View Full Version : Treadmill weight limits?

01-06-2003, 07:45 PM
Hi all,

In researching treadmills (yes, I must lose weight this year), I've seen that many have a weight limit specified. Unfortunately, the stated limits are often insufficient for my massive bulk (unless I want to pay >$2500...maybe if I wasn't unemployed).

All I've been able to Google up is that some companies will void the warranty if the user exceeds the weight limit, but I've not found any corroborating evidence of this.

What I'd really like to know is if these weight limits are for just standing on the treadmill, walking, or running. I don't plan on running any time soon, that's for sure...at least not without a defibrillator nearby ;)


01-06-2003, 08:13 PM
I'm pretty sure the statements mean just what they say. If the weight limit is 300, and you weigh 350 the warranty is void.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the machine won't accomodate you - it just means that if something goes wrong, you have to pay for repairs yourself.

01-06-2003, 08:33 PM
It depends on how hard you put your feet down how much stress is placed on the treadmills. Walking very softly would probably have the same amount of stress as just standing on it. On the other hand, running usually has your feet striking the treadmill pretty hard, driving up the loads considerably. I couldn't tell just how much more without knowing a bit more about the treadmill design and some very detailed information on the motion a runner goes through. But I bet that a treadmill that could support me (220 lbs) running on it could easily support a 350 lb walker.

Now here's a thought about how to get by on a shoestring budget. Go to lots of garage sales and buy up their used exercise equipment. That stuff's so cheap that even if you break one every month, you'd have a long time to go before you'd spent as much as one new half decent treadmill will set you back.

01-06-2003, 09:07 PM
<small hijack>

Could someone please explain the appeal of treadmills?

Why do people pay money for a machine which lets them walk/run in place? If you have a warm (or even not-so-warm) place to put it, you already have enough floor space in which to excercise - and if you have a set of stairs, so much the better!

I walk to the park frequently - one route take me past a storefront Yoga place (ouch!, that looks painful, but if the mental portion is appealing, go for it) and a storefront "gym" (a counter which takes your money/checks your "membership" and a few treadmills and stationary weights) - there is usually one or two fools inside (on a warm, pleasant day) chugging away on a treadmill - 60 yds from Golden Gate Park! Miles of paths, gorgeous vegetation, etc, but they prefer to do their "walking" in a bare-walled box!

</small hijack>

01-06-2003, 09:30 PM
Golden Gate Park....I assume you don't live in a particularly cold place, do you?

Not only is a treadmill more climate-controlled, but when it's in your home you can do stuff like watch TV or read (most of the time in a gym, too). And you don't have to embarass yourself by being a fatty like me huffing away in a public place. And you can walk at 3AM without getting mugged. And when you're tired you can stop, you don't have to walk all the way back. And since you paid $$ it might guilt you into using it if it's staring you in the face every day. If you're using it in a gym then you can do a bunch of other exercises after walking. If you have a store-front gym without an indoor track, see above.

That answer your question, happyheathen?

01-06-2003, 09:33 PM
Originally posted by happyheathen
<small hijack>

Could someone please explain the appeal of treadmills?

I don't have a treadmill at home, but sometimes use one at my health club. Here's why:

1. When it's -20, I can't run outside.

2. When it's dark at 4:30, I can't run outside.

3. When it's icy, I can't run outside.

4. The treadmill allows me to go a measured distance, in a measured time.

5. A good treadmill will enable you to vary the angle (slope) at which you run or walk. So you can go slower but walk/run harder because of the slope.

6. You can get a heart rate measurement on a good treadmill.

7. On a very good treadmill, you can program it to go a certain distance or time and have it schedule AND vary the rate you walk/run. I wish I could remember the brand, but I used a treadmill in a hotel this year that would let you program all of this. (3 miles in 20 minutes, and it would vary the rate and slope depending on what level you chose. It's the closest I've ever come to trail running on a treadmill).

I only use treadmills from December to February, otherwise I run/walk trails.


01-06-2003, 09:36 PM
You didn't say how much you weigh, but I have seen 250 pound guys running on Lifecycle treadmills at my club. So even with a greater weight, while walking you would be generating less impact than a 250 pound person running. But those are pricey treadmills.

01-06-2003, 10:16 PM
I weigh almost 200 (not overweight, tall) and some treadmills I've been on will actually stop if I try to turn them up to a high rate of speed. The higher the speed is, the more your weight matters.

happyheathen, I too would much rather run outside on a gorgeous day, but the treadmill is not without its uses. For me they're especially helpful if you want to push yourself. If you turn that sucker up, you can't be lazy; that's how fast yer gonna go, or yer gonna get thrown into the wall!

Richard Pearse
01-06-2003, 10:40 PM
Also tread mills have some cushioning built in so they can be a bit easier on the knees.

01-06-2003, 10:56 PM
The idea is aerobic excercise, right? Why not put down a pad (say a collasped cardboard box from the grocery (which can be slid under the bed when not in use)) and jog in place? You are at home, it's warm, safe, and you can even watch TV! And the carpet and pad is easy on the knees. Variable resistance is functionally equivalent to variable rate/time, so no sale on that one.

And, given the frequency of re-sale/trashing home excercise equipment, the cost/guilt trip must not be not too effective.

If you are going to spend money for an excercise machine, try a rowing machine (which works both arms and legs) or at least a stationary bike (eliminates shock to the knees, etc.).

01-07-2003, 07:25 AM
I'm still in the process of deciding whether or not to buy a treadmill, so I just want to get my facts straight (and what better place to do that than the Dope?), so my thanks to you all!

Originally posted by alice_in_wonderland
If the weight limit is 300, and you weigh 350 the warranty is void.
OK, how did you know that?! :)

Originally posted by happyheathen
Could someone please explain the appeal of treadmills?

As ZipperJJ and whistlepig pointed out, we're not all blessed with Bay Area (or better) weather. The cold and ice here in MA pretty much precludes walking outside at times (or at least makes it more uncomfortable). There is a very nice state park nearby that I will certainly go to when weather permits.

Originally posted by happyheathen
If you are going to spend money for an excercise machine, try a rowing machine (which works both arms and legs) or at least a stationary bike (eliminates shock to the knees, etc.).
I would actually love to do either of these, but the repetitive bending motion required aggravates the chondromalacia in my knees. I had a recumbent stationary bicycle, but I recently gave it away for this reason.

01-07-2003, 11:01 AM
You still might consider getting an elliptical machine or a cross-trainer, both of which let you run with much less stress on your knees. They're not likely to be cheap, but either is definitely much more comfortable than your standard treadmill.

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