More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates once said 'Walking is man’s best medicine’. Well, it turns out he was right. It provides a lot of benefits for your health. For example; it lowers the risk of several diseases, improves your mood and can help to lose body fat. And the good news is, walking on a treadmill can offer you the same benefits as walking outside.
Forget the cold weather, dark evenings or unfriendly terrain. If you want to experience the benefits of walking in the comfort of your own home, then a treadmill could be a good choice.
On this page, you’ll find my comparison of the best treadmills for walking and light jogging. You’ll also find a buying guide with important aspects you might want to consider before buying one.
Here's an Overview Of Our Top 5 Picks:
What to look for?
As a walker, you may want to consider choosing a treadmill with an incline. Working out on an incline might be a bit harder, but it does provide some benefits compared to a walk on a flat surface.
For example, it will cost more energy to walk at an incline which makes it more effective for weight loss, which is interesting for heavy people.
Besides an increase in the number of calories you’ll burn, walking at an incline can help to; increase your strength and improve your overall cardiovascular fitness level. Of course, the same goes for walking on a flat surface, but a walk at an incline is more effective.
Even a small incline between one and five percent could already have its benefits. If you want to challenge yourself even more, then it’s probably a good idea to consider a model with an incline between 10 and 15 percent.
Just a few exercise programs are already enough to bring some variation in your usual training routine. A recreational walker or those who want to lose weight by walking probably only need between six and ten programs.
Workout programs become increasingly important if you want to train for a walking event. Especially for events where you have to walk a significant distance because these kinds of events usually require a decent preparation. Using the workout programs are a great way to help you prepare for an event, as they help you to challenge yourself.
Remember, you can always increase the intensity of your workout manually by; going faster, extending the workout or increasing the incline (assuming you have an incline).
What are the benefits?
Walking can be a safer alternative to running. We all know running is good for your health, but it carries a greater risk of injury as well. Just like running, walking is beneficial to your health.
Watch the video below to see why walking on a daily basis is a good idea;
In this short video, the specialists talk about some of the major benefits of walking. A few of the advantages which they mention in the video are;
- Increased bone health. It's a weight-bearing exercise and therefore makes you ‘work’ against gravity.
- It’s good for your heart. Even a short walk increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Therefore, it strengthens your heart.
- It helps when you're depressed or anxious. A walk releases chemicals in your body which make you feel good and reduces the immune system chemicals that may worsen your depression.
- Lastly, but certainly not least; it helps to prevent diseases. In the video, the specialists say that it helps people with dementia. In addition, scientist now believe that being physically active (in general) could reduce the risk of dementia.
Another important benefit is the fact that it helps you to lose weight. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), at a speed of 3.5 Miles Per Hour, a 200-pound person burns about 391 calories per hour.
Of course, you may say; “Well, these are benefits for regular walkers in general, so I could benefit from them even when I’m going for a walk outside.”
You are 100 percent right. If you would just go out for a walk, you could experience these benefits as well. However, a treadmill can be a great alternative, especially when the weather conditions are bad.
What are good shoes for walking on a treadmill?
Walking requires different shoes than those intended for running. Aspects of a good shoe for walkers are;
- Cushioning; they should provide enough comfort to minimize the pressure on your joints.
- They have to be lightweight. Heavy shoes make it even harder to walk. You will want shoes that allow you to move quickly. Therefore the shoes should be lightweight. And they have to feel comfortable. So there must be a good fit between your shoe and your foot.
Good shoes complement your stride while uncomfortable shoes could lead to injury or blisters. If you wear good shoes, you’re also more likely to stick to your training routine. So it’s important to wear proper shoes.
Our Top 5 Picks for Runners
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7603
The SF-T7603 from Sunny Health & Fitness is a folding treadmill and is particularly suited for walkers. It has three manually adjustable incline levels and nine built-in user programs. The incline and workout programs are especially useful if you want to vary your normal workout routine.
Furthermore, it has a 2.2 HP motor which is probably powerful enough for most walkers and joggers. So if you’re looking for a basic home treadmill, then the SF-T7603 might be a good choice.
- The SF-T7603 has nine built-in workout programs to keep varying your workout routine.
- It has an empty space on the console which you can use as a water bottle holder or remote control.
- The 16-inch wide by 49-inch long tread belt is big and wide enough for a walk or jog.
- The three position incline has to be adjusted manually. To adjust the incline, you’ll have to remove the fixing pins underneath the belt and adjust the foot pad.
- The maximum weight capacity of 220-Lbs might be too low for some people.
