Did you know that walking can decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke and can improve the management of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
With such obviously good health benefits, it's know wonder more, and more people are buying treadmills.
There are some really poor treadmills on the market, but we have done the hard research and found the best five treadmills for seniors that are not only great on performance but good on price
- 0.1 #1 NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill
- 0.2 #2 Xterra Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill
- 0.3 #3 Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Cadence Treadmill
- 0.4 #4 Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill
- 0.5 #5 Goplus 800W Folding Treadmill Electric
- 1 The benefits of walking
- 2 Why should I consider buying a treadmill for walking?
- 3 What other advantages are there of buying a treadmill?
- 4 Aren’t treadmills expensive?
- 5 What should I look for in a treadmill?
#1 NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill
The Nordic Track T 6.5 S is a fantastic treadmill for seniors. It’s easy to put together, and has so many great features you’ll wonder why the price isn’t higher. It has a 0-10% incline, adjustable at the touch of a button, the widest range of any of the models we reviewed. The handrails will monitor your heart rate, and it comes with 20 preloaded workout apps so you don’t have to design your own workouts. If you have an iFit, you have access to lots more.
There is a five-inch backlit display that shows you your speed, heart rate, time, distance, and calories burned, and if you have an iFit then it will use all of these to design some workouts just for you and your fitness level and goals. It also has a sound system with dual two-inch speakers that you can plug your iPod or iPhone into, though honestly we found that the sound quality was better through headphones. It even has cup or water bottle holders, which we were inordinately excited about for some reason!
If you want the variation of an outdoor track and you have an iFit, the treadmill will access Google Maps training routes for you and automatically adjust the incline as you go along it. It doesn’t get much more impressive than that! But there’s more - if your joints give you trouble, you can select a suitable firmness level with the FlexSelect cushioned deck and give your ankles and knees a break.
#2 Xterra Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill
This treadmill comes with a 5-inch LCD display, a 50-inch belt which is nice and long even for taller users, 12 preset workout programmes, pulse sensors in the handrails and a whole host of other great features. It also has holders for your phone or tablet and water bottle.
You can set the incline manually, though it only has three settings - and those settings all seemed very similar. It’s very quiet - though it does of course make some noise, you can easily hear music or the television over it. It did squeak a little when we ramped up the speed, but after adding a little bit of the included treadmill lube it was fine.
Overall this was a great treadmill for the money, but we felt that the guarantee could have been a little bit longer - it only offers a year on the motor.
#3 Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Cadence Treadmill
This is another foldaway design, but it has a few more features. Like the NordicTrack, it can be paired with an iFit to give lots of pre-loaded workouts. It doesn’t come ready-assembled, but is small and light, and easily movable. It has a tablet or phone holder so you can listen to music, and even has bluetooth connectivity.
We found that the belt was a little on the narrow side at 14 inches, and for a larger person was not ideal though the advertised weight limit is somewhere around 275lbs. It was nice and long, though, and will comfortably accommodate people of all heights and stride-lengths. It was also quite slow, ideal for walking pace.
We did find that the motor was a bit noisy, even on carpet. Also, there is no way of setting the display to show only speed, or calories burned - it cycles constantly through all the information. A small annoyance, but worth mentioning.
#4 Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill
This treadmill is quite a basic model, with three incline levels, wheels so that it can be moved, and a Soft Drop system for ease of unfolding. It does have an LCD display, but we found it was quite small and difficult to read.
The best feature was the handrail control keys, which meant we could adjust settings at our fingertips.
It’s very small and compact, so no problems with storage, but the belt skipped a few times during use. Customer services assured us that they could help us correct it, but if you don’t want to be adjusting your treadmill’s belt every other week or so, this one is probably best avoided.
Not only that, but while setting up we found that some of the bolt holes didn’t line up correctly. Perhaps this was why we were having issues with the belt. There is no cushioning under the belt either, which can make for a walk that’s difficult on the feet and ankles. In addition it was quite noisy, and the handrails were not spaced well meaning that we constantly hit our hands on them.
Overall we were disappointed in this treadmill, as we felt that for the price it could have had a lot more and better features, and the ones that were present did not work as well as they could.
#5 Goplus 800W Folding Treadmill Electric
If you’re short on space, the Goplus is a great foldaway design that means you can have a treadmill without having to worry about where to store it! It comes in basic black or a fun pink-and-white colour scheme, and comes ready-assembled. It has a multi-function display and a holder for your phone or tablet, and a cut-out switch for safety.
If you’re a taller individual you might want to skip this one, as it feels a bit cramped - the belt length is short, and the handrails are not adjustable. If you’re under 5’5”, you shouldn’t have an issue here, however! It’s very light at only 59lbs, which made it feel a little bit flimsier than its ‘Heavy Duty Construction’ promise could fulfil; that said, we didn’t have any problems with it.
Our major problem with this treadmill was the 2-inch rise - it is not adjustable, and for a beginner would be very harsh on the knees. It will give a better workout, but if you suffer with knee problems you’ll be better off with a more level treadmill.
Out of the five best treadmills we reviewed, the winner is…
The NordicTrack T 6.5 S! Overall this was our favourite of the bunch as it offers so much for the price. And in addition, it comes with a lifetime guarantee for the frame, a 25 year guarantee for the motor, and a 1 year guarantee for parts and labour. We can sacrifice the sound quality - something the other treadmills didn't have at all - for an otherwise fantastic walking treadmill. (Honestly it was the cup holders that sold us in the end… Just kidding.) It was comfortable, almost infinitely adjustable, and there were no 'useless' features.
