What a tragic story this week when Dave Goldberg (CEO of Monkey Survey), husband of Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg, died after falling off of a treadmill at a resort in Mexico. There are not many details about what happened, but it does appear he was alone at the time. How ironic it seems that a 48 year old man is engaging in something to keep himself healthy and fit and this devastating thing occurs. It’s just so damn sad.
There have been countless times when I’ve been on a treadmill, especially while doing speed work, that I have thought “Man, if I fell of this thing and slammed into those machines behind me, I’d be toast.” In fact, one day I did get on a treadmill when it was ON and got ricocheted right off of it. I have laughed about this too many times to count, but it actually could have had a horrific ending.
Everything, and I mean everything, has a danger warning these days. It does get a bit ridiculous. It seems there is nothing we can do that doesn’t have some crazy inherent risk to it. I grew up in the age of no seatbelts, helmets or sunscreen (not saying this was a good thing) – but, wow times have changed.
I try not to let fear hold me back from doing things I love. I figure I could just as easily die choking on a grape or getting hit by a texting driver as I could die skydiving or running on a trail where there are mountain lions. If you let fear restrict you, you will never do anything and that is definitely not how I want to live my life.
That said, I am not here to say don’t run in treadmill, but I am here to say, use caution. Here are 8 ways how.
1. Don’t get apathetic while you are running on a treadmill. Stay alert. Be aware of the button you push or the rope you pull should something happen. If you are using a device like a phone or if you are watching TV be extra careful.
2. Try to run on a treadmill when there are others around. At your local gym this is easy to do as there are usually a plentitude of gym rats around. If you go on vacation and are at the fitness center at a time when no one is there, consider picking a different activity, bring a buddy with you or go at a time that might be more crowded. If you run at home on a treadmill, try to pick a time when someone is home and knows what you are up to. Or, at least have your phone within arms reach should something happen.
3. Don’t run at speeds that are so fast that they start to make you feel out of control. Yes there are those very experienced and coordinator runners who can do intervals at 9 or 10 mph, but this is not for everyone. Make sure you always feel in control.
4. If you have kids, always make sure they are supervised when on and around the treadmill. There have been many injuries and deaths to kids that have involved treadmills, especially when the child is under 10 years old.
5. Be sure to run on the middle to the front of the rotating belt. Don’t get too far to the back or you could risk falling off.
6. If you need to get off the treadmill mid-run, pause or stop it. Don’t try to get off while it’s moving. This should be obvious, but you never know. Clearly someone got off the moving treadmill that I stepped onto that one crazy time.
7. If you are new to the treadmill, take time to adjust to speed and inclines. There actually is some coordination involved in using the machine. Think of it as a learning curve for hamsters.
8. Although you might want to stare at your gorgeous new running shoes or take a glance at that beefy guy beside you, do not do so while on the treadmill. Keep your glance forward or you could risk losing balance.
Ever had a scary incident on the treadmill? Aside from what I said above, I once had a custodian person unplug my treadmill at the gym while I was running. Nice way to come to a very abrupt and surprising halt.
Any other safety tips to add?