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To say I'm overweight would be a bit of an understatement, but I'm trying to do something about it, eating better and becoming more active. As part of this drive to a healthier lifestyle, I decided to invest in a treadmill. My criteria when choosing which treadmill weren't exactly taxing, it needed to be fairly cheap, motorised, folding and able to take my rather more than ample frame. After a little research I plumped for the Dynamix Treadmill, which was purchased from a catalogue for £349.99, paid for over a year. The treadmill is delivered part assembled, all that I needed to do was unpack it and screw the uprights and console into place. This was not really difficult and all tools required were supplied with the treadmill, but I will warn you that the treadmill is very heavy (almost but not quite impossible for one person to move) and there is a lot of cardboard and polystyrene waste. Once assembled the treadmill has wheels that make moving it into the final position a lot easier.
While not the most fancy or expensive looking of treadmills, the Dynamix still looks pretty good with it's matte silver frame and black running surface. When in use the Dynamix takes up a good deal of floor space, 73cm by 165cm to be exact and it's recommended that you have a clear space of at least another metre behind you. The treadmill folds smoothly up to take up about half the floor space when not in use. Opening the treadmill back up for use is easy and the hydraulics means that it falls gently and slowly to the floor reducing the risk of injury. The console is large and clear, providing such information as speed, distance, calories burnt, pulse and program used. There is also a cup/bottle holder on the console and another indent that can hold an iPod, phone or other music device (although these cannot be plugged into the treadmill). The final aspect is a safety key that needs to be inserted for the treadmill to work.
==It's Workout Time==
Being an electric treadmill the Dynamix needs to be plugged into a wall socket and this is where the first problem reveals itself. The power lead is ridiculously short, meaning that it either needs to be positioned directly next to a wall socket or an extension lead is required. Personally I don't have room for the treadmill next to the wall socket, so I plump for the second option, which leaves a lead trailing across the floor during use. The power switch on the Dynamix is also rather inconveniently placed at the very bottom front, which I have placed against the wall. If I owned a monkey I would definitely ask it to switch the treadmill on for me as I sometimes struggle with bending, but as it is I tend to leave the power switch on and just turn off at the wall and unplug between uses.
A safety aspect of the Dynamix that I really like, even if it is now common-place, is that it will not operate unless the safety key is in place. This key can be attached to clothing via a crocodile style clip and there is a good length of cord between the key and clip. Of course it's best to keep this out of reach of children when not in use as the cord does provide a definite strangulation hazard. Although the key is little more than a glorified magnet, I particularly like that rather than just sitting in place it locks via a pair of prongs. Not only does this key help prevent little ones from uses the treadmill, but it also doubles up as a safety aspect while using the treadmill, as you should attach it to your clothing, if (God forbid) you should faint or collapse while walking/jogging/running then the key will come out and the treadmill will stop. The only possible difficulty with this key is that should it be lost then the treadmill will be next to useless.
Once switched on there are a number of different programs available, eight to be exact. The first of these is the manual program where you can choose and alter the speed yourself, which to be honest is the one I use most often, as I am steadily increasing my own speed and endurance. The other seven programs vary in intensity, with program two being the easiest and program eight the hardest (and fastest). Each of these pre-set programs defaults to thirty minutes in length, but can be either lengthened or shortened according to your needs. From what I can tell (from lengthening program two to forty minutes) rather than simply repeating itself the program adjusts to extra time by extending (or shortening) the intervals. You can also set a length of time that you want your workout to last for in program one (manual) with the treadmill simply stopping when it gets to the end of the countdown. One final aspect of your workout that can be adjusted is the incline, with there being settings for 2%, 4% and 6%, but this is adjusted manually and is best done while the treadmill is folded up.
