We’ve chosen 5 of the best treadmills for seniors but have looked at them from differing perspectives. We have picked out some specific criteria for what an older person, like myself, would be looking for when choosing a treadmill in 2021.
Treadmills reviewed below
Our all-round best choice was the Horizon Fitness T 101 Treadmill although for the less mobile and maybe the frailer we felt the Exerpeutic TF200 Recovery Walking was the most suitable treadmill.
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The 5 treadmill reviews are…
- Horizon Fitness T 101 Treadmill Best overall
- Sunny Health & Fitness T7643 Best Value
- Sole F63 Treadmill Most solid
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7718 Best compact
- Exerpeutic TF200 Recovery Walking Best for recovery
Best Treadmills For Seniors – The Reviews
Horizon Fitness T 101-5 Treadmill – Best Overall
This Horizon model of treadmill has the maker’s proprietary cushioning system, a 3-zone ‘variable response cushioning’ deck which gives a smooth quiet and comfortable walk or jog powered by a 2.5 motor for a maximum speed of 10 mph. That’s plenty fast enough even for the serious pounding runner.
Horizon hasn’t got carried away with the features and I wouldn’t buy it for that but it does support Bluetooth connectivity with integrated speakers, device holders and a USB port.
There are 9 preset exercise programs. The screen is nicely backlit with handy one-touch speed, incline and program buttons. It shows all the normal stats like time, distance, heart rate, speed, etc. There is a safety shut-off key.
The belt is a good width 20 x 55”. There is a powered incline feature which goes to 10% – plenty in my view.
The treadmill appears sturdy enough although lighter than many at 180 lbs assembled but comes with another trademarked ‘design for’ Horizon features, ‘featherlight folding’ which is a nifty way that the treadmill folds up and unfolds – really very good.
It has parred down flashy bits like a touch screen but if you can get hold of this treadmill we think it’s great value.
It’s sturdy with a safe feel when in action, perfect for anybody in mid-years who may have some apprehension about walking or running on a home treadmill.
And even if you’re an experienced runner and quite familiar with treadmill running the Horizon 101 should meet your needs.
- Comfortable padded handles
- Quiet belt and motor
- Lifetime warranty on frame & motor (2-year parts & labor)
- 9 built-in programs
- Folding device is really safe and easy
- Quite lightweight & mobile and easy-ish to assemble
- Great value
- It’s not a biggie but I hate the blue panels either side of and on top of the console – unnecessary.
- Not integrated with some (Horizons) apps
Sunny Health & Fitness T7643 Treadmill – Best Value
This is a very sturdy no-nonsense and no-frills treadmill that has a weight capacity of 350 lbs.
Mainly a treadmill for walking, it can still get up to 6 mph which if you think 4 mph is a very brisk walk the top speed is a good jog.
It is a very clear and bright panel for those of us that sometimes have to squint to see readouts which displays the usual statistics speed, time, distance and calories burned.
The belt is quite wide at 19.5” although the length is just 43” which is fine for what we want from this treadmill which is predominantly walking or light jogging.
There is good shock absorption in the deck although there is a permanent incline at about 2-3%.
Some treadmill users found that an issue but jacking the back end slightly would fix that.
The transport wheels, relatively light frame and soft drop hydraulic mechanism make it easily maneuverable.
As I said no frills but there is a bottle holder and a place for your tablet.
- Solid treadmill
- Folding for easy storage
- Maximum weight 350 lbs
- Big buttons, big handrails
- Safety stop
- Frame warranty 3 years (parts & labor 3 months)
- Comes on a slight incline
- No heart rate monitor
Sole F63 Treadmill – Most Solid
Sole’s ‘cushion flex whisper deck’ proprietary belt and running area is quiet, smooth and provides a lot of cushioning even for running. According to Sole’s own figures, not something easy to test – impact compared to running on an outdoor surface is reduced by 40%.
It is a heavy duty machine and I mean heavy, about 250 lbs assembled. It has a 3.0 continuous HP motor – plenty big enough and although it might not be an essential feature for the treadmills we’re looking for it provides speeds from 1 to 12 mph and powered inclines up to 12%.
