Are Treadmills Dangerous?

The safety of treadmills has come into question since the tragic death of Sheryl Sandberg's (Facebook's COO) husband Dave Goldberg.

Treadmills are one of the most popular piece of gym equipment that is used, but it is also one of the most dangerous. You wouldn't think it, as it's a piece of machinery that you simply run on, but people can very easily get carried away. One thing that I have never understood about treadmills, is why on earth they can go so fast. Seriously, who can actually run as fast as a treadmill belt can spin?? Some of them go ridiculously fast. But because the speeds go so high, people almost see it as a challenge, and they try and run faster and faster and end up having an accident. It's similar with cars - some people say "why make a car that goes faster than the national speed limit? if the car can go faster, people will dive faster" (a tad different to treadmills obviously).

Every gym (unless it's a dodgy one) will require someone to have a gym induction before they can use the gym. This is when people are shown how to use the equipment safely - which is obviously a good thing. However, once they do the induction, they are pretty much free to do what they want - the same with driving. You learn to drive a car in a safe and responsible way, but once you pass your test, you can do what you like whether it's safe or not, as nobody is there to stop you at that moment in time.

Injuries in the gym and in sport happen, always have, always will, but some can be prevented. The tragic death of Mr Goldberg has simply highlighted a safety issue with the gym environment. Personally I think there could be more emphasis on what happens if you ignore the 'proper way' of using the gym equipment. Yes, it's fine to tell someone how to use a certain piece of equipment, but by putting a little emphasis on "you can seriously injure yourself if you don't use it in a safe way", can make people aware that severe injury is possible.

You don't want to scare people, but you need to make them aware that they have to be careful. When I started my cricketing career, I always got told by coaches that if I didn't wear all of the equipment I could get seriously injured, if I didn't respect the dangers in the game it, could cause injury and so on. Sport and the gym are similar in the way of potential injuries. Weights are also dangerous if you don't perform exercises properly.

I don't think this tragic accident will put people off of the treadmill, but I think people will think twice about trying to out-run the belt. I personally think that the speed limit of treadmills should be reduced, nobody maxes them out and if people try then the chance of injury (or worse) sky rockets.

RIP Dave Goldberg.

Lee Gregory Fitness 

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