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As we get older, our exercise needs and abilities may change. Where we may have once found a long run or an hour in the gym a breeze, our senior years may see us engaging in a lighter form of exercise. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, we should be mindful of the equipment we use to work out.
A walking treadmill is a great way to work out in a gentle way. What’s more, you never have to leave the comfort of your own home. With that in mind, there are some things that you should consider when choosing between the best treadmills for seniors.
Treadmills for Seniors Comparison Chart
EXERPEUTIC TF2000 Treadmill
NordicTrack T Series Treadmill
Nautilus T618 Series Treadmill
Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill
0 – 12%
0 – 15%
0 – 4.37%
50" (L) x 16" (W)
60" (L) x 20" (W)
60" (L) x 20" (W)
49" (L) x 15.5" (W)
50 workout programs
26 workout programs
9 workout programs
Console Display Type
10" HD touchscreen display
Heart Rate Monitor
Yes (pulse grips only)
Yes (measured by the integrated EKG Grip handles)
Yes (wireless heart rate chest strap)
61.5" (L) X 30" (W) X 11.6" (H)
78.9" (L) x 35.5" (W) x 59.4" (H)
78" (L) x 37.6" (W) x 62.8" (H)
62" (L) x 25.5" (W) x 50" (H)
Benefits of Using a Walking Treadmill for Seniors
There are many benefits to walking as an exercise. It can be easy to assume that because this is a gentle workout, it doesn’t have the same benefits as more rigorous exercise, but the opposite is true.
There is enough evidence to show that remaining active through walking can have significant health benefits for older people. It is believed that when seniors remain active, this can lengthen their lives and improve their overall health. For example, when you walk regularly, your circulation is vastly improved and this can have a direct impact on cardiovascular health, which is increasingly common in people as they reach old age.
Furthermore, the bones, joints, and muscles are all strengthened and this can be significant in aiding the pain associated with certain types of arthritis. Not only this but for rehabilitation for tissue or bone injuries, walking can be a very effective treatment.
Many people notice that their quality of life is improved when engaging in light exercise like walking. This is for two reasons; primarily, their physical health improves and this means that they are able to do more. Secondly, walking is shown to improve mental health, largely because of a surge of endorphins when working out. Even better, there is evidence to suggest that regular walking can decrease the chances of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.
Types of Treadmills
One of the joys of investing in a treadmill for walking is that you are not limited on choice. There are two main types of treadmills, knowing a little about each of them can help you to make a more informed decision.
A manual treadmill relies on the effort of the user to move the belt. This means that you have to put in a little more effort. For this reason, you may find that this isn’t the right option for you if you have limited strength. However, there are benefits to this if you have the physical ability.
There have been studies that have shown that people using a manual treadmill may have had to expend up to 30% more energy than those using an electric version. Furthermore, this is a viable option for people looking to improve their muscle mass and function.
An electric treadmill uses a belt that runs on a motor and it is up to the user to keep up with this movement. One of the great advantages of this is that you have the option to set the machine at varying paces. This is great for seniors who want a gentle walk without having to over-exert their joints and muscles.
There are also usually a selection of preset programs and timers so that the user can create a tailored workout. However, for users that are less steady on their feet, an electric treadmill can be dangerous as there is a much more significant risk of falling.
Treadmill Buyer’s Guide
Once you have decided on the type of treadmill you would like, there are several other things that you should consider. Let’s begin with going a little more in-depth on the manual and electric models before looking at the other important features that you should keep in mind.
Manual or Electric
Earlier, we looked at some of the benefits of a manual and electric treadmill and these are worth considering when making a choice. However, there are other things that may help to sway your decision.
For example, a manual treadmill is much safer to use thanks to the lack of movement unless you are moving. Furthermore, removing the need for electrical motors means that a manual treadmill is typically much more affordable.
However, an electric treadmill allows you to change the incline while you are still using the machine. This is not an option when it comes to using a manual treadmill. They are also typically a lot more stable and good for those who are a little less confident on their feet.