This treadmill has got some bells and whistles like Bluetooth audio speakers and a tablet holder for reducing the boredom factor of your workout plus a USB port for charging devices. Having said that there are no memberships to register for.
It also has 6 preset programs that include sessions for cardio and fat burning.
The nice feature is the console as is a bright blue with a simple output that displays speed, distance, calories, pulse, pace, time and incline.
The speed and incline controls are nicely set out on the armrests. Large stop switch.
Lifetime warranty on the frame and motor, 3 years on the deck and 1 year parts & labor.
And when not in use, the treadmill deck is power-assisted folds into place but it is a big machine and doesn’t hide away in the corner very easily.
- Good walking/running area 20 x 60”
- Smooth, quiet, cushioned deck
- Maximum weight 325 lbs
- Very sturdy
- Lifetime warranty (frame & motor)
- Heart rate monitor (compatible with included chest strap)
- Clear backlit display
- Difficult assembly
- Heavy when assembled
- Not very “stowable”
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7718 – Most Compact
There is another model of treadmill from Sunny Health & Fitness which is sooo sleek – I love it. It folds away very compact but the weight maximum is 250 lbs so if you’re short on weight and short on space then this treadmill is a good choice.
I would say it’s probably the best small treadmill for seniors.
The SF-T7718 has other benefits that we’re looking for such as wide belt (20”), safety clip, good large readout and quiet, cushioned deck but the main feature is that it folds flat and therefore arrives without any assembly required.
Speed ranges from .06 to 9 mph with 9 selectable programs but no incline feature.
It has a few other bits and pieces like speakers, USB port and device holders.
- Folds flat
- Light compact design 63 x 48 x 29.5 inches ; 117 lbs assembled
- Comes assembled
- Safety clip
- Clear readout
- No incline
- Weight max only 250 lbs
- Stats aren’t displayed all at once
This walking treadmill is one of those products that simply does what it says in the tin. The Exerpeutic treadmill with full length (49”) rails is specially designed for those seniors who want safety, security and ease of use while walking, those who are in recovery or anyone unfortunate to have difficulty with mobility.
Although it is designed as a walking treadmill it has an upper limit of 5 mph starting at 0.2 MPH and adjusts in increments of 1/10’s mph. There is no incline feature and the treadmill belt size is 50” L x 16” W.
This treadmill has long handrails that have foam padding providing safety and stability while walking and can be reversed for differing grips sizes. They can be angled inwards and are 17.5” apart or outwards, 27” apart.
A highly visual backlit LCD display shows time, speed, distance, calories burned, and pulse. There is also a heart rate monitor
The weight capacity is 300 lbs and there are 10 shock absorbing deck cushions to absolutely minimize the impact on joints.
1.5 hp motor with “Quiet Drive” which reduces any noise when walking. The experience is quiet.
For safety features, there is a safety clip and a stop button is included for emergency stops. There is also a bright dashed line running the length of the belt to show it’s moving or not. An extra-wide midsection rail allows for resting between walking sessions.
Note: make sure the safety clip is not tethered to the user with too much cord.
4 Adjustable stabilizers for leveling the deck. These could be adjusted to provide a small incline or decline.
Dimensions: 61.5”L x 30”W x 15.5”H; Lower deck height 5”; Assembled weight: 135.6 lbs.
Warranty is 3 years for the frame, 5 for the motor and 90 days for parts.
- This treadmill is ideal for elders who need safety while exercising or those having problems with balance
- Full-length handrails (reversible)
- Good safety features
- Well made treadmill
- Easy assembly although 2 people would be best
- Doesn’t fold away
- Belt could be a tad wider
Assumptions About The ‘Seniors’ in Best Treadmill For Seniors
I’ve made some ‘executive’ decisions on what is the ‘best treadmill for seniors’ based on the fact that I am an older person myself and although I won’t be typical in every way I will make some assumptions about what qualities we would like when buying a treadmill.
For instance, I like many of us have accumulated more pounds than I had or would like to have. So the treadmills we have listed have a higher than average maximum weight limit.
