4 Things You Should Know About Treadmill Safety

Although treadmills are generally safe, accidents can happen.

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You've likely heard about the tragic death of Dave Goldberg, the Survey Monkey CEO (and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg), who collapsed in the gym at a private villa at the Four Seasons Resort in Punta Mita, Mexico, on Friday.

It's believed that Goldberg fell off a treadmill: The New York Times reported that his brother Robert found him on the floor of the gym with blood around him. He was transported to a hospital where he later died of head trauma and blood loss, according to a spokesman for the local prosecutor's office.

Although treadmills are generally safe, accidents can happen. In 2013, about 24,000 treadmill-related injuries required emergency medical care, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's injury surveillance system. And they are not for children; at-home exercise equipment injured about 20,000 kids under 18 in 2009, the same year Mike Tyson's 4-year-old daughter was killed in a treadmill accident.

Protect yourself with these strategies.

Use the safety catch

Most treadmills have one: a string that attaches you to the treadmill so that, if you fall, the string will bring the machine to a stop. At the very least, know where the kill switch is, so you can press it immediately if you start to slip, says Amie Hoff, a fitness expert in New York City.

Put loose objects in their place

If you have anything on the treadmill, such as a water bottle or an iPod, make sure it's in a stable spot so it doesn't bounce off and make you trip, Hoff says.

Let it go

People who fall tend to panic and grab the handrail while the belt is running, says David Siik, creator of Precision Running for Equinox and a running coach in Los Angeles. That can lead to scrapes and banged-up knees, as well as muscle strain in your arms. Instead, let go and scoot off the back.

Make some space

If you use a treadmill at home, don't cram it into a tight corner, where you'd get more banged up if you fell, Siik says. At the gym, bypass a treadmill that fits right up against a wall.

With additional reporting by the editors of Health.

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