Treadmills are often thought of as exercise equipment, which can be used to help a person stay healthy and get into shape.
However, what most people do not realize is that about 24,400 people were sent to the emergency room as a result of a treadmill-related injury last year alone, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Treadmill related injuries range from broken bones, head trauma, and burns to heart attack and death.
While treadmills still do more good for a person’s health than harm, it is important to take steps to avoid injuries before you jump on the treadmill.
Murphy & Prachthauser is a firm of personal injury attorneys in Milwaukee who want to help you and your families stay safe. Personal injury and accidents can happen at anytime, even at home. To help you remember treadmill safety tips, just remember RUN SAFELY.
R - Read warnings on the treadmill.
Most treadmills are equipped with various warnings to users regarding the proper use of the equipment. The warnings are there to help keep users safe. Before trying a new treadmill, the user should take a few seconds to read over the warnings. It can only help keep you safe. If you have been injured on a treadmill, consider product liability and the statute of limitations on personal injury cases.
U - Utilize the safety clip or safety stop device.
Treadmills are usually equipped with a safety clip or a safety stop device, which will stop the treadmill. Usually, treadmills have a clip with a red string that attaches to a key in the treadmill. The clip should be attached to the user’s clothing. In the event the user falls, the clip detaches the key from the treadmill and the belt will stop, minimizing the user’s likelihood of injury. Newer treadmills may even have technology to stop the belt after the treadmill detects when the user’s feet leave the belt.
N - Never allow children near a treadmill.
Numerous injuries reported each year are the result of children being injured by treadmills. Children should not be allowed to use exercise equipment and should never be allowed near treadmills unattended. When an adult is using the treadmill, children should be kept away from the moving belt because burns or other serious injuries may result.
S - Stand on the side panels, not the belt when you start the treadmill.
Treadmills are designed so that the treadmill starts slowly every time and does not begin at a fast pace. However, it is safer to stand on the side rails while you start the treadmill to avoid the possibility that the belt does start at a high speed. Once the belt starts moving, step onto the belt and slowly increase speed. This helps the user catch their footing and gain balance before continuing the workout. Here is some additional information about what you should do if you slip or fall.
A - Avoid distractions.
Using a treadmill is just like driving in the sense that an increase in distractions leads to an increase in the potential for injuries. Between TVs, other people in the gym, music, running apps, and cell phones, there are plenty of distractions in the gym. Being distracted can cause a treadmill user to lose their footing and fall off the treadmill. The safest practice is to set the music before starting the run in order to focus attention on the moving belt.
F - Face forward.
Similar to the last point on avoiding distractions, looking down or to the side can cause users to lose their balance because oftentimes feet move in the direction you are facing. It is also best to avoid walking backward or sideways on treadmills.
E - Exercise within your limits.
Each user should monitor his or her heart rate and avoid increasing heart rate above the target range for each age level. Increasing your heart rate too much can cause serious health risks such as heart attacks. Additionally, increasing the speed or incline too much can be dangerous because you could get an injury, like a strain or pull a muscle. Users should know their limits and can prevent accidents by avoiding pushing too hard on the treadmill. If you do sustain a personal injury as a result of treadmill use, make sure you understand the details of a medical lien.
L - Leave space behind the treadmill.
One common cause of injury on treadmills is when people fall off the back of the treadmill and hit objects located behind the treadmill. If a user falls, they are most likely to fall off the back and the speed of the belt can push a person into another object. Fitness expert Laura Miele-Pasco, Ph.D., has stated that fitness centers must allow at least four feet behind their treadmills because it decreases the likelihood of a major injury during a fall. If you are injured on a treadmill at a fitness facility, consider the 3 questions you should always ask a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer.
Y – You should not work out if you do not feel well.
Working out on a treadmill requires focus, stamina, and hard work. If you are experiencing chest pain or have trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention right away. But, even if you have a cold, you may want to try a different piece of exercise equipment. The belt on a treadmill moves quickly and you should feel healthy before beginning a treadmill workout regime.
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 Aamer Madhani, “Treadmill injuries Send thousands to the ER every year,” USA TODAY (May 5, 2015). http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/05/04/treadmill-emergency-room-injuries-exercise-equipment/26898487/
 Cindy Kuzma, “Stay Safe on the Treadmill,” Runner’s World, (May 13, 2015). http://www.runnersworld.com/newswire/stay-safe-on-the-treadmill