I can honestly say I never thought I would own a treadmill. I do enjoy running and long walks, but I have a membership to my local gym and love getting outside when I can. So, what could I possibly gain by owning a treadmill? Although it's no secret that spending time in gyms comes with a few more risks and a lot more caution these days (thanks, COVID), that in itself still didn’t convince me I should get a treadmill.
Since working here at Well+Good, I have constant visibility into the world of fitness—new trends, studies, products, and findings. It was actually two realizations prompted by workplace discussions that led me to finally getting an at-home treadmill.
Reason 1: The stats on our smartphones are actually pretty accurate these days. While in some cases how well our phones understand us can be a bit off-putting, when it comes to exercise, the daily metrics and trends they record can be useful. Knowing that average treadmill stats apart from distance are notoriously inaccurate, when I saw that the new Horizon Fitness Studio Series treadmills were designed to be fitness app-compatible and Bluetooth-enabled, it made the idea of an at-home treadmill that much more appealing.
Reason 2: I sometimes get joint pain. My pain is usually the worst in my knees, which is not uncommon after many years of leisurely running. In a conversation with a coworker, I learned that running on treadmills can actually be better for your joints than road running. A 2019 study found that, “in terms of joint kinematics, treadmill exercise can provide smoother joint motions.” Again, I’m interested.
With these two findings in mind, I decided to try an at-home treadmill. I received the Horizon Fitness 7.0 AT Treadmill several weeks later.
Some handy perks of this machine: The handles each have quick-response dials for changing speed and resistance, rather than buttons. There’s a USB port right at the front console for charging your devices, especially important if using them to guide your workouts. And finally, it has a simple hydraulic lift for storing in an upright position if you are worried about space.
The treadmill itself arrives in a large, heavy box. You can choose different levels of delivery service, so if you need help getting the box up or down stairs, or want it completely assembled for you, that is an option. I, however, got the box delivered and began putting it together myself by following the instructions and using the tools provided. All in all, it was fairly straightforward. Plus, there are some video guides on the internet if you get stuck.
What actually sold me
Now on to the part that sold me on Horizon's Studio Series over other at-home options. This specific treadmill is described as being “engineered for fitness apps,” so I wanted to see if it lived up to that description. First, I had to download an app that is compatible with both tablets and phones. From there, upon turning the treadmill on, it automatically begins to pair with my device. Easy!
The next step is adding users to the app. You can add up to five users to easily store workout info and personal stats. Each user can also sync with a fitness app you might already use such as My Fitness Pal or Map My Fitness. By adding in personal info and syncing up your phone, you allow the treadmill programs to become "smarter" and deliver more accurate progress metrics when using the machine.
After setup, there are a number of programs within the app that the treadmill is already programmed for such as Hill Climb or My First 5k, as well as the option to just run or design a custom workout. Then, you can get started. Put your device away if you prefer to zone-out while exercising, or leave the app open for real-time reporting right in front of you. You can also start, stop, and adjust the machine either from the controls on the machine itself or right from the app.
On top of all of this, the machine is also Bluetooth-enabled, so you can listen to your workout class through the machine itself if you're tuning into a class on popular apps such as Zwift, Nike Running Club or Peloton. And I will admit, the sound quality is surprisingly good. When your workout is done, the app will store the workout if you choose for it to.
And now, what you all have been waiting for (maybe): How do my knees feel? Honestly, great. When road running, I try to make an effort to avoid running multiple days back-to-back to avoid joint pain. However, after running (and some walking) multiple days in a row on my new Horizon Fitness treadmill in the spirit of providing the best review possible, I haven’t felt the same stiffness I often do.
It’s worth it. Even if I only use the treadmill once or twice a week (while the weather is nice right now), on a rainy day, when it gets too hot, or in the dreary winter months, I am SO excited to have this machine. To be able to quickly pivot to a treadmill workout while keeping accurate stats all in one place and not feel joint pain the next day is absolutely worth the investment in my opinion. The model I reviewed also starts at just $999 (a great price compared to many on the market) and offers payment plans. And finally, if you still aren’t sure, keep in mind Horizon Fitness offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Note: It took several weeks due to some global supply chain issues. While of course a long wait is not ideal, I did get updated tracking and could call to check on the status of my order. Further, when I began building my treadmill and a piece was broken, I had replacement pieces and a mechanic at my home within days.
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