When used correcly, a treadmill is a very safe piece of fitness equipment. You are basically performing natural body movements through walking or jogging so there's little which can stress or strain your body. Treadmil injuries do occur through misuse, improper safety practices and tomfoolery however which lead to thousands of trips to the emergency room and general avoidable knocks, bumps, bruises and muscles strains which could have easily been avoided. The following are some of the more general pieces of treadmill safety advice to keep you using your favorite piece of exercise equipment in a safe and secure way.
Wear The Right Footwear For Treadmill Safety
If you were to go jogging in the park you would wear the right shoes, right? The same should go for treadmills too to avoid injury or damage to the running deck. Wear trainers and running shoes is not only the smart thing to do for the most comfortable workout, it is also best for you and your machine. The wrong footwear, yes that means work shoes, boots, heels etc. will cause unecessary wear and tear to the running deck and lead to a faster costly replacement.
It can also be detrimental to your health by providing poor support for your feet and ankles. Going barefoot on a treadmill is definitely something to avoid, no matter how tempting it may be. You will lack the extra cushioning and support a training shoe will give you and increase the risk of body and foot injury from slips and falls. Wear the right shoes, it's a no brainer.
Pets Cause Treadmill Injuries
Pets are not treadmill savvy, and neither should you expect them to be. Yes, we've all seen the funny videos of cats on a treadmill or dog walking on a treadmill belt but the fact is, pets are not safe around these machines.
Treadmills have moving parts which small animals can become snagged in, which is going to be highly unpleasant or deadly to them, and also cause a sudden jolting stop in the treadmill belt which is going to be dangerous to you too. Imagine running full pelt on a treadmill and having the belt come to a sudden stop. You're going to be thrown off violently and that's going to hurt. A lot.
Keep your pets well away from your treadmill and you'll be much safer on it.
Clutter Can Cause Treadmill Injuries
A cluttered environment is not a good environment to work out in. Be very aware of the surroundings in which your treadmill and other fitness equipment is located in as seemingly inanimate objects can be just as dangerous if you are not careful.
If you are working out in an environment with clothes strewn over the floors, or dog and baby toys, college papers, books etc. then these are all things which could prove hazardous. Treadmills can cause a lot of vibration, the cheaper ones can move around significantly during an average work out and those clothes etc. can get sucked in to the belt, snag and cause sudden stops which will damage the treadmill and throw you off causing physical harm.
The same goes for objects piled up on bookshelves overhanging the treadmill, or on a desk, clothes folded on a chair etc. Treadmill vibration noise and bouncing especially on certain floor types can dislodge these objects making them fall on your head or onto the treadmill belt causing you to trip and fall, or again, drop off and get snagged in the belt.
Clutter is your enemy and you need to make sure your workout environment is as free from this as possible.
Never Leave A Treadmill Running Unattended
You should always stop a treadmill before getting off it anyway but it is tempting when life's little distractions like the phone rings or someone knocks at the door, or you kids start fighting to jump off and go investigate without waiting for the machine to stop running. You'll just hop on again afterwards right?
Leaving a treadmill running is probably fine if you live alone but if there are others in the house, like young children and pets then it can be a big hazard. You shouldn't jump on to a moving treadmill when you return anyway as this is another way to get unbalanced and thrown off. Better to start again from a stop and build up to the pace you were originally at.
It's Not Safe To Use A Damaged Treadmill
If your running machine is damaged in some way they don't use it. Not only are you more than likely going to make the problem worse, but you can open yourself up to a major mechanical failure which can cause you to be thrown off and hurt.
Be sure to keep up with your treadmill maintenance and follow the manufacturer guidelines for proper care and maintenance of your fitness machine to keep it running in tip top condition. If a fault does occur, then never use the machine in a damaged state as you could just be opening yourself up for trouble.
Treadmill Safety Advice For Parents
Kids and treadmills are not a good combination. A running machine is a large piece of machinery with moving parts driven by a powerful motor and treadmill injuries to children are commonplace enough to deserve a special mention right off the bat.
Treadmill burns amount for the majority of injuries to children caused by treadmills and can be serious enough to require skin grafts and many painful surgeries to fix. These friction burns are caused by the treadmill running deck which is way to tempting for tiny hands to stay away from. Pediatric hand injuries caused by treadmills are easily avoidable by just keeping your work out time and your children separate. Organise your work out around nap time for younger toddlers or have a partner or family member babysit while you work out. Keeping the treadmill in a separate or locked room is also a good idea.
You can buy treadmills for kids which are brightly colored enclosed mini treadmill units with no danger of trapped fingers or other hazards. These can be great for a daddy or mummy and child work out so you can keep an eye on them whilst you use your machine. Make sure they are facing each other and ensure your child knows they need to stay on their machine and not fool around with yours.
Older children and teenagers will be tempted to use your treadmill too. Youtube will show you countless 'funny' videos of people fooling around on treadmills, falling off, getting flung into walls, doing the treadmill dance etc. Unsupervised children and teens on a treadmill is a recipe for tomfoolery and there are plenty of recorded trips to the emergency room for older children too caused by messing around on a treadmill.
General Treadmill Safety Tips Recap
- Wear The Right Clothing and Footwear
- Keep pets well away from the machine
- Don't let younger children play in the same room when you work out
- Supervise older children
- Don't leave the machine running unattended
- Follow manufacturer guidelines for maintenance and never use a damaged treadmill
- Don't use in a cluttered environment