Treadmills: Danger to the Careless

CBS news recently featured a report accompanied by an online article which addresses the supposed dangers that treadmills pose to the general public. Among their claims; treadmills are the most dangerous piece of exercise equipment.

The report explains that treadmills are one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment for home use as well as for commercial use in gyms and in health clubs, but then is claims that they are also the most dangerous and that 19,000 emergency room visits are caused by treadmill related injuries every year.

One of the problems with this analysis is that those two facts are shown to be contradicting instead of correlating. The number of treadmill related injuries should be expected to be high as a result of their high usage; it is a major logical fallacy to conclude that the high number of treadmill related injuries is caused by any danger inherent to using a treadmill.

Another fallacy is in the definition of appropriate treadmill use. The main story featured in the article was a woman who was injured while using her treadmill in her home, but during her interview and the recounting of her story, absolutely no emphasis is placed on the fact that she did not follow natural safety procedures while using her treadmill.

This woman was injured after leaving her treadmill running while she was not running on it and then attempting step back onto the treadmill without restarting it. The obvious conflict between a machine that was running as programed and an exerciser who failed to observe warnings on the instruction manual as well as those provided by common sense and a basic grasp of the laws of physics caused this woman to fall and suffer some serious and extensive hand injuries.

As previously stated, when report was made, there was no emphasis on the safety measures that should always be taken when using a treadmill. Instead, there were only negative statistics, graphic personal accounts and illegitimate online videos of similarly humiliated treadmill exercisers.

The biggest flaw in this article is that it spends its energy to kick treadmill use downstairs instead of actually helping consumers by teaching them how to be safe on a treadmill. The only concession to educate the public are statements that one should avoid distractions and remain focused while using a treadmill.

Besides this overly obvious bit of advice, the report from this top news team works to berate a simple piece of exercise equipment.