How to Align and Tension Your Treadmill Running Belt

Having trouble with keeping your running belt straight and centered? The running belt may stretch with use, causing it to fall out of alignment, shifting too far to the left or the right. This can also create unnecessary noise and wear on the running belt. Most commonly, the running belt may come out of alignment after lubrication procedures, if needed*, or when adjusting the tension if the running belt seems too loose. The loose feeling would be described as the belt feeling like it is slipping under the user’s feet, or if the running belt stops as soon as weight is applied to the belt to walk.

Don’t be intimidated by this issue. It can be resolved quickly and easily! Below, we are sharing our tips and instructions on how to center, align and tension your running belt.

First, make sure your machine and the surface the machine is on are level. If the surface is not level, try moving to a level spot on the floor, or think about purchasing a treadmill mat to help with this issue. If the floor is level but the machine is not, you may need to adjust the levelers at the bottom of the treadmill. Please refer to your owner’s manual for additional guidance with that procedure.

If all leveling checks out, then the next step would be to adjust the running belt itself. There are 2 tools that you will need. First, a Phillips head screwdriver is necessary to remove the screws that hold the rear end caps on if you want a clearer view of the bolts that adjust the running belt tension. The second required tool is an Allen wrench, preferably the blue-handled T-Wrench that came with the machine. The size of the T-wrench may vary, but generally it is a 6mm or 8mm.

Start by turning on the machine and pressing “Start.”  Adjust the speed to the lowest setting. Let the belt rotate a few times. If the running belt starts to shift toward one side, loosen the rear roller bolt on the opposite side ¼ turn clockwise. For example, if the running belt begins to shift to the left, loosen (turn counter clockwise) the right roller bolt a ¼ of a turn. The key to this is patience as you must wait five revolutions of the running belt between each adjustment. That will ensure you do not over correct the belt.

Continue this step, making ¼ turn adjustments after five revolutions until the belt no longer shifts to one side.

If the belt is still not centering after constant adjustment, then it is possible the front roller has become misaligned. Remove the front motor cover by extracting the Phillips screws attaching it to the frame. Once the treadmill roller bracketcover is removed, check the front roller bolt bracket. On the right hand side, (if standing on the machine), you should see a bolt suspended in a bracket that holds the front roller. Verify that bolt is centered in the bracket. If the bolt is too far forward or backward, adjust the bolt so that it is located right in the center of the bracket.

Next, test the tension by walking on the belt. Run the belt at a comfortable walking speed. Then, walk on the belt while holding the handlebars and step down firmly with your lead foot, trying to stop the belt with each step. If the belt still hesitates, tighten each rear roller bolt another ¼ turn per side. Once it stops hesitating, stop tensioning the belt. Over tightening can cause unnecessary stress on the rollers and belt.

Remember – a clockwise turn will tighten and counter-clockwise will loosen.

Hopefully these tips will have your treadmill belt running straight and working in peak condition. Remember to be patient as the small adjustments will work, they just take a little time.

*Note: Not all units require lubrication. Please refer to your Owner’s Manual for guidance.

Train with the Intervals Program on Your Exercise Bike for a Change of Pace

Vision Fitness R40 Recumbent Exercise BikeThe Intervals program on a Vision Fitness® upright or recumbent bike can be a valuable tool in your fitness regimen. Bikes are a great way to get your cardio training in, while giving your skeletal system a break from the stress of a weight-bearing exercise like treadmill running. One of the keys to exercising on a bike is maintaining a sufficient level of intensity so you are maximizing your time spent exercising. Unlike a treadmill that forces a user to keep up, on a bike, the user must push himself/herself to keep the level of intensity up where he/she is truly benefiting from the workout. This is where a program like Intervals can really help.

What is interval training?
Interval training is a method of training where you increase and decrease the level of intensity of your workout between aerobic and anaerobic training. The goal for interval training is to push the body past the aerobic threshold for a few moments and then return to your aerobic conditioning level with the objective of improving your performance.

The aerobic threshold is the intensity where your body switches from burning a greater percentage of fat to a greater percentage of carbohydrates. A general parameter to measure where this threshold is would be 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. According to the web site www.medicinenet.com, train below 85 percent and it’s aerobic; train above 85 percent and it’s anaerobic. (For more info on monitoring your heart rate, click here.)

Using the preset Intervals program

After selecting the Intervals program on your console, you will be prompted to enter in your age, your desired time and your weight. Once you have done this, the console will then ask you to enter in the difficulty level. This may require a trial and error period as you figure out which level will best challenge you. The resistance level will automatically change from segment to segment, alternating between a higher level of resistance (the active phase) and a lower level of resistance (the rest phase). These changes in resistance are designed to push you past your aerobic zone and into your anaerobic zone during the active phase, as described in the paragraph above. The duration of each segment is determined by the total time you entered in the beginning.

The benefits of interval training are numerous, and it is becoming the preferred method of training for many of today’s elite athletes. Benefits such as burning more fat, decreasing your risk of high blood pressure, strengthening your immune system, and lowering cholesterol, are all attributed to interval training according to Dr. Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com). Also, it can ultimately put less stress on your joints because you are exercising for shorter periods of time.

The beauty of this program, especially on a bike, is that anyone can start it and begin to reap the benefits immediately. Interval training can closely simulate participating in sports such as basketball, soccer and lacrosse. All are activities that include quick bursts of energy intermingled with periods of active rest.

Interval training has long been a favorite of coaches because it can be an effective means of improving an athlete’s cardiovascular capacity, thus helping their performance on the field. It can also help an individual burst through those dreaded “plateaus” we have all encountered at one time or another after performing the same exercise routines for an extended period of time.

