Burn fat and slim your thighs without setting foot outdoors. Just take your walking routine onto a treadmill of your own. Follow our tips to find the machine that's right for you.

By Margit Feury Ragland

Climb Every Mountain

For the greatest health benefits, don't force yourself to go faster or stay on the treadmill longer, which could lead to injury. Instead, set your treadmill on an incline; it's easier on your joints and also boosts calorie burn.

Keep the speed of the treadmill at the same moderate pace (try for 3.5 mph) throughout this workout.

  • 5-minute warm-up with the incline set at 0
  • 2 minutes at 2% grade
  • 2 minutes at 4% grade
  • 2 minutes at 8% grade
  • 2 minutes at 4% grade
  • 2 minutes at 2% grade
  • 5-minute cool-down with the incline at 0

Treadmill Options to Consider

  • Width: For natural strides, make sure the treadmill's walking surface — the belt — is at least 16 inches wide.
  • Incline: Chances are you'll want to add some uphill work to your walks. Look for a machine that allows for up to a 10% incline — 30% is even better.
  • Motor: The larger the treadmill's motor, the smoother the ride, so pick one with a Continuous Horse Power (CHP) rating of at least 1.75.
  • Foldability: Tight on space? Consider a unit that you can flip up and stow.
  • Warranty: Be sure your warranty states that if you need service, a technician will come to your home. Boxing up your treadmill and sending it to a service center (at your expense) is a big hassle.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the September 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.