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Planning to go treadmill shopping anytime soon? Prepare for sticker shock. The best treadmills--the most popular piece of fitness equipment among Americans over the age of 6, reports the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association--cost about what I paid for my first car, a '72 Toyota Corolla.
In fact, says Gregory Florez, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and CEO of FitAdvisor, an online coaching firm, "Just about anything under $900 is not made to be used over the long haul."
With two notable exceptions, that's what we found when we put 18 hot-off-the-production-line treadmills* to the test for several months. The ones we chose are sturdy and easy on the bod, and some offer the treadmill version of bling bling: fans, CD players, even a built-in personal trainer.
If you're not going to buy one of our picks, take some advice from Florez:
No matter where you end up buying your machine, he says, start your shopping experience at a specialty fitness retailer (as opposed to a department store): "Many of the owners or salespeople have a fitness background, so you'll get a higher quality education about treadmills."
Don't be dazzled by the bells, whistles, or nifty cup holders. Look for those extras in a treadmill that will keep you interested in hopping on regularly.
Test the machine the way you're going to use it. "Almost any treadmill will feel and sound fine for 5 to 6 minutes in a big, noisy store," Florez says. Spend 15 to 20 minutes on each machine. If you run, run on it; if you're a hill climber, punch up the incline.
Only buy from a retailer who offers you a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. A treadmill is like a newborn: You don't always know how it's going to behave until you get it home. At least with a treadmill, you should be able to take it back.
Courtesy of BiggestLoserClub.com
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