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Just 14 per cent of treadmill owners ‘extremely motivated’ to train, study finds

Overall, treadmill runners are still more motivated than at-home exercisers with other machines or gear

A recent study of more than 1,000 people who exercise regularly found that just 14.3 per cent of treadmill owners are “extremely motivated” to train, but there’s more to this number than what’s shown on the surface. The study looked at gym-goers and at-home exercisers, and it turns out that, while rates of enjoyment on the treadmill are relatively low compared to other machines, this seemingly low rate of motivation is actually the highest. We’ve outlined some of the more pertinent (when it comes to runners, at least) findings below. 

Highest rates of motivation 

Fourteen per cent might not seem like a lot, but 39.3 per cent of treadmill owners said they are “very motivated” to train. Another 39.3 per cent said they’re “somewhat motivated,” and just 7.1 per cent responded with “not at all or slightly motivated.” Other than owners of stationary bikes and ellipticals (who are grouped together), the 14.3 per cent of treadmill owners responded with the second-highest rates of extreme motivation. Overall, 53.6 per cent of treadmill owners are extremely or very motivated to train, which gives the machine the highest rate of motivation when compared to other machines or gear. The lowest on the list were owners of free weights and yoga mats. 

RELATED: 12-hour treadmill race sees male winner run 150K, top female 120K

One explanation for these higher rates of motivation could be due to the price of treadmills. As listed in the study, the average treadmill goes for $525, which is almost $300 more than the next most-expensive item (ellipticals and stationary bikes). After making such a big purchase, treadmill owners might feel obligated to use their expensive machines, which creates a sort of motivation to train. Conversely, yoga mats and free weights are much less expensive, and so owners of these items may not feel as pressured to use them. 

Lowest rates of enjoyment 

The treadmill’s rate of motivation might be much higher than other machines, but when it comes to actual enjoyment in training, it comes in second-last, just ahead of the elliptical and stationary bikes. Just 40.1 per cent of treadmill runners said they enjoyed their runs. Cyclists took the top spot in this category, with 52.6 per cent responding positively to this exercise. 

RELATED: Here’s why you hate the treadmill so much


If you like the treadmill, that’s awesome, and it’s a great way to get your run training in (especially during colder months). But if you’re not a fan of the treadmill, that doesn’t mean you won’t be motivated to use it. This study shows that, even if you don’t take much enjoyment out of the training, you’ll likely still run on the treadmill anyway. Nobody said being a runner was easy, and forcing yourself to use the treadmill is a perfect example of why this is a tough sport.  

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