I have recently given up my half of the garage. I have turned it into a very small workout area (the roughly eight feet by ten feet area closest to the house), office space for writing/typing and audio/video production, and an audio recording and live-streaming video studio. The back half of that was a no-brainer, as I needed space to do the work that makes the money that allows me to play around online. The first part, though–the saving space for moving and attempting to get healthy–was trickier. With so little space to exercise in and with me getting older and thus more selective in what types of exercises I can do and want to do to avoid injury, it has been hard to find the right type of equipment that provides the right level of movement and intensity while at the same time being small enough and portable enough that I can move around the equipment and the equipment can be moved to meet my changing needs in that space.
What is WalkingPad?
WalkingPad is a small, light-weight, semi-portable treadmill designed by a group of professors, mechanical and electrical engineers, and product design experts in Chicago, Illinois in 2016. Studies have shown that walking as little as 30 minutes a day can have significant impacts on overall physical and mental health, as well as help mitigate the effects of sitting at a desk for hours a day. The WalkingPad was designed with the idea of getting a product into homes that makes it easier for people to get up and walking while being small enough to store easily when not in use.
How does WalkingPad work?
WalkingPad features an aluminum alloy frame for its strength and for being relatively lightweight. When set up for walking, the WalkingPad’s footprint is 56.5 inches long by 21.5 inches wide. The walking surface is approximately 2.25 inches off of the ground, so there is no large step up onto the machine.
The WalkingPad has two modes. In manual mode, you control the speed with a small remote that has a wrist band, so you can let it dangle without having to hold the remote the entire time. Manual mode is good for when you want to maintain a set pace. In automatic mode, the WalkingPad adjusts the belt speed to your pace, allowing the user to speed up or slow down when interval training.
The front of the WalkingPad has an LED display in the panel. The display can track and be toggled to display mode, speed, time, and steps.
When the user is finished with the WalkingPad, the product hinges in the middle and can be stored away. The folded dimensions are 32.5 inches long, 21.5 inches wide, and 5 inches tall. Two wheels are locate at on the front panel side, allowing the user to pick up the WalkingPad from the hinged end and wheel it to wherever it will be stored. At 5 inches tall, the WalkingPad can be stored beneath furniture in the office or living room. At 62 pounds, the product has the heft to be sturdy while light enough to be rolled away for storage and rolled back out again for use.
What has been my experience with WalkingPad?
I have used the WalkingPad nearly every day in the week since I have received the product for review. I was shipped a model that is already in production in China, where the WalkingPad is manufactured. As such, the warnings on the WalkingPad and the instructions were in Chinese. I asked for and received the English language instructions that will come with WalkingPads purchased via Kickstarter, but I honestly didn’t need them. Everything about the set up and operation is intuitive.
I have set an alarm for the weekday afternoons to get up and use my WalkingPad after sitting at my desk for a few hours. Even if I just knock out 15 minutes, I feel more energized afterward and able to focus and knock out tasks easier during my low energy time of the afternoon. I’ve used that time on the WalkingPad to either get caught up on e-mails on my phone, check social media, or read. In the evenings, I’ve used the WalkingPad while watching TV to help me get a few more steps in at the end of the day. I’ve even used it one morning when it was raining and I couldn’t take the dogs for their morning walk around the neighborhood.
My wife has used and enjoyed the device. My kids, ages nine to 14 years old, aren’t very skilled with using the product yet. After watching them nearly faceplant a few times, I can say that the WalkingPad is best used for adults with a decent sense of balance and coordination. Because this product is designed for portability, there are no handrails. While users could conceivably place a chair on either side of the WalkingPad for support, that not only defeats the purpose of having a portable exercise device, but those chairs aren’t going to be stable enough to break a fall.
Would I recommend WalkingPad?
As with the aforementioned lack of handrails, it is important to understand the limitations of the WalkingPad. The product has a top speed of 6 km/hour or about 3.75 miles/hour. There is no incline to the device, and it is not recommended to prop one end of the device in order to simulate an incline. These limitations are due to the device being designed to provide the benefits unique to the WalkingPad. Namely, those are light weight, portability, and delivering a machine for those with limited space and budget.
This is a product meant to get people up and walking at a relatively low intensity at a time and in spaces where they would not otherwise be exercising. With those expectations in mind, I absolutely would recommend the WalkingPad for adults who have developed and maintained the balance and coordination to walk continuously in place over a set period of time without the assistance of handrails.
Where can I purchase a WalkingPad?
The WalkingPad Kickstarter campaign runs through November 5. The product was fully funded within an hour of launch, so there is no danger of the campaign not meeting its funding goal. Backer units will be shipped in November 2018.
Disclaimer: I was provided a Chinese model of the WalkingPad that is currently in production. I was not able to use the app that will be a part of the English language version of the product, as it was not provided for review. All opinions are my own.