This Might Be The Most Dangerous Equipment In The Gym

When we learned how 47-year-old Dave Goldberg (SurveyMonkey executive and the husband of Sheryl Sandberg) died this week, we were shocked: His death has now been officially ruled a consequence of head trauma from falling on a treadmill. As Vocativ points out, treadmills are involved in a shockingly high number of exercise accidents every year. According to USA Today, of the 460,000 people who ended up in the emergency room due to exercise-equipment-related injuries in 2012, about 19,000 of them had treadmills to blame. Luckily, the vast majority of these cases weren't serious. However, a study from 2011 looked at data in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and found that treadmills were responsible for a whopping 66% of those incidents between 2007 and 2011. To put this all in perspective, it's worth noting that many of those treadmill emergencies involve children getting their tiny hands hurt on the running belt. And, more people die from lightening strikes in the U.S. every year than from treadmill mishaps. However, Goldberg's death reminds us that fatal gym accidents are possible — even more so now that we've got our faces in our phones most of the time. So, how can you stay safe? Definitely start by paying attention: Keep your head up and don't overdo it, since feeling lightheaded or having heart issues due to overexertion could contribute to a fall. Also, Consumer Reports reminds us to use the safety key that's found on every treadmill. It clips onto your clothing and, if you fall, it will trigger the machine to come to a safe stop. Oh, and maybe leave the treadmill choreography to the professionals, okay?

More from Fitness

R29 Original Series