Once again, you all know how I feel about running. And about treadmills. And yet, having tested my heart rate with the Garmin Forerunner I have, to my great disappointment, hard data showing that running delivers the most consistent high-heart-rate workout to increase my stunningly anemic aerobic capacity. How anemic? Let's just say in a foot race between me, Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh, I'm sucking two asses and coming in third.
Luckily, if there's one thing I know how to do it's cheat. And what looks a lot like running? Walking! So if you can't get outdoors but you don't want to miss a workout, I've found the Bowflex Series 7 treadmill is a sweet compromise. The Series 7 cranks up to a 12 degree incline, has a nice long track and a 3hp motor that will speed you along at up to 11mph while displaying heart rate and all that other crapola.
I fire up the Bowflex and walk at 4mph for 30 minutes, starting at 4 degrees and quickly moving up to 12. That gets my heart rate up to an acceptable training level and yet - wait for the magic - I'm NOT RUNNING! Yes! Best of all, the steep incline works your mountaineering muscles, and you can always strap on a pack to truly suffer. The Bowflex has been very simple, reliable and is relatively quiet for a treadmill, although relatively is the key word there. The fan is weak, but a trip to Wal-Mart will fix that. Fanatic runners - you know who you are, get help - might prefer a bigger 'spensiver model, but for the rest of us the Bowflex Series 7 is as good as it gets for a reasonable price point.