Consider safety before getting a treadmill

(Consumer Reports) - A home treadmill can be a great way to kick off your resolution to work out more in the New Year. What many people never consider are the dangers associated with them. Roughly 22,000 people end up in the emergency room every year with injuries from treadmill accidents. Safety experts at Consumer Reports say there are some fairly simple but important precautions to take if you’ve got a treadmill in your home.

It’s not a good idea to position a treadmill right up against a wall because if you fall and the treadmill belt continues to turn, you’ll get wedged in between the wall and the treadmill. What you need are a couple of feet on either side of the treadmill and then at least 6 feet behind it. So if you do fall, there’s a space for you to escape.

Never allow kids near a treadmill, even when you’re on it. But the best protection is the safety key. If it’s not inserted in the machine, it just won’t start. And because you don’t want your kids to get hurt around a treadmill, take the safety key out and put it somewhere where they can’t find it.

Other safety tips:

• Straddle the belt until it starts so that you don’t get knocked off your feet.
• Keep your head up while you’re moving. Looking down at your feet can actually throw you off balance.
• Always use the safety clip. It attaches to your workout clothes and if you should fall, the string pulls out the safety key, stopping the moving belt.
• When you’re finished, wait until the belt comes to a complete stop before stepping off.

Consumer Reports also says good maintenance can be another key to safety. Keep the treadmill’s running belt aligned and the deck under the belt properly lubricated, tighten loose hardware, and wipe up any sweat––especially on the hand grips and controls––every time you use it.