I’m sure that many of us know someone who owns a treadmill. You probably even have one at home. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that exercise-related injuries are on the rise, especially with most gyms closed and outdoor exercise restricted for many people. According to a National Center for Health Statistics report, over 8 million exercise-related injuries are recorded every year. Some of these accidents include cuts and abrasions, broken bones, and chest pains.
A treadmill has many moving components, and with all the walking and the running, one wrong slip could have disastrous consequences. Because most exercise machines are straightforward and quite easy to use, this lulls many people into a false sense of safety. A treadmill should prioritize safety above anything else. For starters, it should include multiple safety features to ensure that every workout is a safe and productive one. Without those safety features, a treadmill is just an accident waiting to happen.
What is true for most machines is true for the treadmill: usage without preparation is a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a cheap model or a top-of-the-line unit. If you don’t follow the necessary precautions, your next workout might end with a trip to the emergency room. Always remember that safety should be your top priority. Here are some safety tips to get you started.
1. Keep your eyes forward
One of the most common accidents that happen while using a treadmill is slipping. Many people tend to watch look down at their feet while running on a treadmill. Doing this can make you lose your balance and slip off the treadmill. Always keep in mind that your feet tend to follow the direction of your sight. For instance, if you look to your left while walking, you will move to the left.
Keeping your head up and looking ahead can help you avoid this. Similarly, keep yourself centered on the running belt. Too close to the edge, and you might fall off; too close to the front, and you can trip and hit your head on the console.
2. Keep children away
While we want our children to be fit and healthy, you should keep them away from treadmills. Every year, over 13,000 children and teenagers are injured while using an exercise machine. Many children do not possess the minimum motor skills to use a treadmill safely. If left alone, children may also attempt to use a treadmill without your permission.
Children are naturally curious creatures, and many have been injured from touching a moving part of the treadmill. If possible, only use the treadmill if there are no children around. Similarly, make sure that unsupervised children cannot use the treadmill.
3. Make use of the safety features
Many treadmills have built-in fail-safes and safety features to ensure to prevent accidents from occurring. Standard treadmill fail-safes include kill switches and emergency stop buttons. Some models even feature an auto-shutoff function if the user steps off the treadmill belt.
One of the most important fail-safes is the safety key. One end of the key is plugged into the console, while the other end is clipped to your clothing. If the worst happens and you slip or fall off the belt, the key will detach from the console and the treadmill will automatically stop.
In a similar vein, you also need to keep the area around the treadmill clean. Avoid placing too many objects near exercise machines. Carpet cleaning should cover that end if you’re too busy to keep your exercise area clean and organized.
4. Avoid distractions
Ensure that you are not distracted while working out on a treadmill. Many people, wanting to save time and be more efficient, multitask while exercising. Do not send emails or answer phone calls while on the treadmill. In fact, do not do anything but run while on the treadmill.
5. Wear shoes
A dangerous new trend has risen among some running enthusiasts: running barefoot. Under no circumstances should you run barefoot on a treadmill. Always wear comfortable running shoes.
A moving belt inflicts heat and friction, which could cause painful scrapes and burns on exposed skin. You also might slip while running, and if you hit your head on something hard, you might injure yourself or worse.
A final word
These five tips will help ensure a safer and more productive time on your treadmill. Prevention is always better than the cure, and adopting a proactive approach to safety can prevent accidents.