How Treadmills Have Changed Since the 1970s

April 15, 2016

From their conception in the 1800s, treadmills have gone through quite the changes over the years. Here’s how they’ve changed since the 1970s and TRUE’s role in their advances.

A Bleak Beginning

Believe it or not, the first treadmill was developed in 1800 England—and it was not for recreation. Treadmills were used as punishments for prisoners and to power mills. Eventually, they were banned in 1898 under the Prison Act.

Medical Benefits Realized

Later, they later reemerged in the 1950s as medical devices to assess cardiovascular health, thanks to Dr. Robert A. Bruce. Dr. Bruce had patients run on an inclined treadmill with electrodes attached to their chest to monitor the EKG while the speed and incline of the treadmill were increased. This test, combined with the treadmill, was—and still is—used to detect evidence of:

Treadmills in the Home & the Rise of Health Clubs

It wasn’t until the running boom of the 1970s, that treadmills really got their start in the home fitness industry. Treadmills were marketed by William Staub and Dr. Kenneth Cooper through Aerobics Inc. as an easy way to get in aerobic exercise. Treadmills at this time were much simpler, consisting of the track and being able to turn it off and on.

TRUE Fitness Builds on Treadmill Basics

TRUE Fitness got its start in treadmills when it was founded in 1981 and introduced several new innovations for treadmills like:

  • Variable speeds
  • Heart Rate Control
  • Soft Select
  • Removable safety keys
  • Orthopedic belts

Going High-Tech

Then in the early 2000s, LifeFitness introduced the first treadmill with an LCD touch screen that was integrated into the treadmill itself. From there, commercial treadmills have gotten progressively more hi-tech and cutting edge to accommodate users. Treadmills can now:

To this day, TRUE Fitness works to make new developments in the treadmill to make it the best piece of fitness equipment it can be, making workouts enjoyable.

Browse TRUE Fitness’s Selection of Modern Treadmills Today