How To Stay Safe On A Treadmill? – 15 little-known Safety Tips from Experts

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This article talks about how to stay safe on a treadmill. Treadmills can be harmful if you neglect their safety precautions and if you don’t use them the right way. You can have the best treadmill in the world, but your neglect to follow instructions could make you sustain a life-threatening injury in less than a second.

Most treadmill owners always do their best to keep their exercise equipment away from children and pets at home. Again, most treadmill manufacturers get concerned and advice treadmill users to avoid leaving the key in the machine while not in use.

When choosing a treadmill, safety is one of the most important criteria to consider. There are many safety recommendations you have to follow at home the very moment your treadmill is shipped in. Yet, accidents and untimely death still occur in America. What is definitely wrong?, we’ll find out soon enough.

In US alone, thousands of people have treadmill accidents, some result in serious injuries. Some accidents unfortunately send their victims on a no-return trip to the graveyard. Here, will guide you on are some treadmill safety tips to help reduce treadmill injury.


Can you fall from a treadmill?

Yes, you can. Falling on a treadmill results in numerous accidents. Over 70% of treadmill accidents are because of falls. Many people don’t comprehend they’re not jogging on a solid surface.

The treadmill doesn’t stop running just because you stopped running. The majority of falling off treadmill accidents are because of easy mistakes like missing a step, attempting to board the running belt while it is in motion.

Or even exceeding the speed restriction. There are many funny videos of people who have fallen off the treadmill.

The latest tragic demise of Silicon Valley Government Dave Goldberg after falling off a treadmill and hitting his head has centered new interest on the dangers of the treadmills.



How dangerous are treadmills?

The tragic death of SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg has made people more aware of the dangers of working on a treadmill. According to the news, he was on vacation with his family at a resort in Mexico. He either collapsed or fell off while running on a treadmill, injuring his head. He later died in the hospital.

Based on statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that deaths caused by treadmill use are rare, but injuries are not. In 2014, about 24,000 people were seen in the hospital receiving treatment in emergency rooms. ‘

Also, during the 10 years ending in 2012, reports of over 30 deaths associated with treadmill accidents were compiled by the CPSC (consumer product safety commission). Treadmills are the most popular fitness machines in the U.S and injuries associated with treadmills are the most frequent.

You can hurt yourself on a treadmill by getting distracted due to a cell phone, turning your head to look away from the console, or down at your free while moving. This can cause you to drift to one side and lose your balance.

According to Consumer Reports, some of the most dangerous treadmill accidents at home involve losing your footing and ending up pinned between the machine and a wall. If you fall, the still-spinning treadmill belt can cause serious skin burns. To avoid this danger, make sure that there is free space behind the treadmill and at least 1.5 feet free on either side.

The Demise of Dave Goldberg after falling off a treadmill

Read More: How to fix treadmill belt slipping problem permanently



Some Most Common Treadmill Injuries

US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports show an average of 24,400 treadmill-related injuries occurs in the United States every year. That truly confirms that a treadmill is one of the gym exercise machines that causes the most injuries.

The treadmill’s moving belt can help shed pounds of fat from your waistline, you can get yourself injured. Here are some of the most common treadmill related injuries we have gathered so far.


Foot injuries

While walking or running on a treadmill, you can easily get foot injury, including plantar fasciitis. If your treadmill running deck is well cushioned, you may have a foot-friendly treadmill experience, with every stride you make. Repeated hitting the treadmill track barefoot can develop you bruises, and a friction-heated belt can give you are an excruciatingly painful heel and foot burns.


Knee pains

The ligaments in your knee joint absorb the energy of every foot impact you make on the treadmill belt. Although the impact of placing your foot each time on a running deck is not as high as running down a road pavement, your legs still absorb the shocks of every stride you make.

If you already had a little knee pain, it may get more painful with an overuse of the treadmill. If you consistently pound your treadmill at an incline, it places more strains on your knee joint than walking on a flat treadmill.

Walking and running on the treadmill belt track with a bad posture, and with unnatural stride patterns (like overextending your legs) will probably develop knee problems over time.


Cardiac problems

Cardio HIIT workouts cause the most heart problems when using a treadmill. Just a short burst if high-speed treadmill running, sprinting, and sudden change of incline, drives your heart to beat much faster than walking.

If the treadmill runners have been experiencing heart problems lately, pushing the body to limit may result in heart failure and sudden death.

If you don’t want to get a hospital admission this year, please wear a good heart rate monitor watch to keep a regular check on your heart rate while exercising on the treadmill. If you make a quick glance at your wrist and see how fast your heart is beating, it is time to pause your cardio treadmill workout or to stop completely and take a rest.

