Death by treadmill; are they unsafe or was David Goldberg a rare unfortunate statistic? Here are three ways to safely improve your treadmill experience.
David Goldberg, the COO of Facebook made headlines recently when he died from injuries while working out on a treadmill during his vacation in Mexico. While the circumstances behind his death were thought to be a head injury, overall, treadmills are statistically quite safe.
Many of us have seen the Geico commercial that makes fun of someone who falls off of the treadmill. These types of injuries are actually quite rare, and treadmills have been designed with mechanisms such as a red button and a panic string that shuts them down if you lose your balance or must stop immediately for any reason.
There are some concerns, considering that treadmills are simple machines that will keep a desired pace, regardless of how you are performing, or feeling while on the machine. They are like a metronome, mindlessly keeping the desired pace which can cause problems for some of us.
People who are likely at the most risk and how they can have a better treadmill experience
1. Those who have balance problems
People with balance problems are often having problems with their gait symmetry or the way they walk. To use the treadmill safely, only walk at a speed that allows you be relaxed and balanced. Often, taking a short video of yourself with your phone can be quite an education. For example, if the speed of 3.0 has you walking like a drunken sailor, needing to hang on, slow the treadmill until you are walking normally and unguarded as per the video. Then work up to the speed you want to be at slowly over the next month or so. If you are still having problems with balance, see a good sports chiropractor who is a valuable source of information on whether the problem is neurological (least common) or mechanical (most common). Having expensive tests for a rare neurological problem first is a poor way to solve your problem so see the chiropractor first and let them refer you if necessary,
2. Those who experience back pain after running or walking.
This is a sure sign of problems in the core muscles (muscles surrounding your mid section). If you are having problems in your core, as you walk, you are likely over and under striding (both sides work differently) and then a mirroring of this in the upper back will occur as well. As your body fatigues, you are likely to keep your shoulders stiff which is a way of your body breaking and slowing you down. Unfortunately, the treadmill will continue at its pace as your back and legs tighten resulting in back pain. A good sports chiropractor can place you on a treadmill and show you what is wrong and how you can correct it. Trying to ignore the pain will result in other injuries to the ankles, knees, hips and back.
3. People who are older
In Tom Myers book Anatomy trains, he stated that people who are older move their center of gravity up from the pelvis to the mid to upper back. A low center of gravity is desirable for better balance. One of the reasons is that as we age, our joints are less flexible in general, and if your hip joints are stiff, you will walk more stiffly, causing the upper back to tighten and your balance will suffer. Hip capsule stretches can be quite helpful. Also, if hip capsules are tight, affecting your stride length and gait, it is likely you also have tightness in your shoulder capsules as well. Stretching these before you walk can be quite helpful. Visit our youtube site for some great ideas on how to stretch shoulder and hip capsules. These stretches will also improve your overall flexibility and sense of wellbeing as you age. If you notice that you are stiffer than you realized when trying to stretch, a sports chiropractor can be quite helpful in reducing the stiffness which will improve the way you walk, decrease the possibility of hip joint damage over time and improve your overall balance and the way you can walk on the treadmill.
What do you think? As always, I value your opinions