We think of treadmills as a way to stay fit, not as something that will hurt us. Like most things though, carelessness on a treadmill can cause injury.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), emergency rooms treated over 72,000 treadmill related injuries between 2012-2014. Although most of those injuries were sprains and strains, treadmills can lead to more serious injuries like blunt trauma or amputations. And while death is rare, there were 30 reported deaths associated with treadmills from 2003-2012, with the most recent being that of Dave Goldberg, the CEO of Survey Monkey.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when walking or running on a treadmill:
1) Never step onto a moving treadmill. If you’re at the gym make sure the machine is turned off and the belt is not moving. Stepping onto a moving treadmill can cause you to lose your balance and fall.
2) Always start the machine with your feet on the side deck, not on the belt. Although the belt is supposed to start slowly, there is the possibility that it will start fast, causing injury.
3) Always look forward while exercising. If you look down at your feet or elsewhere, you can get dizzy and lose your balance.
4) Wear shoes. The friction from the moving belt can cause it to get hot, thereby causing burns to bare feet. In addition, bare feet can get caught in the side of the moving belt.
5) Don’t put treadmills near a wall or table. If you get thrown from the treadmill you want to minimize your chance of hitting your head on a stationary object next to the treadmill.
6) Most importantly, tie the kill switch to a part of your body so that if you fall the belt on the treadmill will immediately stop moving and reduce the likelihood of serious injury.
7) Keep children and pets away from treadmills and any other exercise equipment. According to the CPSC, about 8,700 children are injured each year on exercise related equipment.
8) Treadmills can go very fast, and they can be raised to steep inclines. Know what your body is capable of and don’t try to do more than you can.
Treadmills are a great way to stay fit during rainy or cold days. Just use caution while getting on and off, don’t get bare feet or hands near the moving belt and only walk or run as fast as you would on the street.