If you’re on the fence about how much to spend, think about how often you plan to use the treadmill: If it’s going to be part of your everyday routine, you may want to invest more in a higher-quality model up front in the name of longevity. If you think you’ll use it less frequently, you probably don’t need to splurge on a pricey workhorse treadmill.