Chances are, if you’re a frequent reader of our fitness blog, you’re very familiar with treadmills. You probably have one of your own that you use faithfully, you’ve probably seen every cute cat/dog/parakeet-on-a-treadmill YouTube video, and you most certainly would know all about the history of this glorious fitness machine…right? If not, this is your lucky day—read on to learn more about the world’s first treadmill and some very interesting insights into how far this product has come.
The first treadmill most likely appeared in 1855. You may be surprised to know that its original use wasn’t for exercise—at least not for humans. With a clunky belt made from wooden planks, this machine had to be hardy enough to handle the weights of horses or oxen—which were made to walk on the contraption in order to help power and move farm equipment. Yes, the first treadmill most likely was farm equipment used by livestock.
In fact, early farmers were pretty resourceful with their treadmill ideas; smaller, indoor dog treadmills also had their uses, usually for kitchen chores like churning butter or sorting beans.
Treadmills were finally adopted as exercise machines in the early 20th century, used to test medical patients’ heart and lung function. In England treadmills were used for athletic training. Nowadays, we of course have advanced home exercise options with features like big, bright LCD screens, virtual trainers, ergonomic pedals, different stride lengths, and iPod/tablet integration. It’s hard to imagine using a treadmill made of wood or having a dog treadmill in one’s home that’s hooked up to a bean-sorter, but you have to admit that the origins of the treadmill are pretty fascinating.
From 1855 to 2013, the treadmill has come a long way. We invite you to browse our selection of treadmills for sale to see just how far they’ve come!