Being somewhat larger in girth than average it's good to know that the maximum user weight for the Dynamix is 120kg or 18.8 stone. Although I was fairly close to this maximum when I began using the Dynamix (I've since lost a stone), I found the 1.5HP continuous motor had no problem coping with this weight even when I was jogging at 7KPH. Being a right short-a*se, I've had no problem with the running surface either, but at 120cm by 40cm those of above average height (or leg length) may find that it's a little on the small side. When started the treadmill gives you a short three, two, one countdown before whirring into action, and in manual it starts at a pathetic 0.8KM/hr. Changing speed is as easy as pressing on a button, with a single short press changing speed in increments of 0.1KM/hr and holding the button changing it quicker. With a top speed of 16km/hr (or 10mph) this goes plenty fast enough for me, after all am very unfit and struggle with 7km/hr, but those more experienced in running may need to find a treadmill with a higher top speed.
I find the Dynamix comfortable to walk/jog on for extended periods of time (up to an hour), although there isn't much cushioning there is enough that I don't feel like I'm stressing my ankles or shins. The two bars (with pulse meters) are a little high for 5'1" me, but I only really hold onto them occasionally while walking. Talking of pulse meters, I find that this pulse meter is highly inaccurate, I always wear a heart rate monitor while exercising and there is often a difference of 50+bpm. The calorie counting aspect of the treadmill is equally inaccurate, not only does it not base the calories on height/weight/age but doesn't even take heart rate into account. The difference for me (very overweight) can be as high as 200 calories in an hour, with the Dynamix definitely under-estimating.
Another slight problem with the Dynamix is that it can be very noisy in operation, well not so noisy that it drowns out music I have playing, but it does produce some alarming noises. It tends to squeak for the first thirty seconds or so and this repeats with every big jump up or down in speed. The motor itself is also quite loud, not loud enough to drown out a TV at medium level. The display is easy to read while walking/jogging and it's easy to rotate through the different information at the press of a button. What I particularly like about the console is the cup/bottle holder and space for placing my phone as it plays workout music. This means I can easily access my water bottle without disturbing my workout.
It is possible to pause the Dynamix for a short amount of time (about 5 minutes) and then return and carry on. On finishing a workout the console displays the final statistics for a short time before resetting, but doesn't store them for later perusal. Personally I wish that my final distance was displayed for longer, and that the length of time you could pause for was longer, especially as I had to break my workout into smaller times to start with. As it is, I just about have enough time to record my distance and time before it resets. One other slight problem with the display is that it only displays speed and distance in kilometres, but is you really want to work out miles travelled then divide the distance by 1.6.
With the couple of hundred kilometres that I've currently travelled on the Dynamix over the last month, I've had absolutely no problems with it's operation. I do regularly check all the bolts and fixings, but so far haven't even need to tighten these. And at my weight I'm putting far more stress on the mechanisms than an "average" user. As a larger girl I sweat an incredible amount during a work out, but find that the rubberised grips do not slip even when my hands are slick with perspiration, although I do find the pulse meter becomes even less accurate.
Even with the problems I absolutely love my treadmill and use it on an almost daily basis. To start with I could only manage 15 minutes at 3-3.5km/hr, but now I use it for at least 45 minutes a day with a base speed of 4.5km/hr and intervals of 7km/hr and have really seen a difference in my physical health. As someone who is very overweight, has pain in their joints and a toddler running round the house, walking is the best form of exercise for me and this treadmill means that I can walk everyday without worrying that it's too cold or wet or that my toddler is asleep or even worry that I'm going to walk in dog mess. Yes I could get the same benefits from a treadmill at a gym, but my partner works funny hours and my local gym has very limited opening hours and I'm far less likely to make excuses with the treadmill being in the front room.
Although there is no way the Dynamix could be considered a top of the range treadmill, I do think it's perfect for those in my position. That is looking for a low impact exercise that they can do at home. Although I had already started my weight-loss journey when I bought this (and lost a stone), by using the treadmill as a tool to help burn extra calories I have seen a vast improvement in my general fitness and endurance. Amazingly I've also found that the aches and pains in my hips, pelvis and knees have improved as I've strengthened the muscles surrounding them. As to stars out of five I do believe the Dynamix deserves a hearty four out of five as it is a good basic treadmill. And my recommendation, well obviously if you're above the maximum weight then this will not be for you and if you need higher speeds then you'll look elsewhere. But if all you need is a folding, motorised treadmill that goes up to a reasonable 16km/hr then you can't go far wrong with this.