By Simon Gould
Treadmills take up a lot of room, especially the motorized ones. Some of us don’t have the space for a home gym or somewhere to put a treadmill. Maybe you just don’t want one inside and there is so much room outside. You may have a big backyard but space is a premium inside. All this would make having a treadmill outside ideal, but is it possible and what do we need to consider?
What you’ll need
You need an electrical outlet. Many homes have this for entertaining outside and even if your’s doesn’t, you can get extended cables that will help do the job. A treadmill cover is essential, treadmills have electronics in the console and electrical components in the motor. You don’t want rain getting in there. Amazon do treadmill covers* that will do the job.
Then what if it’s raining and you want to exercise? A treadmill should never be open to the elements even if it’s got a cover on it. However good the weather normally is, rain will soon come. Any shelter or shady spot is good as even sunshine can make it over heat. Also a treadmill mat would be a good investment to prevent moisture getting in underneath. Amazon* do a good selection of those too.
If you’re going to put it outside then you need a large awning or some sort of canopy over it. Maybe you have a large porch or patio area you have in mind for a treadmill. For safety, don’t use rows of extension cables and outlets as these are a fire risk. Also you’ll need to unplug the treadmill after every use. Dust and tiny bits of vegetation could get into the inner workings.
Before you buy a treadmill check to see if having it outside affects the warranty. You need to read the fine print as having it outside or even in a garage may void it. A good warranty is essential and some have 2 years of labor. Check on your home insurance as well to see if a treadmill is covered under that if it breaks or is stolen.
Treadmill maintenance is especially important when it’s kept outside so do keep it clean and don’t use any solvents. You’ll need to wipe the console and frame with a damp cloth after every use. Ideally I’d advise you remove the motor cover and vacuum in there as debris can build up and affect it’s performance. You need to take more care of it in such conditions.
One often over looked factor of having a treadmill outside is it needs to be on level ground. This isn’t difficult if you’re putting it on a patio but if your backyard is uneven this may cause problems. A treadmill on a slope will develop faults, the belt will start going to one side. Make sure the ground is nice and flat before installation.
Other concerns about having a treadmill outside is that it will get excessive moisture. Even if it’s covered when not in use, the humidity in the air will negatively affect it. A treadmill in such conditions will not last as long as one that is kept inside. The motor and electrical circuits in the console will both suffer due to excessive moisture.
A treadmill is basically an electrical appliance and they don’t do well outside the home. This is all assuming rain doesn’t fall on it. If it did, it will shorten the lifespan even more. My article: Can a treadmill get wet, gives you further information regarding spills, rain and other moisture and how it affects a treadmill. You basically need to deal with any of these problems immediately.
You may want to get the treadmill checked every year or two by a fitness equipment technician. They can check it’s still safe to use as moisture damaged treadmills can be a safety hazard. While he’s there he can service the machine and do any annual maintenance. The cost could be worth it if it makes the treadmill last longer.
Keeping a treadmill in a garage
A garage seems like the perfect place for a treadmill. You can get your workouts done without the noise bothering other people in the home. But even this location is not recommended by some manufacturers and voids their warranty. A garage is normally cold and still has more moisture in the air than indoors.
A treadmill outside or in a garage will need to be cleaned more often. Debris from a yard or dust in a garage can affect the inner workings. A treadmill works at optimal temperatures and a garage or outside is usually too cold especially in the winter. Keep your treadmill outside or in a garage if you must, but know that it will affect its performance and lifespan.
There are advantages to using a treadmill and if you use one outside you get the benefits of outdoor exercise too. Manual treadmills are more suited as they have less electrics but they are less easy to use and have fewer features. You can spend a lot on a treadmill so you want to make sure it lasts as long as it can.
Treadmills aren’t really designed to be kept and used outside, the temperature fluctuates and the humidity changes. If you live in a country or area like that, then a gym may be a good option. If outside is your only choice take certain precautions like a cover, mat and regular maintenance. Unplug it when it’s not being used.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*