For some users, the treadmill may only need to be used in one location. However, for others, there could be the need to transport it. Perhaps if you are visiting family or moving home. In this case, you will want a device that is easy to collapse and move around.
If you do not have the space in the home to leave the treadmill up indefinitely then it will need to be foldable and compact for storage. You should look at how easy the treadmill is to put up and take down. The last thing you want is a machine that requires more of a work out to erect than you would get from using it.
The belt size, which is sometimes called the deck size refers to the space on which you will walk, or run if you are feeling a little more energetic. If you are looking for a space-saving treadmill then you would typically need to compromise on the width of the belt.
Normally, a standard treadmill would have a running deck that measures 20 inches by 55 inches. While this would be suitable for people of an average height, you may find that this space is lacking if you are particularly tall.
Most modern treadmills come with an LCD screen that displays information on things including how far you have walked, the speed, calories burned, and any programs or timers you have running. This screen will often also be home to the main control panel and one of the most important things to consider is whether the screen is easy to read. If you are visually impaired then it is even more important to have clear and readable information.
Furthermore, you may wish to consider how easy the treadmill is to operate. Many seniors find complicated technology too overwhelming so it is important that the controls are easy to learn and without any complex processes.
Heart Rate Sensors
One of the main reasons that we advocate using a treadmill for older people is to help promote good heart health. However, it can be difficult to track how hard your heart is having to work without a heart rate sensor.
Many modern models feature a heart rate sensor and this is great for letting you know how hard you are working. This is particularly important if you are looking to burn calories and lose weight as there is an optimal ‘zone’ that fitness experts recommend for burning fat.
The heart rate monitor may be located within the hand rails, if your treadmill has one. Alternatively, there is the option to use a chest strap that wirelessly attaches to you and gives a far more accurate reading. What’s more, you don’t need to constantly hold onto a rail which could be uncomfortable and restricting.
When you go out walking on hiking trails or even on a gentle stroll through the park, you would likely wear shoes that feature a good degree of shock absorption. The same concept applies when you are using a treadmill and many feature a cushioned belt that feels much nicer under your feet.
Cushioned treadmill belts are excellent for people who have joint pain, especially in the knees and ankles which can be common in older adults. The level of cushioning required will vary from person to person but even a small amount can make a difference where pain relief is concerned as this will absorb the energy of each step so that your joints don’t have to.
As we age, it is natural for our balance to be impaired and this could mean that the chance of slipping or falling on the treadmill is increased. However, this can be helped with the simple addition of a handrail. These rails typically run along the sides of the running deck. Not only do they give you something to hold on to while you are walking but they are also useful for getting on and off the treadmill.
It is important to also consider the height of the deck, even with handrails, if there is a significant step up, this could pose a hazard. You should always check to make sure that the emergency stop button is within easy reach and that you won’t have to lean too far forward or backward to quickly stop the machine.
While most older people will be looking for a treadmill that will allow them to take a gentle walk, there are some people who might want something a little more demanding. For this reason, it is important to ensure that the speed settings are in line with the type of workout that you would like to do.
Additionally, for those who want the lowest speed, you should ensure that this won’t still be too fast for you. There should also be a selection of workout programs for you to choose from. Typically, these will start off slowly and may pick up the pace during the middle before slowing down again. Some treadmills will also allow you to create your own personal program.
Another important setting that you will see on most modern treadmills is an incline setting. This will allow you to adjust the slope and is great if you would like something a little more physically demanding.
It is vital that the treadmill is able to take your weight. There are different models out there with different weight capacities and trying to work out on a treadmill that isn’t designed for your weight could result in a serious injury.
We would always advise going for a treadmill with a weight capacity that far exceeds your own weight, this way, you have plenty of room for movement. It is also important to consider that a more generous treadmill in terms of weight capacity will typically be much more stable and will offer quieter operation.