ProGear HCXL 4000
If you are a heavy person, then you might want to take a look at the ProGear HCXL 4000. It's designed for heavy people who want to use their treadmill mainly for walking & light jogging up to 4 MPH.
The HCXL 4000 has a maximum weight capacity of 400-Lbs. ProGear made sure it can hold this amount of weight by testing its limits.
Another reason why it might be an attractive option for people who are overweight is the 20” wide by 40” long tread belt, which is relatively wide compared to other treadmills for heavier people.
- 18” extra long handles which provide more stability and safety during your walks.
- The ProGear HCXL 4000 has a relatively high maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds.
- The two manual incline levels can help you to burn more calories.
- The 40-inch long tread belt is relatively short. This might not be ideal for people with a long stride.
- Like the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7603, this machine has a manual incline, not an electric one. So you’ll have to adjust it before your workout or pause it.
- It has a maximum speed of 4 Miles Per Hour, so it’s less suited for joggers.
The 6.0 RT from ProForm is suited for walking and jogging. You can also use this machine for running, as this model has maximum speed of 10 Miles Per Hour. So it can be used by a variety of users.
Furthermore, the machine has eight built-in workout apps/programs. The programs are split into four calorie workouts and four timed workouts. If you want to use your machine to get in shape, then the calorie workouts might be useful.
Additionally, the 18” wide by 55” long belt and the 2.5 Continuous Horse Power motor provide most walkers and joggers with a comfortable workout experience. Furthermore, it has TreadSoft cushioning, which reduces the impact on your joints.
The fact that you can use this machine for running might be appealing to joggers who want to become runners.
- It has a non-slip belt which provides users with extra grip.
- The ProForm 6.0 RT has a TreadSoft cushioning system to lower the impact on your joints.
- The 10 percent electric incline could be a useful feature for serious walkers who don’t want to pause their machine to adjust the incline.
- If you only want to walk, then this model might have too many ‘bells and whistles’. Although, most of the features can be interesting for walkers.
Merax JK 1603E
If you’re interested in a basic treadmill, then the Merax JK 1603E might be worth a consideration. The three workout programs, three incline positions and a maximum speed of 6.2 mph make the JK 1603E especially suited for walkers.
Furthermore, it has an easy to use console without a lot of buttons. The buttons which it has are; a start and stop button, a speed button to adjust your pace, an auto button, and mode button.
It also has an emergency stop. To use the emergency stop, you’ll have to use the red clip, which is attached to a red magnet with a cord. If you pull the magnet from the console, the machine will automatically stop.
- A simple LCD which displays basic information about your exercise, like; your heart rate, speed, distance, and calories burned.
- The relatively quiet motor allows you to listen to music or watch television while you’re training without a lot of noise in the background.
- The simplicity of this basic model might be appealing to users who don’t need a lot of features.
- The relatively small 14” (W) by 44” (L) belt make this treadmill less suited for light jogging or tall people who need a longer belt.
- If you are going to use it on a daily basis, then it might need some adjustments and regular maintenance to keep your treadmill in optimal condition.
Confidence Power Plus
The Confidence Power Plus is relatively small and basic model. You could use it for jogging, although it’s mainly suited for walkers. Apart from a multi-functional LED display and safety cord, this model doesn’t have a lot of extras.
The treadmill is 49” long and 24” wide. You can also fold and unfold the belt, which might be interesting for users who live in a small apartment or users who don’t have a lot of space. Plus, the weight of 54 Lbs and transport wheels make it easier to move.
The belt is 14” wide by 38.5” long which is probably large and wide enough for most walkers, but might be too small for joggers.
- It weighs 53 pounds which makes it easy to fold, unfold and roll away.
- The relatively small design makes it a good choice for small spaces.
- The Confidence Power Plus is worth a consideration for users who are looking for a simple and basic machine.
- It doesn’t have sidebars, which you might want or need for more stability.
- Some users might want more features because it’s a pretty basic model.
The diversity of capabilities and features shows that the market offers walkers a lot of choices. For some, it might be too much, while others are happy that they have a lot of choice. If you are still uncertain which model to choose, then I do have a recommendation for you.
In my opinion, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7603 is the best choice for walking and light jogging. The features; like the 2.2 HP motor and a 16” wide by 49” long tread belt are good enough for most users who want to use their machine for a brisk walk or jog.
Furthermore, the nine built-in user programs and three manual incline levels are useful to vary your workouts. So, this model has probably got enough workout features to keep you busy. That’s why I recommend the SF-T7603.