The LCD Display – An Essential Treadmill Component
Even the most basic treadmills feature some kind of LCD display that’s designed to track vital information about your workout. How much detail’s included in these displays can vary quite widely, and the nature of how the information is displayed can vary as well. Each manufacturer does things just a little bit differently, so if tracking your workout information is important to you it will pay to do your homework before purchasing a treadmill.
In fact, some machines have actually replaced LCD displays with high-tech HD screens that are capable of displaying a lot more information than just your basic vitals. As you might have guessed, these more sophisticated displays are generally found on the more expensive models of treadmills. Personally, I love the bells and whistles, so the more information and tools my treadmill screen can provide me the better. If you only care about the workout itself and nothing else, the type of screen your machine has will be of very little importance.
A Healthy Heart
Perhaps one of the most important things an LCD screen will display is your heart rate. Most machines have some way of measuring your heart rate, either by placing your thumb, or thumbs, on sensors, or by using a wireless belt that measures the beats per minute and then displays this information on the screen in front of you.
The type of workout you’re participating in will determine what your maximum heart rate should be. The better machines include static charts next to your LCD display, to be used as guidelines for what you should be targeting as your maximum heart rate. The target heart rate for a fat-burning workout will be lower than the target heart rate for a high-intensity cardio workout. If the machine you’re looking at does not include a way of measuring your heart rate, it’s most likely one of the least expensive treadmills on the market and you should be wary about buying such a machine.
Large Easy to Read LCD Screen
Crank up the Speed
Another important function of the LCD display is to help you track your current speed. If you’re more concerned with simply getting a good workout that feels like it’s pushing your body to its limits, you may not be too worried about the speed you’re traveling. If that’s how you look at things it’s okay, but the reason I like a display that allows me to track my speed is because it’s a way of measuring progress. If in the first couple of weeks I can only manage a pace of about 4 mph, I can then aim to increase this over the next couple of weeks as a sign of improvement. I’m a firm believer that having goals helps to keep you motivated and that’s why I believe speed is an important item to track.
Going the Distance
An alternative way of tracking the progress of your workout is to track the distance you travel during a workout. Perhaps in the first month of using the treadmill you’ll only be able to push yourself to a maximum of 2 miles a day – that’s a good start, but if you want to stay motivated and increase your health you’ll want to increase this over time. Imagine the feeling if after three months you find you’re now up to 5 miles a day – you’re bound to be happy with your progress and this will help to keep you motivated.
Ticking Away . . .
We all lead busy lives, so in many instances we only have a set period of time put aside for our workouts. Almost all treadmills have some way of tracking the elapsed time of your workout on an LCD display. This may be as simple as hitting the start button and watching the time tick away as you walk on the treadmill, but on some more sophisticated machines you’ll be able to separate your workout into different periods of alternating fast-paced and slower-paced intervals, which can dramatically increase the intensity of your workout. There aren’t too many people that aren’t interested in tracking the elapsed time of their workout, so this feature is pretty much a must-have for a treadmill LCD display.
The items we discussed above have almost become essential components of any treadmill; even the most basic treadmills include them. One of the things that separates the upper-echelon treadmills from their low-cost counterparts is the extra functionality of their displays. These screens are often much more than just an LCD display – in fact in many cases they’re Mini HD screens.
These more-advanced machines often use their displays to allow Wi-Fi connectivity with workout apps that allow you to save your workout statistics to view later so you can track your progress. Some even include screens that display virtual workouts through rugged outdoor scenery or your favorite urban environments to keep your workout more interesting. As we’ve suggested above, sometimes you need a little extra motivation; being able to run through the streets of London or through the Grand Canyon may be just the extra motivation you’re looking for.
That Little Screen Is Vital
It amazes me, the various aspects that you need to consider when buying a treadmill. I never thought that little LCD screen was such an important component, but now I know it is. There’s certainly a lot of variety out there; how much information you need on that little screen is really up to you, but if you want to stay motivated I suggest you look for a machine with a display that at the very least tracks your heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled, and the elapsed time of your workout.