The risk of heart attack is more likely for older adults. They will start by experiencing chest pains after few at-home treadmill running. A moderate treadmill exercise like walking or jogging is friendlier on the heart than cardio HIIT exercises.


Hip Pain

Walking, jogging and running on inclined or steep treadmill deck also put some stress on your hips. Most seniors walking on treadmills would likely to complain about this. If the stress is not minimized(wearing cushioned shoes), it would create a great deal of discomfort and pain around your hips after many sessions of your weight loss treadmill workout.


Hard falls

Falling off a treadmill is the most common cause of serious treadmill accidents that make people take a never-return trip to the cemetery. Plenty of the hard falls/falling off treadmill injuries come from missing stepping on the running surface while the treadmill belt is fast moving.

Just your momentary lack of concentration, because you were talking to a friend or manipulating your phone, can cause you to fall and bang your head on the treadmill frame or floor. One of the fall prevention designs on the treadmill are the handrails that act as supports, and for balancing when exercising.

I suggest you should always let your grandmother or any older adult to never use a treadmill without wearing a fall detection watch.




Humorous and Scary Testimonies of falling on treadmill

How To Stay Safe On A Treadmill - avoid high speed running

Have you ever fallen on a treadmill? Did you get an injury or embarrassed? Here are few experiences of falling from a treadmill by some runners.

It was only one misstep and I was on the floor on my butts, and my legs were up in the air. I felt some kind of lovely shade of red, with dark purple bruise around my butt, some on my cheek …” Rashel 

I was in the gym, few years behind with my dad, while on the treadmill, I tried to turn the machine down ,  to make it slow down. Unfortunately, I turned it up. I suddenly banged my head against the treadmill control panel, fell onto the moving treadmill belt and on to the floor. Quite surprised, I quickly stood up, looked around and luckily, no one at the gym had seen it …” –  Bud.

I and my friend look chunky, with chunky butts, so one day we decided to join the little gym in our town. The little fitness center, which looked like an empty office at a chiropractic clinic, was packed with nothing basically more than a weight bench, a treadmill and a nautilus machine. It was the best times we got together, we were laughing, cutting up and telling stories. In one of the funny stories, my friend let go the treadmill handlebar to make a motion with her hands. Guess what happened!, the running treadmill threw her off the ends and smack her hard against the door of the room. As she hit the doorway, she landed on her butts, luckily for her asshole didn’t suffer injuries, and you know what? We just further got into laughing hysterically, and we got it all together. We did tell the receptionist that the treadmill really needed adjusting” –  Marcy.

I have been a “gym rat” for decades now. While I went to exercise just a few weeks ago, a woman near me walked very briskly on a treadmill. Unfortunately, she mis-stepped the running surface. She fell frightfully, with her head towards the rear of the treadmill, and she got ejected out at the back end,… completely off and on to the gym floor. That was frigging hilarious. Although she was embarrassed, she was fine” – Alan

More: How much cardio should i do each day?



How To Stay Safe On A Treadmill?

How To Stay Safe On A Treadmill - dont step on moving treadmill

Head trauma is now very common as you may easily fall and hit your head in case you lose guard for a short duration of time. Often when people fall, their face or head tends to hit the running belt. You should always provide enough clearance space behind the treadmill. This prevents the treadmill from colliding with furniture or with a wall.


1. Look forward

It’s usual for treadmill users to keep an eye on their feet, especially if they’re new to the machine. On a treadmill, people who gaze down or to the side are more likely to lose their balance and fall. Because most people’s feet follow their eyes, looking to the side is likely to induce their feet to go to the side, potentially injuring them.

People who have only used a treadmill a few times frequently complain of dizziness. Users on a treadmill have the sense that the ground is moving while exercising. When getting off a treadmill, an exerciser may feel dizzy at first, therefore, they should hold on to anything until the dizziness passes.


2. Don’t over rely on handrails

 While it’s normal for a walker to utilize the handrails while getting acquainted with a machine’s action, doing so for an extended period can place additional strain on the shoulders and elbows.

It’s also a warning that the speed or incline is too high and has to be reduced to a more comfortable setting. Using handrails can also throw an exerciser’s balance off, increasing their risk of leg and foot injuries.

Because the core muscles are not engaged as they should be when holding on to the rails, the quantity of calories burnt is reduced. Moving your arms freely burns calories and is a more natural action.


