The Treadmill: A History

A treadmill can be looked at as an exercise machine that allows the user to stay in one place while still letting him or her walk or run. Traditionally, the word “treadmill” was utilized to refer to any kind of mill that was operated by either an individual or an animal that would tread the steps of a wheel for the purpose of grinding grain. A treadmill features a moving platform, a conveyor belt that is wide, and a flywheel or an electric motor. The conveyor belt moves to the rear, which permits someone to either run or walk an equal velocity. The speed that the belt moves is equal to the rate of one’s walking or running.

Agricultural Treadwheels

Some people may be confused between the concept of a treadmill and the concept of a treadwheel, but the two are distinct entities. On a treadmill, an individual runs or walks in place on the conveyor belt for the purpose of exercise. On the other hand, a treadwheel is best described as a kind of animal engine that is usually powered by people. A treadwheel might even resemble a water wheel in its appearance, and it can be operated in one of two ways. Paddles may be placed into the circumference of the treadwheel, and a person can tread these, or a person or even an animal can simply stand inside of the treadwheel and move within accordingly.

A treadwheel might be used in any of three different ways. It may be utilized for the purpose of grinding grain, powering cranes or raising some water. The ancient Romans and Greeks used the treadwheel widely, as in the device known as the reverse overshot waterwheel, which was incorporated for dewatering reasons. In Britain’s early Victorian era, the treadwheel was even utilized as a type of penal labor and used in prisons to punish the inmates. The use of the treadwheel also had underwater applications. For example, in 1851, a treadwheel was employed in a submarine for the purpose of making the submarine rise or dive, based on pumping air to alter the buoyancy.

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Institutional Treadmills

In a historical sense, treadmills were invented in order to try to reform prisoners, a practice that was established all the way back in 1817 by Sir William Cubitt. The invention of the treadmill for the purpose of use in prisons can be traced to an economic need. In England in the 19th century, many laborers found themselves out of a job after the Napoleonic Wars, and the country could not afford to allow convicts to take jobs away from English laborers. As a solution, Cubitt came up with institutional treadmills whose purpose it was to offer power to mills. The prisoners were forced to hang on to the bar and climb up the paddle blades, which made them constantly lift up their legs.

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Medical Treadmills

Treadmills also have had a medical use over the years. One of the first purposes for a medical treadmill was for diagnosing lung and heart conditions, and it came into being after being invented by Wayne Quinton and Doctor Robert Bruce in 1952 at the University of Washington. When Doctor Kenneth Cooper’s study on the advantages of aerobic exercise was finally published in 1968, that justified the medical argument to apply treadmills for the home. In the present day, many medical outlets have treadmills. Places such as rehabilitation centers, hospitals, physiotherapy clinics, medical clinics and universities all feature treadmills for medical purposes.

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Fitness Treadmills

The treadmill is a great exercise device for an aerobic workout because of the walking and running that it encourages. The treadmill, as a result, raises one’s pulse rate, breathing rate and heartbeat. Most of the fitness treadmills on the marketplace feature something called a “cardio mode,” which is a mode that sets out a target heart rate. The treadmill then controls the speed automatically until an individual reaches the so-called “heart rate steady state.” For bigger or heavier persons, such as athletes, treadmills are also available in greater sizes.

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Best Treadmill

The treadmill is not an old invention, but in its 150-plus year history, it has been used for a broad range of applications. It was originally intended to be used in prisons to punish inmates in the 19th century. Then, as time wore on, the treadmill adapted more widely beneficial uses for the greater public. It was used as a medical device and fitness device that people could use right from the comfort of their own homes to stay in shape.

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Amanda Brooks
Amanda Brooks
Running Guru