Top Ten Treadmill Safety Tips

Last Updated on May 24, 2020 by Sam Corbin

how to be safe on a treadmill

Getting on a treadmill seems like a great idea until you get hurt.

This is why it’s important to avoid injury and make sure all precautions are taken. Too many people get hurt because they’re unprepared, reckless, or simply unaware.

This read will list the top ten safety tips to keep in mind before running on a treadmill.

1) Choose the Right Treadmill

A woman runs on the schwinn 830 treadmill

Before doing anything else, please take the time to buy a good treadmill. Bowflex makes our top-rated treadmills of the year, and you can learn more on our review page.

This is the bare minimum!

If you go ahead and purchase the wrong treadmill, it’s far easier to get hurt. Focus on getting a treadmill suited to your needs whether it’s automated or manual.

For example, if you are going to be sprinting, a wider belt is recommended so you have room to move. A thinner belt is going to be harder to stay on and that’s when you end up slipping.

Getting a good machine is half the battle and that’s the best starting point when it comes to treadmill safety.

Bowflex makes very high-quality treadmills, and a are a solid choice if you’re looking for some of the best machines out there.

2) Give Yourself “Landing Room”

Do you have landing room near the treadmill?

Landing room refers to safe spots you can hop to if something goes wrong (i.e. losing balance, feeling ill). It doesn’t matter how conditioned you are, it’s always important to have landing room.

In general, the treadmill should be away from a wall and there should be enough space (on either side) to get off. This will keep you safe and ensure you can jump off if the machine stops working or you lose balance.

The more room you have, the better it is. This is the mindset you need to have!

3) Wear the Safety Clip While Using Treadmill

The safety clip is there for a reason and should be worn as soon as you get started.

This clip is designed to act as a safety net in case you slip or feel ill. If the safety clip is pulled, the machine stops automatically. It’s a simple mechanism and one of the most important features in modern-day treadmills.

There is nothing worse than missing a step and then falling down on a moving treadmill. This is when you are not only going to hurt but will be risking your life too! Don’t ignore the safety clip!

4) Start by Standing on the Side Rails

A woman runs on the nordictrack c 990 treadmill

Modern-day treadmills come with a wide array of features (speeds, incline/decline) and you will want to set them up as soon as you hop on. However, it’s best to keep yourself off of the belt as these settings are established.

For example, if you are looking to set the speed at 5 MPH then keep your feet on the side rails as the belt increases in speed. This will ensure you don’t miss a step and fall down.

There are thousands of examples where people have stood on the belt and fallen because they weren’t ready.

5) Start Slow

nautilus t618 side shot

Always start slow and that goes for any machine in the gym.

Even if you are looking to run at the highest setting, it’s best to start slow and then work your way up to the highest speed. This is good for your body as it will have the time to adjust and gradually work towards sprinting.

If you automatically start sprinting, it increases the likelihood of injury or the machine breaking down.

Treadmills are not like running on grass or on a track. These machines will crank up the speeds and start moving faster than you expect. Be smart and start with slower speeds to let your body get used to the movement.

Whether it’s starting a new cardio program or session, this tip applies to everyone using a treadmill. Keep this in mind at all times.

6) Know the Features

Do you know all of the features?

Each treadmill is going to come with its own set of features whether it has to do with speeds, measurements, incline/decline settings, and various other qualities. It’s great in the long-term but you should know all of them before getting on.

If you don’t, there might be a point where you hit the wrong button and get hurt.

Modern-day treadmills are far more complex than their manual counterparts, which is why you have to do your homework before running.

7) Wear the Right Shoes

A man runs on the Nautilus T618

What type of shoes are you wearing before getting on the treadmill?

It is best to focus on wearing the right shoes (i.e. running shoes) so the bottom of your feet don’t get damaged. A lot of people tend to run on a treadmill and hurt their toes, knees, and ankles unnecessarily.

With the right footwear, you will be able to see better results and progress towards a meaningful solution. This is essential when it comes to feeling secure on the treadmill and knowing it isn’t going to hamper your ability to stay healthy.

Go out and invest in a good pair of running shoes as soon as you can.

8) Test the Machine

Always take the time to test the treadmill because it is still a machine.

This means it can have bugs, mechanical issues, and other problems that come out of nowhere. This happens all the time and it is best to be aware of these things before you hop on.

Imagine getting on a treadmill, hitting a few buttons, and then seeing the belt rip in half under your feet. It is a frightening reality that does happen when you don’t let the machine run for a bit.

Let it work for a few seconds and then start walking/jogging.

9) Keep Kids/Pets Away During Workout

nordictrack treadmill

This is a careless mistake and some people do make it because they’re unaware.

Your kids and/or pets shouldn’t be in the same room as you when the treadmill is on.

This is how they will get hurt and you might not even notice! Kids tend to stick their hands near the belt and that is incredibly hazardous.

Always make sure your kids and/or pets are safe in another room before starting to run. It is better to take time to keep them in a separate room instead of hoping nothing happens.

Accidents can happen at any time and it’s best to stay safe as a parent or pet owner.

Don’t take a chance when you don’t need to!

10) Don’t Rely on the Handrails

It might seem like a good idea to hop on a treadmill and hold the handrails but that’s how you get hurt. If you have to hold onto the handrails then the belt is too small or you’re going too fast.

Proper form requires the hands to be moving alongside your body. If you’re not following this requirement then you will end up getting injured. Go at a speed where the right running form can be used.

This is important when it comes to running on a treadmill.

Final Thoughts

While the treadmill remains the number one cardio machine on the planet, it’s important to remember these tips at all times.

There have been thousands of accidents over the years involving treadmills and that’s unacceptable! Take responsibility and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward with regards to a treadmill-based program.

If you do this, the experience will be a good one and it’s going to be worth your time. Using a treadmill without taking appropriate precautions is a risk no one should have to face.

Be smart and do your research before getting on a treadmill – you can see our top-rated treadmills here.

Read our Elliptical Safety Tips HERE.