Best Walking Treadmills for Seniors
1. EXERPEUTIC TF2000 Treadmill with Full-Length Hand Rails
This is an excellent treadmill for people who want to take things easy. The lowest speed is just 0.2 mph which gives you a steady and gentle pace. This is particularly useful for when you are just getting to grips with the equipment. When you are feeling a little more confident, the speed settings can go up to 5 mph which would be equivalent to a brisk walk or jog.
The treadmill is fitted with full-length handles which makes it ideal for those who are unsteady on their feet. Furthermore, it benefits from a stable walking deck that is low to the floor making the treadmill easy to mount.
There is a built-in heart rate monitor and a clear, easy to read LCD screen. In addition to this, you will find this an incredibly comfortable treadmill thanks to the ten deck cushions which absorb shock and are kind to your joints.
- Max speed: 5 MPH
- Incline rating: N/A
- Deck size: 50″ (L) x 16″ (W)
- Power: 1.5 HP
- Workout program: N/A
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Dimensions: 61.5″ (L) X 30″ (W) X 11.6″ (H)
2. NordicTrack T Series Treadmill
One of the first things that catch your attention with this treadmill is the modern, stylish, and incredibly easy to read screen. This video touch display comes in a range of sizes and with the one-year membership, you will be able to access a variety of workout sessions including live workouts and up to 5 personalized ones.
There is a quick setting to alter the incline up to 12º and the speed settings vary between 0 mph and 12 mph. While the latter may be extremely fast, this does give you the versatility to use the treadmill according to your own needs.
The frame is beautifully stable and with a weight capacity of 300 lbs, it is suitable for most adults. However, with the lack of hand rails, this may not be a wise choice for those who have balance or mobility issues.
- Max speed: 12 MPH
- Incline rating: 0 – 12%
- Deck size: 60″ (L) x 20″ (W)
- Power: 3.5 HP
- Workout program: 50 workout programs
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Dimensions: 78.9″ (L) x 35.5″ (W) x 59.4″ (H)
3. Nautilus T618 Series Treadmill
For older people who want something that is up to date and offers everything, you could ask for in a treadmill then this premium model may be right for you. It comes with the option to take out an annual subscription which gives you access to a variety of workouts and the Run Social app. This allows you to enjoy various tracks around the world on the easy to read and clear display screen to add a little excitement to your workout.
Furthermore, this treadmill has a super responsive walking deck that boasts excellent cushioning for a truly comfortable experience. The deck is also extra wide which gives you greater freedom of movement and more stability. However, without full-length hand rails, this could be somewhat compromised. There are, however, two short handles at the head of the machine.
- Max speed: 12 MPH
- Incline rating: 0 – 15%
- Deck size: 60″ (L) x 20″ (W)
- Power: 3.5 HP
- Workout program: 26 workout programs
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs
- Dimensions: 78″ (L) x 37.6″ (W) x 62.8″ (H)
4. Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill
If you aren’t looking to spend your life savings on a treadmill, then the good news is that there are many budget-friendly models out there. The Sunny Health treadmill is a prime example of this and it features nine workout programs that do not require a subscription as well as a shock-absorbent running deck for a comfortable workout.
What’s more, this treadmill boasts a top speed of 9 mph, giving you plenty of options when it comes to turning up the intensity. However, if you are looking for some gentler, the minimum speed of 0.5 mph should be more than sufficient. The clear display shows you your vital information including how many calories you have burned as well as your pulse.
The treadmill folds away for easy storage but even when put up, it doesn’t have a huge footprint. But this does mean that the weight limit is slightly lower than its competitors at 220 lbs.
- Max speed: 9 MPH
- Incline rating: 0 – 4.37%
- Deck size: 49″ (L) x 15.5″ (W)
- Power: 2.2 HP
- Workout program: 9 workout programs
- Weight capacity: 220 lbs
- Dimensions: 62″ (L) x 25.5″ (W) x 50″ (H)