Pros: Price, Cushioned Platform for lower impact. Comfort.
Cons: Low(er) end of the market may not last forever.
Ten days ago we purchased the PRO-FORM 740CS treadmill from Sears. The end of November I had reconstructive surgery on both of my hips.
Following eight weeks of physical therapy at home my surgeon gave me instructions to begin intensive out patient physical therapy three times a week. He also wanted me to walk everyday. This is not easily accomplished in Connecticut during the winter especially since I am still using crutches. Funny man - what a sense of humor I thought.
On my second or third visit to out patient physical therapy I used a treadmill for the first time. I really loved it. I chattered away about how neat it was to my husband. We found ourselves window shopping for one while out buying some backpacking equipment
There we discovered our treadmill at Sears. We had to go there to pick up some Potassium for our full house water softener and walked through their fitness area.
We tried a few treadmills and decided upon the PRO-FORM 740CS. The PRO-FORM 740CS was on sale for $599.00 from the regular price of $799.99. Knowing Sears this sale is probably offered once a month on a regular basis. We purchased a mat to use under the PRO-FORM 740CS. This rubber mat both protects the floor and helps to muffle the noise of the exercise equipment. We seem to have misplaced the receipt for that item so I am not sure of the exact price. I believe it cost about $30.00. We also purchased a three year extended service and warranty plan. While we usually don't purchase such a plan we felt with the use the treadmill would get that it might be a good idea. Total cost walking out the door for our PRO-FORM 740CS, the protective floor mat and the extended warranty plan was $826.77 (including 6% CT sales tax).
We own an extended length Caravan so we usually opt to bring home our purchases rather than have them delivered. While the box is huge - almost as big as a refrigerator box it did fit laying down in the back of the van. We did remove both the middle are rear seats to accommodate it. The weight of this is close to 200 pounds so if you are a small person or not particularly strong don't try to move this on your own. My husband had no trouble getting it into our house with the use of a hand truck. The instructions were very simple. Assembly took less than thirty minutes.
The appearance is the same as the treadmill in the photo except the bowed rails which support the console are light gray. One feature of the treadmill that I liked is the Cushioned Walking Platform. My physical therapist told us that using a treadmill is much better on your joints than walking on the side of the road or sidewalk. I actually knew that having grown up with race horses but my husband did not realize that until she told us. By the combination of good walking sneakers, using a treadmill and using this treadmill with the cushioning I will prolong the life of my joint replacements. My husband and sons will also preserve their joints.
To the front of the treadmill are two supports that rise up to about waist level on an adult. The handrails and electronic console are attached to this. The handrails are sturdy enough to help support me while walking. Keeping in mind that I am still on crutches you will know I must need something to steady me while walking. The handrails are also long enough for me to stand back from the console hold and take long striding steps. I also use the handrails to support me while doing so stretching and strengthening exercises. I also use the handrails to aide me in stepping onto and off of the treadmill.
The console has several features. It offers a Book Holder so you can read while walking. To the left of the book holder there is a Water Bottle Holder. While I tried out the Book Holder and find it useful I do not care for the Water Bottle Holder. It is placed at an odd angle - almost horizontal and not very deep. We don't own a short enough water bottle that we could stick in there. A tall bottle would fall out. I guess I'll have to go shopping for a special size bottle...
Other features on the console are the electronics'. Lets start with turning the treadmill on. After you plug the treadmill into the wall you will need to look for the on/off switch on the front/bottom/right on the machine. Flip the switch into the on mode. Next stand on your treadmill facing the console. Place your feet on either side of the belt onto the Foot Rails. You will need to use your plastic key to get the belt moving. We keep our looped onto the center bar while not in use. Use clip on one end of the key string and attach it to your shorts or shirt. If you should fall the string should pull the key out of the treadmill - that will stop the treadmill immediately. Nice safely device!
Once your key is in place you will want to select your mode. There are six Programs which you can choose. There are instructions for using them in your owners manual and on the ifit.com website. Basically what the Programs do is add automatic variety to your workout. The platform of this treadmill has an incline range of 1-10%. Maximum speed is 10 mph.
With the workout programs both the incline and speed change automatically. A "beep" will sound first so you can be ready for a change of pace and not trip. It took a couple of runs on the treadmill for him to get used to it. Now he is in the process of checking out the various workouts - they vary in length from 10-40 minutes. My husband did suffer some joint pain while running on the street. He said now his runs are pain free. Our oldest son is using one of the harder programs along with his dad as they are in training to backpack the Grand Canyon rim to rim.
The PRO-FORM 740CS comes with "interactive technology". This means you can attach an included audio cable to your computer or stereo and play two different programs. The CD also includes "high energy music. If you connect to your computer you can use more programs from the ifit.com website. You can also hook the treadmill up to your TV and VCR and purchase workout tapes from ifit.com to exercise with. Personally the programs that came with the treadmill and a Walkman are all we have been using...
Our younger sons and I use the treadmill set Manually at a maximum of 2mph. The instructions say not for use of anyone under 12. My pediatrician and physical therapist both said it is fine for them - great exercise. :smile: I like it because they want to exercise. It also helps them burn off some pent up energy that comes along with all the snow and ice we've had. I have worked up from :chuckle: the snail pace of .06mph to the turtles pace of 1.2 mph while walking. As long as I keep improving speed and duration I will be happy. The Manual Mode is very simple to set. Push start and it will begin on 1mph. I use the down arrow to lower the speed until I've take a couple of steps then I use the up arrow to increase speed.
There are a variety of helpful displays to use. There is an Incline display where you can adjust the incline manually. You will notice an oval shaped LED Track which will help you monitor the distance you have gone. One lap equals 1/4 of a mile. The DISTANCE/LAPS Display Shows you the distance you have completed. It will alternate between showing you the distance and number of laps completed. You will see a TIME Display that will show time remaining in the program and flash alternately with time remaining in a particular segment when using a Training Program. When used in the manual mode it will show you the elapsed time.
One feature that seems to attract a lot of attention in my house is the CAL/FAT CALS/PULSE Display. This display will show you both the approximate number o calories you have burned thus far. It will also show you what your heart rate is. How does it show you your heart rate? You will notice below the console there is a connecting bar with two shinny mental areas. You need to stand with your feet on the foot rails and place both palms on the metal contacts.
The last display you will see is the SPEED/MIN-MILE Display. Here you will see the pace that you are currently at. You can program this to be used in our backward American way of MPH or catch up to the rest of the world and set it for Kilometers.
When you are done with your exercising be sure to unplug your key. It is also suggested that you use the On/Off button and shut it off. They also tell you to unplug it after use. I would suggest if you have small children in the house to put the key in a safe play out of their reach when you are not using it.
You can fold the treadmill up - they warn you must be able to lift 45 pounds. There is a latch on the front left of the console which will lock it shut. There are also wheels on the treadmill so that you can move it to a different location if you would like.
Would I suggest the PRO-FORM 740CS to a friend? Sure I would. I would also suggest they use a Walkman to listen to some favorite music to as they exercise. Place your treadmill in an area that you have to look at it and a spot that offers you a view. Give yourself something to look at. I had my husband put our treadmill in the brightest room in the house - our "study" (ok it is a room in progress). To the direct left of it there is window and to the right there is 7-8 feet of windows. In the warmer weather we can open up the windows for some fresh air. Now I can listen to music and watch the cats chasing squirrels in the front yard. As the treadmill is at the far end of a narrow room we do not fold it up. I'd rather have it ready and waiting...