I’m also guessing that not many of us are sprinting much these days either. As you get older you lose those fast-twitch muscles and the elasticity of them, therefore, I have not chosen a treadmill particularly for its maximum speed. Is anyone here running 5-minute miles anymore?
I’m also less worried about the walking/running length of the treadmill’s belt but a little more about its width. The stride length just isn’t there.
A treadmill with a wide belt is helpful for older people with stability issues as is long firm handles. As is an emergency stop mechanism, preferably a button and clip that is attached to the user.
I’ve gone into more detail below. You see I’ve tried to accommodate reasonably fit older people, I like to consider myself one, as well as older people that, no doubt, we’re all destined to become. Yes, more frail, less good on our feet. That being said using a treadmill at home whether walking or running is darn good for your health.
Especially for those of us with dodgy joints (technical term), certain exercise machines are great for easily getting our much-needed workout sessions done. To that end, we have produced a guide (that we’ll continue updating) to the best low impact cardio machines.
Treadmills and Fitness
Sometimes it happens that when retired, without thinking, life becomes much more sedentary which means it’s even more important for us older folk to make an effort to keep moving. It’s an old adage but true, if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.
There is little doubt about the advantages of doing some form of cardio workout for as long as you can, always with the go-ahead of your medical professional of course.
Older men and women can get significant health benefits with even with a modest amount of physical activity such as walking. Mix that up with short sessions of more vigorous exercise like walking uphill, faster or jogging for increased health rewards.
Advantages of Using a Treadmill
Having a home treadmill is a great way for everyone to get easy access to cardiorespiratory health benefits but especially so for older people as you can avoid visits to the gym.
You may not like gym environments, you may not be able to get to one easily, their equipment is not suitable, for whatever reason one thing is for sure you can exercise at home irrespective of the weather conditions.
Get the right treadmill for you and it’ll provide a lower impact on the body either walking or running. A good quality surface will provide cushioning to protect those aging joints especially the hip, knee and ankle.
Treadmills will often have an incline feature which will give that extra dimension to your cardio session making you puff but delivering even less of an impact on the joints.
Treadmills have variable speeds that you can set and once set give you a consistent pace.
One of the things I love about regularly using the treadmill is that you can track your progress. Being able to monitor your improvements is important for motivation. I probably do what you’re not supposed to do and weigh myself when I finish my session – well it all helps with keeping it up.
If a first time user, it’s necessary to get accustomed to the rhythm and sensation of walking or running on the treadmill without holding on to the handles.
Then you can watch your favorite box set on the tv.
Negatives to Treadmill Walking/Running
None really that outweigh the benefits but just some words of caution.
The confined and fixed position and pace of the inexperienced walker but runner especially might cause a feeling of instability at first.
There are safety issues to consider but we’ll do with those later.
Although many treadmills fold up and we’ve included some that do. they are pretty big so make where you want it and the machine’s footprint.
Compared to the outdoors’ sites, sounds and smells, running or walking on a treadmill can seem a bit boring but fortunately, there are loads of distractions that can even help make the miles go quicker – that’s a positive then right?
The faster you go the more impact there’ll be on the body. This wears down the cartilage that protects the joints eventually. Indoor cycling is another good option and one which has less impact on the skeletal system.
So when taking fitness seriously in midlife an exercise bike is worth considering in fact it’s probably the most popular indoor exercise for the more. We have looked at a number of different types of recumbent bikes for older folk.
What to look for when buying a treadmill
We’ve put together an extensive list of what to look for when choosing a treadmill. Generally the more important the topic for choosing the right treadmill for seniors the higher up we’ve put it.
We understand the treadmill could be in a household used by a number of people. All but one treadmill reviewed is suitable across the board.
- Cushioning – The belt and mechanism it rotates around should provide plenty of cushioning and ‘give’ which will lessen the impact on the joints by up to 40%
- Safety & Stability – The handrails should by firm and long. At least one mechanism should be provided like an emergency stop button and/or a clip – a key is inserted into the machine on a cord which is then clipped to the user. The runner goes too far back and the key is pulled out stopping the treadmill
- Maximum weight – Treadmill comes with specs that have tested for a maximum user’s weight – we’ve included over average weights over 225.
