Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Treadmill: Is It A Safe Way To Go?

If you are like millions of Americans, you depend on the treadmill for part of your workout.  I spend time quite often on the treadmill at my gym. Treadmills are the most popular equipment in most fitness facilities.  Many of you have a treadmill at home allowing you to fit exercise into a packed schedule.  While it may seem that hopping on a treadmill is the easiest thing to do, it is not risk free.  According to a recent study from Australia, the most common injury associated with a treadmill is "trip and fall".  If you are not paying attention, it is easy for your toes to get caught and bring you down.  Sometimes "trip and fall" is the result of trying to walk too fast or even walking in a way that a treadmill was not designed such as walking backwards. Accelerations and inclines change the body position and after a certain point of incline, it is important to decrease the speed.  Otherwise "trip and fall"..  The most important part of using a treadmill is learning how to use it safely.  For instance, my treadmill at home has a key insert that allows it to start and stop.  The quickest way to stop is to pull the key. Everything stops.  At my gym treadmills increase in increments of .1 mph, but some can also increase in miles so tapping "6" takes the speed to 6 mph. For some, that might mean "trip and fall".  Walking safely means knowing:

  1. How to start it at a safe speed.
  2. How to stop it for emergency purposes.
  3. Never leave it running to hop off momentarily.  Someone else may decide to hop on an unnoticeable moving belt.
  4. Always wear a real shoe.
A treadmill may be the most popular equipment in the gym but it can be a hazard.
Be safe!

by Betul Sekendiz, M.Sc., Ph.D.  ACSM's HEALTH & FITNESS JOURNAL July/August 2016