Treadmill Running Etiquette Rules

Treadmill runners

If you have your own treadmill at home, you don’t have to worry too much about hogging it or wiping it thoroughly after each use. But if you run on a treadmill in a shared space, there are certain etiquette rules (mostly unwritten) that apply. Follow these rules to be a considerate treadmill runner:

Tips for Using a Treadmill at the Gym

1. Don’t go over the posted time limits.  Many gyms have rules about how long you can stay on the treadmills, especially during peak usage times. Some gyms are pretty lax about the rule enforcement and leave it up to gym members to police themselves. Don’t wait for another runner or gym staffer to ask you to adhere to the time limit.  Get off the machine when your time is up. 

2. Wipe down the machine.  Your gym should have wipes or a spray cleaner with paper towels to wipe down the machine when you’re done. Clean the console as well as the handrails.  Even if you didn’t touch them, your sweat may have flown off of you as you were running.

3. But don’t spray other machines.  Speaking of the spray cleaner, be careful that you don’t go overboard and spray it on other machines or runners nearby. A better method is to spray the towel and then wipe the machine, so you don’t have to worry about the spray accidentally hitting someone.

4. Don’t save treadmills.  Want to warm up and stretch a little before you hop on the treadmill?  Well, don’t put a towel or magazine on a treadmill and expect to “hold” it until you’re ready. That’s not fair to other gym members who could be running on it while you’re doing something else.

5. Don’t stare.  You might be curious what pace the guy next to you is running or what gossip magazine the woman in front of you is reading, but it can be a little disconcerting and annoying to another runner if you’re staring at them or their machine. Keep your eyes on your own machine or look out the window (if you’re lucky enough to have one in front of you) or at the television.  And if someone is stalking your treadmill console, put your towel or a magazine over it — hopefully, they’ll take the hint.

6. Don’t run on the squeaky treadmill.  We’ve all jumped on a treadmill at some point only to find out that it’s making an annoying, screeching noise. Don’t torture your fellow gym members by continuing to run on it.  Get off, let a gym employee know the treadmill is not working properly, and then choose another treadmill.

7. Don’t talk on your cell phone while on the treadmill.  Many gyms have "no phone zone" signs near their cardio equipment, but it doesn't always stop treadmill runners or walkers from talking on their phones. It can be really annoying to other runners if they have to be subjected to your conversation. If a call is really that important, step off the treadmill to take it.

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