It really came down to a choice between the Xterra and the NordicTrack in the end. There were a couple of things that swung it for us including the higher weight capacity and the much, much better motor guarantee - the Nordic offers 25 years to the Xterra’s one. In addition, the NordicTrack offered a much better range in the incline. Most models, including the Xterra, offered a maximum of three pre-determined settings, but the NordicTrack allows you to set it manually at whatever you want between 0 and 10%.
In addition were other, smaller things - the display on the NordicTrack is backlit, making it easier to read. And the cup holders, of course! It’s a small thing, but having somewhere to put a water bottle that is large enough to hold most sizes can definitely make a difference. For value for money the NordicTrack far outstrips even the Xterra, for us.
The benefits of walking
So why should I be walking, you might ask? Walking might seem less involved than say, swimming or biking, but it still comes with so many benefits - especially for older people, as we’re about to see! In fact, here’s a great video that outlines some of the benefits of walking as a daily exercise.
With so many benefits to walking, you’ll probably want to get started straight away. Here are just a few to think about:
Bone mass loss
As we get older we start to lose bone mass, which can lead to things like breaks and fractures, and osteoporosis. One study showed that walking regularly reduced the risk of hip fractures in older people by up to 40%.
It isn’t just our bones that deteriorate as we age, our muscles do it too. Walking strengthens the legs and abdominal muscles, meaning better mobility into old age. Not only that, but stronger muscles relieve pressure on joints, which can alleviate arthritis symptoms. Stronger hip muscles can also improve our balance and reduce the likelihood of slips and trips, as well.
Speaking of joints, walking as opposed to running is great for them! Low-impact exercise like walking promotes the flow of nutrients to your cartilage, which doesn’t have a direct blood supply to it. Instead it receives oxygen and other nutrients via joint fluid, which is boosted by gentle exercise like walking.
Walking also improves our circulation, lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of swelling, water retention and even heart disease - Studies have shown that walking for just half an hour a day can reduce blood pressure by almost eleven points.
Insomnia can be a problem for a lot of people and even more so as we get older, and walking can make a huge difference to the amount and quality of the sleep you get a night. Walking an hour a day tires you out, and when you’re tired you will sleep better! Just don’t do it right before bed, as this can make it harder to get to sleep.
The benefits of walking to our mental health are almost innumerable, especially as we get older. Memory decline is slowed, the risks of Alzheimers are reduced, self-esteem is boosted, and anxiety and depression are relieved. It’s been shown that walking regularly can make you happier, and happy people lead longer, healthier lives!
So with all these great benefits, what’s stopping you from getting up and taking a walk right now? Well, some of us, for various reasons, might not be able to go walking outside - or, at least not regularly. If you live in a very hot or very cold area, or if you don’t have access to a safe walking route, or if you are a carer for someone and cannot leave the house for long periods of time, you might want to think about getting a treadmill so that you can exercise at home instead.
Why should I consider buying a treadmill for walking?
Treadmills may put you in mind of enthusiastic young runners, but they’re great for those of us who want to simply walk as well. If you want to be able to walk whenever you want, and more importantly stop whenever you want, then a treadmill could be a great option for you. Walking outside is great exercise but if you find you run out of puff halfway around the park, you still have to get yourself home again. On a treadmill you can just step off whenever you’re finished.
What other advantages are there of buying a treadmill?
As we said above, it also means that you can still get your exercise if it’s too hot or cold outside. With the weather growing more and more unpredictable, we can’t wait for favourable conditions before we exercise or we never will! On the flip side of that, having a treadmill means you can’t use the weather as an excuse not to go…! Also, a treadmill can offer you control of the incline as well - something that walking outside cannot do. If you live in a prohibitively hilly area, a treadmill can be a great option for you.
Most treadmills come with handrails, so if your balance isn’t as good as it used to be, these can be invaluable. As well as that, there are no obstacles like kerbs or puddles on a treadmill, which means a lower risk of slips and trips. Treadmills usually have readouts too which can monitor your heart rate and the number of calories burned if one of your goals is heart health or weight loss. Technology these days also means that you can watch television or listen to music while you exercise, too!
For those of us for whom safety is unfortunately a concern, a treadmill is a great way of getting enough exercise without putting ourselves at risk by exercising outside. Also, being indoors means that it doesn’t matter if you forgot to bring water with you, or if you suddenly need to use the little girls’ or little boys’ room.
Aren’t treadmills expensive?
Yes, they are, but probably less so than you think. And if you use one regularly, it can be a great investment and in time will actually save you money over getting a gym membership. Not only that, but if you decide you aren’t using it enough to make it worth your money, you have something you can sell and make some of that money back - unlike a gym membership, which is just gone. However, we’re hoping that you will like our picks as much as we do, and that you’ll never want to sell them!
What should I look for in a treadmill?
Your needs in a treadmill are different to those of someone who will use it for running or training, so it’s important to look for a few specific things when you’re shopping around. For walking, you don’t need as long a belt unless you’re very tall - this is good, as it will take up less space in your home! As an absolute minimum, it must have handrails to hold on to while you get used to walking on it, and a safety cut-off. As you will be walking, not running, a safety cut-off isn’t as important but it’s still a very good thing to have - especially for those of us in our senior years!
All of the models we’ve reviewed have both handrails and a safety cut-off as standard. Some manual treadmills exist which is good for those seniors that have used treadmills before and want a higher intense workout.
If you want to improve your fitness, or if you’re just starting out and want to gain some of the benefits of walking without the unpredictability of exercising outside, the NordicTrack is the best treadmill we looked at. It is a little pricier than the other models, but for peace of mind and some really great, useable features, it’s worth every penny.