For me personally, the active phase helps push me to workout harder, while reducing my perception of how long I have been working out, a big-time bonus in my opinion. So if you are looking for some variety and want to spice things up, I suggest you get off your feet, get on a bike and challenge yourself with an intense Intervals program.

 

Passport™ Media Player with Virtual Active™

Passport™ Media Player with Virtual Active™ transforms a normal indoor workout into a dynamic outdoor adventure. Featuring stunning HD videos from some of the most beautiful destinations around the world, users choose when and where they want to exercise. Explore the scenic diversity of Northern Italy or follow the River Aar out of the mountains while exercising near the Swiss Alps. With a growing number of guided workout locations available, users are sure to remain motivated, entertained and healthy.

What is Virtual Active™?

Passport Media Player - Northern Italy

Visit Northern Italy in the comfort of your living room with Virtual Active™

Virtual Active™ makes first-person, forward-motion video footage, designed to enhance the workout experience on treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes. Everything seen and heard in the videos is real and was filmed on location. During a Virtual Active™ workout, the equipment automatically adjusts the intensity level (incline and/or resistance) to match the terrain seen on the course. The video speed automatically syncs with the user’s speed on the equipment, and ambient sounds from the course can be heard in the background. Information and history about the course’s location is shown on-screen, as well as the user’s workout information. All of this provides exercisers with a unique opportunity to escape the confines of their regular workout routine and discover new and exciting places to exercise around the world.Two Virtual Active™ workouts are included on the Vision Fitness® Touch and Elegant consoles for treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes.

What is Passport™?

The Passport™ Media Player is Passport™ Media Player on a Vision Fituness Treadmillused to deliver this content to users that don’t have Virtual Active™ integrated into their cardio equipment. Users simply connect the Passport™ Media Player to their home television, insert the included USB and their cardio equipment connects wirelessly to the Media Player. The same stunning HD footage from places like Piazza San Marco in Venice or the cliffs of the Grand Canyon are displayed on their home television, perfectly synced with the users speed and elevation.

The Passport™ media player is sold separately and is compatible with the Vision Fitness Touch, Elegant, and Classic consoles for treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes. Stop by your local Vision Fitness retailer to try it out.

Tips for Purchasing a New Exercise Bike

During my days as a sales representative, it always amazed me when people in need of an exercise bike would typically ask a lot of questions about bikes, but would rarely get on and try them. There are many exercise bikes on the market and, like any other product, there are designs that will fit your needs and others that won’t. The most important thing to do is try out a variety of models and choose the best one for you. Here are some tips on what to look for in an exercise bike.

Comfort

There are two major frame styles of bikes from to choose: recumbent and upright. The number one question I received over the years was, “Which is better, recumbent or upright?” There is no right or wrong answer. Both styles keep you moving and raise your heart rate. Because both styles of bikes require you to sit, a comfortable seat is extremely important.

Recumbent bikes

Vision Fitness R40 Recumbent Exercise Bike

Vision Fitness R40 Recumbent Exercise Bike with reclining seat feature.

This is a great option for users who require extra lumbar support. Many recumbent bikes, like the Vision Fitness® R20, now offer adjustable mesh seats which tend to be more comfortable and use a more breathable material that significantly reduces the amount of sweat build-up.There are also seats, such as that on the R40, which have an additional “recline” feature, allowing the user to be slightly tilted back, thus opening up the diaphragm and enabling easier breathing. It is a wonderful feature for pregnant women who would like to (comfortably) continue their cardiovascular training. A “walk-thru” recumbent bike makes it easier for a user to comfortably enter and exit the bike. This is particularly important for those who have sustained a lower-body injury and/or users with mobility setbacks.

Upright bikes

For the average person who is used to and enjoys a more traditional bike, an upright frame is the way to go. Much like with the recumbent, a comfortable seat is extremely important. Ensure that you have enough padding/comfort so you can sustain your workout for your intended duration. Remember, if you’re not comfortable on any given piece of equipment, you won’t use it!

Adjustability/Stability

The more adjustability you have, the more you can customize your perfect fit. Recumbent bikes have a front/back seat adjustment, while upright bikes have an up/down adjustment.

Check the seat adjustment for ease of use. It should have a very simple lever to pull, and the seat should slide smoothly to accommodate your height. If it is a struggle to adjust the seat, check out alternative bikes. If the bike will have multiple users, seat adjustments that contain a numbering system might be best. Numbering systems are an easy way to remember your preferred position and quickly adjust.

The stability of a bike is also very important. The last thing you want is for your bike to be rocking back and forth or from side to side. Better bikes have adjustable stabilizers to provide a more stable ride. Shake the recumbent exercise bike while you are sitting on it. Poorly made recumbent exercise bikes wobble as you peddle. A quality machine should not move at all after you’ve properly stabilized it.

Quiet/SmoothVision Fitness R40 Recumbent Exercise Bike

Quality components are important for any piece of mechanical equipment. Exercise bikes are no different. Higher-end bikes will use a wider internal drive belt, which provides more surface area and a smoother, more fluid feel. Make sure the pedals of the recumbent exercise bike move in a smooth motion. It should feel natural and not make any funny noises. If you need to move your legs at unnatural angles, the machine is not a good fit.

Finally, purchasing an exercise bike is an investment in your health and wellness. Take the time to seek out a specialty store in your area and speak with a trained sales associate. They are there to help you find the perfect piece of equipment and assist you in reaching your goals comfortably and efficiently.