Do treadmills have to come with a health warning?

At the recent American College of Sports Medicine Conference in Orlando Florida, one of the speakers in a physical inactivity and health session was challenging why treadmills needs come with a health warning such as: “ See your physician before beginning any exercise program or changing your physical activity or changing your physical activity patterns, you should always consult with your doctor or physician, particularly if you have been inactive, are very overweight, or have or suspect any sort of medical condition that might be worsened with exercise”.


As of today we discuss whether “sitting is the new smoking” in terms of the epidemic of negative health consequences seen from an inactive lifestyle. The Norwegian health authorities has targeted inactivity as the major future health challenge, and as many as 83% of adult Norwegians are far from the daily goal of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity.

Read also: Funny tredmills

An inactive lifestyle is associated with premature disease development and decreased quality of life. In Norway it has been estimated an increase in daily physical activity by 10-15 minutes per day may save 500 000 Nok per year of living, as people live longer in a healthy condition. In sum this is estimated to add up to a saving of 3 million Nok per individual that changes from an inactive to a moderately active lifestyle.

 Read also: High-intensity exercise is shown to be protective against coronary heart disease (CHD)

As inactivity is the major future health challenge and physical activity is safe in the majority of healthy individuals and patient populations it might be time to remove health warnings on treadmills and rather advice people to exercise as inactivity is a greater killer than smoking.

Read also: Exercise or medicines – what to prefere?

Trine Karlsen, researcher at CERG

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