3. Start by straddling the deck

When beginning a workout, the runner must straddle the deck and not start the machine with their feet on the belt. Most machines begin at a slow pace despite the setting they were left on when they were last used. This safety feature can malfunction and cause injury to the runner that is expecting a very low starting speed. A runner should always start slowly and increase their speed gradually.


4. Increase either speed or incline

It is difficult to maintain a quick pace while running up a steep hill. Anyone who runs on an inline treadmill should first adjust the incline to a comfortable level before gradually increasing their speed. If runners increase their pace and inclination setting greatly without first adopting, it’s all too simple for them to slip and tumble.


5. Don’t go barefoot

On a treadmill, the moving belt generates heat and friction. Your feet should be protected from these elements. Exercisers who use their treadmill barefoot frequently suffer from burns, blisters, and scratches.

When exercising, everyone should wear properly fitting running shoes to assist absorb the shock of movement and relieve tension on the joints. Feet can easily become snagged where the moving belt meets the machine.

This can result in significant harm. When using a treadmill at the gym, it is important to wear shoes because bare feet can spread fungus and other infections. It is also a health hazard. In some gyms, you won’t be permitted to use some exercise equipment unless you have your shoes on.


6. Don’t step on/off a moving treadmill

 It’s tempting to leave a treadmill running while the user answers the door or goes to the restroom for a few minutes. Anyone in the area should be warned of the dangers of a moving treadmill.

It should always be turned off entirely before leaving the machine. Everyone who uses a treadmill should be aware of where the emergency stop button is placed. So they may rapidly stop the machine if they become hurt or a piece of clothing gets stuck in it.


7. Keep children away

According to the consumer product safety commission, exercise equipment causes appropriately 8,700 documented injuries to children each year. Children should be kept away from cardio machines with moving parts.

It should be kept in a secured place. Children who are fascinated about treadmills often injure their hands and arms by putting their hands on the belt or between the belt and the rest of the machine. Parents should only use treadmills while their kids are being watched by another adult.


8. Leave Plenty of space

Everyone who exercises on a treadmill should try to maintain their balance and use the machine carefully. If an exerciser falls off the treadmill, it’s a good idea to make sure there’s nothing behind it that they could bang their head on. Treadmill belts move swiftly and have a lot of force behind them. Take care not to injure yourself if you fall.


9. Don’t push too hard

Everyone should know their limits when exercising. You should know when to stop and avoid pushing your body hard enough to sustain an injury. Always keep track of your heart rate while exercising.

You should be able to know your target heart rate and try so hard not to exceed 80% of that rate. Serious health issues like stroke and heart attack are likely to occur at 90% or more of the target heart rate. Hence, it is good to keep track of your heart rate while exercising.


10. Avoid big workout dresses

Don’t wear baggy or oversized dresses which may get stock on the treadmill frame. Wear proper tight-fit sports and fitness workout dresses.


11. No dancing, or fancy moves

Remember, you are not a Spiderman or Michael Jackson. With a favorite music streaming from your wrist pot phone, you may start dancing on the running belt. That is being insanely crazy! Don’t take fancy moves because you believe you have mastered the treadmill cardio machine for years.


12. Do Proper Shoe-lacing.

You can step on loosed show lace from the other foot. Make sure to wear cushioned treadmill footwear. Reduce impact by wearing a well-cushioned sport shoes for treadmill.


13. Hold treadmill handlebars if you are older

Use your treadmill hand rails to get more stability and support. This prevents falling. Also know where you keep your treadmill safety keys, all the time. This ensures you safely switch-off the equipment all times.

14. Avoid treadmills with lower weight capacity

The moment you step onto a treadmill that can support your body weight, you are in for a serious harm. The treadmill belt can tear, moto can stall and burn out, the frame can collapse under the load of your weight.

If you weigh 200 lb, you will ne a lot sager walking or running on a 300 lbs treadmill. If you are seriously obese, don’t ride a treadmill machine with users weight limit below 400 pounds.


15. Avoid distractions

  • Avoid talking to friends. Chitchatting with friends and sharing funny vibe can make you regret being distracted on a treadmill. But go to the gym with a friend nowadays and not talk to when exercising? No comment, just discipline yourself!
  • Avoid phone use. Wear a smart watch and pair it with your phone for text checking and other notifications.
  • Don’t look at a wall mounted TV even if they are running your favorite TV show or movie. Rather, you should buy a treadmill with TV screen, iFit, internet, Wi-Fi, attached on your eye-level console. This avoids lots of distractions.

Related: Safety and Benefits of Treadmill Exercises for seniors

How To Stay Safe On A Treadmill - hold the handrails


What safety features do treadmills have?

