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Treadmill safety Tips for Elderly

Treadmill Safety Tips:

Although a treadmill is safer and more convenient than walking and running outdoors, it will still be dangerous to use if it hasn’t been designed and built with safety in mind. Even if you have a manual treadmill, there are still things that can go wrong if you aren’t careful.

Yes, you might have just bought your treadmill and you can’t wait to start exercising, but take the time to read the user guide. Familiarize yourself with all the controls, especially the emergency stop button. Especially, look at the safety tips that you’ll find in the user guide and understand them before starting to exercise. Things to consider include


Seniors often have problems with stability, especially when running. Ensure the treadmill has suitable and easily manipulated speed controls as well as a speed limiter, so it doesn’t go too fast for the senior to cope with.

Safety Cut-out

To avoid injury if a senior falls or has problems, ensure the treadmill has both a safety key and a hand-operated safety cut-out button to automatically stop the motor.


Have handles or safety bars long enough to prevent falling to the side.  However, don’t rely too much on them for support. Continually holding handles will keep your arms stationary, leading to bad posture and strains in elbows and shoulders.

Cushioned Deck

Even though walking is a low impact exercise, knee and hip joints suffer stress during use. A cushioned deck will help reduce the impact and make running more enjoyable.

RELATED: How to prevent knee pain?

Use Proper Equipment

Never run barefoot on a treadmill. You must wear good quality running shoes to protect your feet from the effects of friction and heat. Running shoes will also help to absorb shock through the feet and reduce impact stress on your joints. Furthermore, your bare feet might become caught along the sides of the moving belt, leading to a serious injury.

Look Forward

Never look down at your feet or to the side while running on the treadmill. It’s easier to keep your balance if you fix your eyes on an imaginary horizon directly in front of you.


For best results, adjust the treadmill’s incline first, followed by the speed. Start slowly and gradually speed up to warm your muscles and get your body used to the rhythmic movement.

Always run at a comfortable speed and never run at the treadmill’s maximum limit, even if you can keep up with it. Seniors might want to exercise at a variety of speeds, but the recommended speeds are as follows. 2 mph is a good walking speed, 3 mph is a fast walk and over 4 mph is a run.

Try to exercise at a constant speed as much as possible.

Don’t Exercise Too Much

Although you might want to stay on your treadmill as much as you can, you shouldn’t walk or jog more than about 30 minutes a day and don’t exercise more than three times a week. This gives your body time to heal from any minor strains and gives your heart time to recuperate. An important part of exercising is the rest and recuperation period in between sessions. Make the most of them.

Don’t step Off a Moving Treadmill

Anyone can be easily distracted while running or walking, and instinctively attempt to stop moving or step off the moving surface. If you’re a senior, you should never attempt to stop suddenly or step off the belt. Both activities are very dangerous. Always slow the treadmill at a comfortable rate until it stops.

Leave Plenty of Space

Even if you are an experienced treadmill runner, there are times when your concentration lapses and you stumble. You’ll then be thrown backward off the treadmill. You must make sure there is enough clear space behind the treadmill to avoid injury. If you are particularly unstable, hold onto the stabilizer bar at all times.

Keep the Treadmill safe from Kids

Although we all love to watch our grandchildren play, treadmills aren’t a safe place for little ones. Turn off the machine properly and lock the platform so little fingers can’t get trapped. Finally, store it in a safe place away from children.

What type of Treadmill Should Seniors use?

There are many treadmills available for use by a senior, and the type you choose depends on several factors.


Buy the best one you can afford. Although exercise is very important for seniors, and a treadmill allows you to walk or jog in the safety of your own home, at a controlled rate and in all types of weather, you shouldn’t buy one if you can’t afford it. After all, you could walk or jog in your garden or around the block, for free.

Small Folding Treadmill

Most seniors haven’t enough space at home to devote a room to the exercise equipment. And, the living room doesn’t look very good if you have a permanently assembled treadmill standing in the corner. So, if you’ve limited space, choose one that will fold down and fit under a bed. Alternatively, if you have a garage, consider setting up a home gym in there.

Walking Treadmills

Seniors usually have problems with gripping, accessibility, and falling. Address these problems and you have an ideal stable treadmill designed specifically for a senior, no matter how incapacitated they are.

You can choose from a range of treadmills that have long handled support bars, side safety bars, safety speed controls, emergency power cut-outs, and cushioned decks for low impact jogging and to cushion a fall.

Manual Treadmill

Buying one of these is probably the cheapest and safest treadmill of them all. There is no power source except for our legs. They are just an endless belt that moves as a reaction to the senior’s walking speed.

It will automatically stop if the user stops walking or falls over. And, it will never go faster than you can manage. It is lighter to carry than a powered one as there is no heavy electric motor and it will easily store away until needed.

What’s next?

Physical activity is important but never forget about your safety, hopefully, you got some useful information to ensure safety while running on your treadmill. If you are a senior runner be sure to check my running tips. If you prefer cycling here are also cycling tips. Also, check this guide to low impact exercises.

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