Fitness Treadmills and Static Shocks

Getting Shocked by Using a Fitness Treadmill?

Static related issues are reported more in the winter months than at any other time.  This is due to more people being driven in doors to work out due to cooler weather and the presence of a lower relative humidity.  It’s not a question on “if” a static shock will occur on a treadmill, but is more a question of “when”.  A humidity level lower than 45% coupled with the nature of the moving belt on the treadmill creates the ideal conditions for a static shock.  Static is built up on the user while using the treadmill and then is dispersed onto the piece of fitness equipment.   Not only is a static shock uncomfortable, but it can also wreak havoc on the internal electronics of the fitness treadmill.  Electronics can be affected by charges as low as 500 volts.  Walking across a carpet can generate a discharge as high as 35,000 volts

Most Common Places on a Fitness Treadmill for a Static Shock

  1. Heart Rate Grips
  2. Display
  3. Treadmill Frame
  4. Overlays
  5. Headphone jacks (if equipped)

What can be Done to Avoid Static Shock on a Fitness Treadmill?

  1. Inspect the running belt for excessive wear.  The static dissipation characteristics of the materials used to make the tread belt can be compromised if the belt is worn excessively.
  2. Check the indoor humidity level.  The humidity level should be between 45-65%.  In many commercial locations the humidity level can be manipulated through the heating system.  In a home setting, a humidifier from a local retail store can help the situation.
  3. Clothing choice.  Wool and synthetic fibers such as nylon are great sources of static electricity.  Switching to cotton or other fibers that are less likely to conduct static will be the best choice.
  4. Shoes.  Using shoes with a black carbon rubber are the best choice.  Silicone based soles are not as efficient in dispersing static.
  5. Use of Anti-Static Sprays.  Static guard sprays will help in controling static build-up, but they need to be used in conjunction with other solutions.

In conclusion, cold weather months are ideal conditions for generating static shocks on fitness treadmills.  Static can not only be uncomfortable, but can also affect the electronics of the fitness machine, thus resulting in expensive repairs.  By being aware of some simple conditions can help substantially reduce the risk for a static shock.

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-The Staff at

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