Due to the many accidents associated with a treadmill, modern treadmills are now equipped with an emergency stop system consisting of a panic button, a tether with a clip, or both. Safety features are proven to reduce accidents when used properly. Some are;

  • Safety key

 A treadmill safety key is a key attached to the front panel of a treadmill through a string at one end and connected to the user on the other end. Its main function is to supply runners with an emergency stop feature as the treadmill stops immediately the key is out of Its place.

  • Safety waist belt

 It is a creatively designed treadmill accessory to prevent exercisers from injuries caused by falling or loss of control. A treadmill safety waist belt is small and light-weighted. It is washable, durable, and portable. It is also non-slippery, double-sided, stretchable. This accessory is easy to install and remove. It is used to support and secure the exerciser at the adjusted preferred distance from the console/handrail. This helps to reduce flying-off injuries.

  • Safety clip or safety stop device

This device helps to stop the treadmill. Treadmills have a safety clip with a red string that attaches to a key in the treadmill. The clip is attached to the runner’s dress. When the user falls, for example, the clip detaches the key from the treadmill and the belt stops. This helps to minimize the user’s likelihood of sustaining an injury.

  • handlebars

People with stability issues would rely heavily of handrails for balance. Handlebsrs are common features in treadmills designed for seniors. Without them, the risk of falling off the deck is high.

Related: The 5 best treadmills for senior walking (Highly recommended)



Effective treadmill child safety tips to parents

How To Stay Safe On A Treadmill - keep children off treadmills or supervise their treadmill exercises

According to statistics from the consumer product safety commission, about 5,500 children over age 5 in 2006 were treated in emergency rooms for treadmill-related injuries.

Most of the children had cuts, bruises, and scrapes mainly on their hands and fingers. One child’s injury required an amputation. 32% of the children had their hands caught in or on the treadmill.

You should take these steps to prevent treadmill accidents in your home:

  1. Do not allow children on or near exercise equipment when it’s in use.
  2. When not using a machine, unplug it or keep it in a locked room.
  3. Do not put furniture near windows, where children could climb up to get vertical blind cords.
  4. Mound cords at least 5 feet above the floor if possible. This way, the kids can’t reach them.
  5. Do not tie loops in a cord. Use a device to tie it to the still.

Read more: Best treadmill under $600



How do you stay safe on a treadmill – summary

  • Give it so much space

Always give at least 2 feet of clearance on either side of a treadmill and 6 feet behind it to avoid falling into a wall.

  • Always use the safety key

In case of a fall, this will additional injuries such as friction burns.

  • Never step off a moving treadmill

Make sure the safety belt stops completely before you descend a treadmill.

  • Straddle the belt when you turn on the treadmill

This prevents you from getting knocked off your feet.

  • Keep your head off

You might lose your balance when you’re looking at your feet.

  • Maintain the machine

You should lubricate the machine’s parts according to the manufacturer’s directions. Make sure you tighten any loose hardware, replace belts, lubricate treadmill moving parts. Also, wipe up any sweat on the handgrips and controls after use.

  • Avoid Distractions

No talking to friends, watching wall mounted TV, using phone while running


Treadmill Shopping


FAQs on how to exercise safely on a treadmill without falling

Do all treadmills have safety clips?

Treadmills are usually equipped with a safety clip or a safety stop device. This will stop the treadmill. Usually, treadmills have a clip with a red string that attaches to a key in the treadmill. This clip should be attached to the runner’s dress.


Is the treadmill a torture device?

The treadmill was invented in England two hundred years ago. It was a prison rehabilitation device. Once used for prison discipline and reformation of juvenile offenders, treadmills were used by gang of prisoners for grinding grains and pumping water at London’s notorious Clerkenwell Prison (closed in 1877). The sweaty, hard labor on treadmill often left the prisoners with shattered experience during their incarceration. I am sure it was meant to cause the confined to suffer and learn from their sweat.

Depending on the way you use it, a treadmill, like other cardio machines, can turn out to produce huge punishment on the user. The infinite sidewalk of a treadmill truly makes it reputable as a torture device. Today, despite their much positive health changing benefits, treadmill has been one of the killer machines involving kids and runners in American homes.


Can children use treadmills?

Yes, they can. Treadmills are more appropriate for teenagers. However, there are few kids’ non-motorized treadmills. This is safer for younger kids. If your child uses a treadmill, ensure to teach them how to use it safely.


How do kids’ treadmills work?

Most kids’ treadmills are non-motorized. The belts only move when the kids stimulate them with their feet. This makes it less difficult to fall off a treadmill in motion which can entangle a child in its running parts.



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