The History of Treadmills

The History of Treadmills

You must be familiar with the treadmill exercise machine. The darling of home
and public gyms alike, treadmills are a popular and ever-present part of the
fitness landscape. But where did the treadmill originate? And how did it come to
be so popular and effective among fitness buffs and ordinary folks alike?

It all began with fitness equipment. Physicians, physical fitness instructors
and personal trainers have been chanting the same mantras for years: “Get in
shape!” Exercise can help you burn fat, increase circulation, build healthy
bones, create stronger muscles, increase self-confidence, fight high cholesterol
and many, many more benefits. With higher importance being placed on getting in
shape, the demand for fitness equipment grew. Fitness buffs needed a machine
that could give them the workout they were searching for—with additional perks,
such as heart rate monitors, calorie counters and more to help them work out
smarter, not harder.

Along came the treadmill. The treadmill was actually invented in 1875 and its
original purpose was for power, not fitness. Agricultural farmers, needing
additional power sources on their farms, used a small manual treadmill run by
dogs and sheep for butter churners, while a larger one run by horses for power
threshing machines.

The year 1952 ushered in cardiologist Robert Bruce and staffer Wayne Quinton.
They bring the first medical treadmill on the market to test and diagnose heart
and lung disease. Quinton later sells his concepts to Stairmaster (later bought
by Nautilus).

With the design of the medical treadmill comes the easy transition to the
fitness machine. Fitness enthusiasts and beginners alike demanded a better,
smoother machine for their daily workouts. Aerobics, Inc., for example, began
production of smooth, affordable treadmills in the late 1960s and now
manufactures an award-winning Pro Series with top technology and automated
controls. Trackmaster models in 1978 are known for their very tough, very
durable machines that set the standard in gym models today.

The addition of the treadmill motor revolutionized the fitness machine.
Motorized treadmills give the user a superior workout compared to the manual
models. The addition of the motor can give a runner, jogger or walker the
encouraging component they need to take that next step…and next step…and next
step. Add the cushioning belt originally seen with the Woodway models in 1974
and you can see a rough version of our current-day fitness phenomena.

Technology has given modern-day fitness
an additional boost. Heart rate monitors on advanced models help
the user maintain a steady heart rate for optimal fitness workouts. When a user
indicates that he or she wants to maintain a specific heart rate, superior
machines will adjust speed and incline to keep it steady. With the technology
also comes the speed, overall distance covered, incline and time elapsed. These
technology monitors not only are informative, they often work as intense
motivation as the users run, walk or jog to their ultimate exercise goals.

Home treadmills have become a popular way for people to get in shape in the
privacy and comfort of their own homes. Gym treadmills tend to be more durable
and reliable than home versions. Due to the high number of people using the
machines, gym models have to be able to withstand many workouts. They offer a
range of superior, top-of-the-line features, while home versions can be more
reduced to give the home buyer a more affordable option. Gym versions are more
expensive, often rust-free aluminum frames and fully programmable. They should
also specialize in absorbing shock.

From its humble agricultural beginnings to its powerful presence in the fitness
world today, the treadmill has come a long way. Today, rather than working dogs,
sheep and horses, the treadmill works humans—helping them get one step further
to their personal fitness goals. If you’re interested in the fitness industry
and treadmills in general, learning more about this machine can enhance your
personal workout and fitness lifestyle.

About the Author: Jennifer Dennis is a successful author and regular
contributor to - a fitness and treadmill industry resource that features treadmill reviews,
guides, product descriptions and articles.

About the Author

About the Author: Jennifer Dennis is a successful author and regular
contributor to - a fitness and treadmill industry resource that features treadmill reviews,
guides, product descriptions and articles.

Jennifer Dennis