Elliptical Trainer Safety:

Protect What You Really Care About

You’ve spent a lot of time researching and shopping for your elliptical trainer. Now you’re ready to embark on your fitness plan and start seeing a new healthier and slimmer you. But before you take your first strides on your new elliptical trainer, please make sure you’ve covered all of the safety bases. Taking a few easy precautions now will save you a lot of potential aggravation as well as possible heartbreak down the line.

The things we care about in order of priority are our children, ourselves, and our property. Let’s take a look at each in order of importance:

1. Protect your children and your pets -- elliptical trainers have moving parts that are exposed. In particular, the upper body handles, foot rails, and attachments to the drive assembly. The little fingers of a child can become pinched if trapped in any of these parts, especially where the upper body handles attach to the foot rails. No parent wants to confront such an accident to his or her child.

If you are fortunate enough to have set aside a dedicated exercise room you should invest in a locking door and keep it locked while the room is not in use. There may be other equipment in the room such as weights, dumbbells, and even exercise balls that small children should not be left alone with.

Some elliptical trainers come with locking mechanisms that prevent the arms and foot pedals of the trainer from moving. This is a good feature if you have children, but you should still make certain that your kids do not play on the elliptical trainer. People with children know that kids will always find new and imaginative ways to get hurt.

2. Protect yourself -- it goes without saying that we want to get healthier by performing regular exercise. Afterall, that’s why you made the investment in your elliptical trainer. What we tend to forget is that sometimes our body can’t handle the extra demands we place on it.

Get cleared by your doctor before starting an exercise program. Many people think this doesn’t apply to them and instead choose to ignore the warning. Actually, it’s both a warning and good advice. Isn’t it better to have your doctor give you the green light to start an exercise program after performing a check up rather than not knowing your actual physical condition?

The important point to remember is to take things slow when first starting out. Especially if you’ve been inactive for a while. And if you feel at all uncomfortable then stop exercising immediately! Listen to your body. If things don’t feel right, then they probably aren’t!

Maintain your elliptical trainer. Elliptical trainers take a lot of stress and over time the nuts and bolts holding them together will begin to loosen. Once a month check the tightness of all nuts, screws, and bolts and retighten as necessary. Also inspect welds and bolts for any signs of weakness. Either order replacement parts or schedule a repair, either in or out-of-warranty, to replace any worn bolts or welds. Serious injury could result if a foot pedal bolt was to snap or an arm handle was to come loose while exercising.

3. Protect your property -- the good news is that it’s quite easy and inexpensive to prevent damage to your home and your elliptical trainer.

Invest in an exercise equipment mat to place under your elliptical trainer. This will protect the carpet, linoleum, or hardwood flooring you’ve placed your elliptical trainer on. The rubber feet on the base of the machine will leave a black residue on the flooring over time. Many on-line fitness distributors offer mats either at a discount or even free with the purchase of an elliptical trainer. An equipment mat will also help keep dust and carpet fibers off of the moving parts of the elliptical trainer.

After each exercise session be sure to wipe any sweat off the elliptical trainer including the console. Periodically wipe the entire trainer down with a solution of mild dishwashing soap and water.

Another great investment is in an elliptical trainer cover to keep the dust off between workouts. Though a bit more expensive than floor mats, an elliptical trainer cover will also keep pet hair off your elliptical and can also act as a deterrent for children who might want to play on the elliptical trainer.

These basic and inexpensive precautions will make your life with your new elliptical trainer both a safe and rewarding experience.