For many people who want to lose weight, diet is usually the primary concern. But although eating the right things, and in the right quantities, is important, exercise also plays a crucial role in getting trim. You need to find a good balance between healthy eating and regular, moderate exercise. Jogging is a particular favorite for lots of people hoping to shed a few pounds, and care needs to be taken, particularly at the beginning of a new exercise program, to make sure you are not going to cause harm to yourself. See your doctor before you start, to get the all clear.

Treadmill running machines are a good way to get into jogging, either at home or at a commercial gym. If you go to a gym, get a trainer to give you a program to follow which is designed to burn off fat. You should also be looking to build up some extra muscle mass and improve your cardiovascular fitness, and these can all be achieved on a running machine. As with most other things in life, balance is important, and it is just the same with your exercise program. Boredom is the biggest killer of enthusiasm, so make sure you do plenty of running outdoors too, where you can go into the fresh air and have lots of interesting places to see.

One of the main reasons for using a running machine is that it will be kinder to your joints than running on the roads all the time; you can cause progressive damage to your knee and ankle joints if you always run on hard surfaces and without the proper footwear. A good treadmill has a deck with shock absorbers underneath to protect you. There are several types of running machine available, so always do some research beforehand to make sure you know what you are looking for if you decide to buy one for your home gym.

The cheapest type is the manual treadmill. These generally have the minimum of added extras; you might have a small battery operated computer to measure your distance and time. They are powered by you, the user, rather than by electricity, so the belt moves around due to your running action. Often they can be rather bulky and hard to store when not in use, though you might be able to find one which is foldable.

Probably the best type to buy for beginners, although they are usually more expensive, is the electric running machine. These are simple to operate; you just climb aboard and press the start button. There will be several features on the electric treadmills which are not available on the manuals. For example, you will be able to measure the distances and times you are running, plus other measurements such as calories burnt and speed of your running. There will also be several pre-programmed training options to add some variety to your exercises.

The next thing to look for if you have decided upon an electric running machine is the length of the running area, the deck. Some of the cheaper models have less powerful motors and shorter decks, which might only be suitable for brisk walking - this is still good exercise, but you will have to do it for longer to get the same benefit. However, if you are into more serious running, you will probably need to opt for a treadmill running machine with a more powerful motor and a longer deck which can accommodate your full running stride.

It is crucial to wear some suitable clothing when you go shopping for a running machine, so that you can jump on and try the various models which interest you. Make sure they are long enough for you when running at full speed, and that they feel strong and stable. Then, having bought one, you can kiss goodbye to those outdoor training sessions in the winter when you get home freezing cold or rain drenched; instead, simply get on the machine and pound out the miles while watching the TV.