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The Age of the Exertexter


It’s January. It’s that time of year again. The holidays are over, and now the sad reality of how much we ate, drank and made merry is upon us. Consequently, many of us start the new year with diet and exercise plans. While getting in shape is a good New Year’s resolution, be careful to do so safely. Exercise equipment injuries have increased dramatically in recent years; in fact, over 50,000 people are treated in the ER every year for equipment-related incidents. The treatment of children for exercise equipment accidents jumped by more than 35% from 2007-2012. It is estimated that 10,808 children up to age 4 were treated for injuries due to exercise equipment in 2010 alone. A famous example of how dangerous exercise equipment can be for children is the tragic death of Mike Tyson’s four-year-old daughter in 2009 when she was accidentally strangled by the cord connected to the treadmill in his home.

Treadmills are especially hazardous. According to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, treadmills cause more injuries than any other type of exercise equipment. Between 2003-2012, 24,000 injuries and 30 deaths were associated with treadmills. A 2013 University of Washington study found that for adults, the most common injuries on treadmills are sprains and strains. But as the statistics show, there are more serious—and sometimes fatal—accidents. In 2015, David Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died of severe head trauma suffered after slipping from a treadmill.


Experts theorize that part of the increase in injuries on exercise equipment since 2007 may be due to the introduction of the smart phone around that time. (From 2007-2009, injuries on equipment rose from 264,921–459,978 reported people seeking treatment.) Once again, distraction from the task at hand, whether it be driving, walking, biking or working out on exercise equipment leads to accidents. While people like to think they can multi-task, recent cognitive and neurological research into the way the brain processes information indicates that we can really only focus on one task at a time. The increase in pedestrian injuries and fatalities due to pedestrians texting while crossing streets has become such a widespread problem that people who engage in this behavior have a name: "petextrian." Likewise, people using their cell phone to catch up on emails, texts, news, or netflix while exercising on a treadmill have become so ubiquitous that they may soon have their own name: exertexters.

When using exercise equipment, we should be concentrating on using the equipment safely and correctly. To that end, review some safety tips for treadmill use from gym trainers below:


  1. Always use the safety clip that attaches you to the treadmill; it will shut the treadmill off automatically if you stray too far to the end of the belt.
  2. Stop the distractions! Using your cell phone, and even talking to a friend can cause you to lose focus and balance.
  3. Get on and off the treadmill at low speeds.
  4. Do not look down!
  5. And finally: make sure your shoelaces are tied…


If you have suffered an injury while using exercise equipment, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your legal rights.

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Thomas Law Firm
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