- Size of the belt – We believe treadmills for older folk don’t need a huge belt in length, 50”+, however, it shouldn’t be narrow so anything like 20” and above is good.
- Customer service and support – Treadmills aren’t cheap although we haven’t selected the expensive “bells and whistles” ones so getting support from the company responsible is important. We have discounted some treadmills because of very poor support. Because of the size of the item, there are also delivery issues to consider.
- Big readable screen – If you’re like me the reading glasses are off and on. I don’t wear them whilst exercising so I want to be able to see the screen properly. You do actually get to know where everything is on the screen after a while.
- Heart rate monitor – Doctors often advise their older patients to run at a certain heart rate so it’s nice to have an accurate heart rate monitor as a fixture on the machine. I do find a lot of the sensors you grip on the handlebars are not accurate though.
- Incline feature – Some treadmills come with an option to elevate the front manually or automatically. I think it’s a nice feature for older treadmill users as it provides a more intense workout with a decrease in the impact of joints
- Durability – Important to everybody I know but hey it can really be stressful for us older mortals. There were warranties of less than a year in some cases which were cause for them not to make our list.
- Value for money – We’re going with the machine’s basic qualities rather than how many fitness apps it can connect to. Having said that many are quite feature-rich.
These are less important, aren’t age-dependent or are features that are available
- Folding saving space – Some machines fold down and can save on space. The good quality ones will have a safety feature that allows the machine to fold down in a controlled way slowly, under power.
- Noise level – Yes, the quieter the better.
- Motor power – No need for a particularly powerful motor for what we want.
- Multiple workout programs – 3 or more is fine. Some have upwards of 25.
- Technology & extras –
- TV Screen
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Cooling fans
- Water and device holders
How to Walk / Run on a Treadmill
If you’re new to treadmill use. First of all, make sure the belt is not moving then step astride it with one foot on rail. If the treadmill has a safety clip and key, attach it to part of your clothing in the front so it stays out of the way of the arms.
Hands on the rails as you step onto the belt surface and start increasing the speed to a bare minimum – 1 mph. When you feel comfortable with the movement, take your hands away from the rails and walk as you would normally with a slight swing of the arms and head pointing straight ahead.
Stay forward in easy reaching distance from the handles and start increasing the speed slowly and in stages, getting used to the extra speed at each step.
It’s safest when finishing, to hit the stop button or slow down to zero mph.
Getting the Most out of Your Treadmill
Prepare your body for the treadmill with a warm up which increases your heart rate to get the oxygenated blood coursing through the veins. This will make your efforts more efficient and help avoid muscle problems. 5 minutes at a slower pace than what you’re about to unleash.
Running or walking on a treadmill at the same intensity, like other exercises mean that your muscles of locomotion get used to the workout so for more effectiveness have session varying the speed, the incline and the time spent on the treadmill.
Additionally, use whatever programs come with the treadmill. This will also lessen the boredom factor of working out on a treadmill.
Don’t hold on to the handrails whilst walking or running on the treadmill. Use your arm movement as momentum.
For an additional intensity to your workout hold weights while walking or running or wear a weighted vest. With weights have the arms at around 90 degrees.
Take shorter steps especially when walking avoiding the belt movement doing some of the work for you.
Don’t lean forward or look down. An unnatural walking or running posture may cause problems with neck, back or elsewhere. Keep your stride natural with the body over the feet. Use peripheral vision to view the console.
A lot of the treadmills readouts won’t be accurate but you can use them as relative statistics to verify your progress. A wearable heart rate monitor will be more accurate and you won’t need to find and grip the sensors.
Have the water bottle close by.
End each session with a cool down. 5 minutes at a slower rate. Then off the treadmill stretch out all those major groups of muscles.
For a sturdy, all-round quality made treadmill with just enough features not to get bored but the emphasis more on the smooth, cushioned walking/running experience even for bigger old men and women we couldn’t go past the Horizon Fitness T 101 Treadmill.
That is for the relatively more active senior with scope for improvement in speed and exercise intensity but for the very much less active the Exerpeutic TF2000 Recovery Fitness Walking Treadmill has it a lot going for it in safety features and solid build.