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February 21, 2006

How to calibrate a treadmill — 'This is the gold standard!'


That's a direct quote from the Treadmill Guru™ himself, Dr. James A. Levine (above) of the Mayo Clinic, upon his being presented earlier today with my handy–dandy, nifty–swifty method for determining the actual — as opposed to the digital readout — speed of a treadmill while you're walking on it.

Here in its entirety, as emailed to one Robert Phipps, who last night innocently asked me for a treadmill recommendation, is my patented (well, not really) method for making the calculations.

    Dear Robert,

    OK, you got me where I'm vulnerable: how I do stuff.

    Here's how I calibrated my treadmill, as I couldn't find a standard

    MATERIALS NEEDED: Tape; string; stopwatch; tape measure; calculator

    1) I put a piece of tape on the treadmill (any type that will stay on as it goes around the rollers). At one edge, about an inch wide and a quarter inch across.

    2) Set the treadmill to 1.0 mph, get on it, and walk.

    3) Count how many times the tape crosses an arbitrary point alongside the treadmill's belt during a given period of time.

    4) You will have the length of the treadmill's belt in the specs but measure it yourself anyhow (I taped a piece of string to it, then kept taping all the way around until it came back, then measured the string length).

    5) Make sure you write down numbers as you go or you will go nuts, by the way.

    6) Now, get a calculator.

    7) Do the math (say one loop of the belt = 60 inches = 5 feet; the piece of tape disappears every 5 seconds; so therefore the belt goes 5 feet every 5 seconds; that means it goes 5 x 12 = 60 feet every minute; that means it goes 60 x 60 = 3,600 feet every hour; that equals 3600/5280 = 0.7 mph.

    That's the actual calculation for me, by the way: my treadmill reads 1.0 mph as I type these words but its actual speed is the Holy Grail equivalent decreed by our guru, Dr. James Levine.




Got it?


As I read the above over, I'm impressed: even I could follow those instructions.

February 21, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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