A walkpad is like a compact cousin to the treadmill. Do not be fooled by its size though, this little machine packs a punch! In this post, we are going to look at the benefits of working out with a walkpad and why you might choose one over a treadmill. As always, our aim is to provide you with the facts, so that you can make an informed choice as to whether this machine is suitable for your needs.
What is a walkpad?
A walkpad is a pared-down version of a treadmill. It is made up of a rectangular base with a moving surface. It does not have the fixed handrails or control pad that you would have on a treadmill; although, some models have detachable rail guards that you can choose to use. The speed of the base is controlled by a handheld remote.
Can I run on a walkpad?
Whether or not you can run on a walkpad depends on the model you buy. The cheaper models tend to be exclusively for walking. The reason for this is that these models are often lighter, making them less secure under the pressure of a pounding runner. Prior to buying a walkpad, it is important to check the top speed and weight limit to ensure that it will be suitable for your needs.
Why choose a walkpad?
One of the main reasons to opt for a walkpad over a traditional treadmill is the compact nature of the machine. Not only is it free from a bulky frame, but a walkpad can also actually be folded up and stored in a cupboard or under a bed when not in use. This is really easy to do too. When you want to use the machine, you simply fold it out and tighten the screw handles to keep it secure while in use. Then, when you are done, you simply loosen the screws and fold the walkpad back up. This makes the walkpad ideal for anyone who is tight on space, such as people who live in house shares.
Are they safe?
As already mentioned, an important factor in using a walkpad safely is not to go above the recommended speed. If you stay within this then the machine will remain secure. Walkpads also come with an emergency stop feature built into the remote and some also have physical cords that can be affixed to your person while you use it, so the machine will automatically stop if you lose your footing.
Do I need to use the handrail?
Some models come with a detachable safety handrail. It is up to you whether you want to use this. If you are walking at a reasonable pace, then it is unlikely that you are going to suddenly lose your balance. For faster speeds, while it is still unlikely that you will spontaneously fall over, having the handrail there can be useful if you are adjusting the speed and go a bit too high or if you get distracted for any reason.
It is really a matter of personal choice whether you use the handrail. We like to use it because most machines have designed it to hold a phone or a tablet, so it keeps your device handy or allows you to watch a show while working out.
Walkpads and standing desks
Another edge that a walkpad has over a treadmill is that it can be placed under a standing desk so you can walk while you work. Running or jogging would not be possible – how could you concentrate through all that jostling? – but you can maintain a decent walking pace and still be able to do some office tasks. In our own experience, typing or reading can be a bit difficult, but it is perfect for video meetings and a great way to get your steps in during the workday.
Walkpads are often rechargeable. This makes them even more convenient because your exercise space is not tied to the availability of a power socket. If, for example, you want to watch tv, you can place the walkpad wherever gives you the best view.
Not only are walkpads a more convenient option than the traditional treadmill, but they typically cost less to buy. Okay, the cheaper models will not offer the same features as the cheaper treadmills (i.e. you will have to sacrifice some speed). However, if your reason for wanting a walkpad is to get more walking exercise or to combine it with a standing desk, then they deliver exactly what you need without any frills.
The dog can use it too!
Weirdly but wonderfully, you can train your dog to use a walkpad too. It is totally safe for them to use because the slim base seals up the movement mechanism, so your dog cannot get stuck or sucked into it. This can be really handy if you have a big dog that needs a lot of exercises or if you do not have a garden to let your dog out to play in.