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Here’s how to use one safely: Treadmills cause thousands of injuries each year.

Treadmills are a popular choice for indoor workouts, but they come with their fair share of risks. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, treadmills cause more injuries than any other exercise equipment, with over 22,000 reported emergency room visits in 2019 alone.

Clark Stevenson, who runs Treadmill Doctor, warns that treadmills can be dangerous, not just for users but also for children and pets at home. A tragic incident involving a Peloton Tread+ machine led to a CPSC warning after a child was killed underneath it.

One particularly worrying aspect is treadmill burns, especially among children. Dana Noffsinger, a nurse practitioner at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, conducted a study on treadmill burns and found them to be more severe than burns from hot stoves. These burns can be deep and difficult to heal, often resulting in long-term hand function issues.

Despite the risks, using a treadmill safely is possible. Experts recommend wearing appropriate clothing and shoes, warming up before starting, and always using the safety key. It’s also important to straddle the belt before starting and maintain a safe distance from the console.

Kyle Firmstone, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, advises against risky behaviors like walking too close to the console or setting the speed too high. He also warns against distractions like talking to others while using the treadmill.

At home, it’s crucial to have enough space behind the treadmill in case of falls. Regular maintenance, such as lubricating the belt and keeping the machine clean, is also essential for safe operation. Additionally, never leave a treadmill running with unattended children or pets nearby.

While there’s no specific age recommendation for treadmill use, Noffsinger suggests that children aged 12 and older can use it safely with supervision. Like any form of exercise, it’s important to start slowly and allow your body to adjust, especially if you’re new to treadmill workouts.

Overall, treadmills offer a convenient way to exercise indoors, but users must be aware of the potential dangers and take necessary precautions to stay safe.

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