Quit Kidding Around at the Gym

Andrea Freedman

Recently, I got more than I bargained for while at the gym for my daily workout.

Everything was fine until all of a sudden I was startled when I heard a thud; I turned around and to my horror, saw a boy about twelve years old lying on the floor next to a treadmill he had been on beside his mother.

At first the boy seemed okay; nevertheless, I was flabbergasted when I saw him attempt to jump right back on his treadmill, while it was still moving! Not surprisingly, he fell again, but this time it was much more serious.

I was appalled when I saw his mother continuing on with her workout as if nothing had happened, and that she allowed things to escalate to that point in the first place, when from what I clearly saw, she could have insisted he not jump back on a moving treadmill, thus preventing the accident.

While at first it seemed that the kid was more embarrassed than anything else, and he tried to save face and act like nothing happened, it quickly became apparent that he was not in fact okay. Unfortunately, the boy’s mom did not realize the severity of his injury and allowed him to try to get back on the treadmill yet a third time, taking his word for it that that he was alright, when in reality, the fall had in fact taken its toll on him.

After he fell yet again, and there was clearly something wrong, gym members yelled “Call 911!” as club staff rushed over to attempt to help the boy. I was reminded of a shop teacher I had in junior high school that used to say “That’s an accident looking for a place to happen”. I have seen kids misusing equipment at the gym before, and it reminded me of my teacher’s warnings. I knew that, unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before somebody got hurt.

The quickness of my heart rate and rise in blood pressure had little to do with my workout, but more to do with the shock I felt when I saw a child lying on the floor, his face having changed to a frightening green colour, and his eyes staring blankly.

Gym owners have rules in place, such as no kids under a certain age, unsupervised by his or her parent. Having said that, health club owners can only do so much. It is really up to the parents who bring their kids with them to the gym to keep an eye on them and let them know when they are in harm’s way.

The boy was trying to have some fun, not realizing the danger he was putting himself in; too bad he did not have the guidance that could have saved him, not to mention those of us who witnessed his fall off the treadmill, from such a traumatic experience.

While I applaud young people who are physically fit, as well as their parents for encouraging a healthy lifestyle, kids can get enough exercise by participating in team sports and outdoor activities. They do not need to be in the gym, and what I witnessed the other day is just one example to support that.

The gym is not a place for kids to play. If they are going to be there staff needs to take the time to train them and teach them how to properly use the equipment, and parents have to take the responsibility of supervising their children at their respective health clubs, even if it comes at the expense of their own workouts.

The gym is great, when used properly, but it can be dangerous if not taken seriously. In the blink of an eye, the course of a child’s life can change; knowing that it comes as a result of carelessness and thoughtlessness makes it all the more tragic.

While we can learn a lot from kids, they still need guidance and in some cases, such as in the gym, protection.

I am happy to report that since the incident at my gym, I have heard that the boy involved is in fact going to be okay. Nevertheless, I hope this serves as a valuable lesson to parents: Send the kids back to the playground or soccer field where they belong and let’s make sure the gym is used as a health benefit, rather than a health hazard.♠



Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2015


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on February 27, 2015, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wake up call for the mother, one hopes. How irresponsible!


  2. Very true! I remember when I was on the Treadmill a few years ago, a grandfather brought his young grandson into the Gym and allowed the little boy to hop on the equipment, which he knew nothing about, and I almost said something to themm but have learned to let sleeping dogs lie, and mix out. People who take their workouts seriously, also have a right to do so in peace without worrying about who is there and may kill himself if not supervised properly. I hope some people listen to your article and do the right thing by their children and grandchildren.


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