A super-fit mum told today how she was booted out of a gym because of barmy health and safety fears about her dancing – on a TREADMILL.
Karen Lowen was stunned when a member of staff told her she had to stop her unique exercise routine because she might injure herself.
The 48-year-old started working out at the gym in Malvern, Worcs., in December last year to help with her thyroid problems after advice from her doctor.
The mum-of-two started off running on the treadmill but soon realised she enjoyed the workout more if she danced on the machine instead.
But Karen was shocked when a worker at Malvern Splash gym suddenly came over and asked her to stop dancing on the machine on Friday, March 28.
Shockingly, she was even frog-marched from the building after staff said she couldn’t carry on with her routine because of health and safety fears.
Karen blasted the gym for leaving her feeling “embarrassed” and said she used to dance a mixture of Latin, salsa and even disco on the treadmill.
Karen, a tax accountant, said: “People used to come up to me and say they loved what I was doing but I was suddenly stopped by a young girl who worked at the gym one morning.
“I was told I wasn’t walking or running in a prescribed manner. She said ‘we would like to move you to the studio’ which is next to the gym.
“I thought she meant with the treadmill but she said ‘no, just you’.
“She said because of health and safety, I was posing a risk to myself and others.
“I didn’t think there’s any chance of me hurting myself, it’s not as if I was swinging from the handlebars. It’s health and safety gone mad.
“She did ask me to leave because I said that’s all I come for, to use the treadmill.
“She said ‘I will walk down with you’ – the inference to me was that I was being escorted out.
“There was half a dozen people in there and it was awful and embarrassing.”
Karen used to go to Malvern Splash gym three times a week but cancelled her £33-a-month membership after she was banned.
She has now signed up at Malvern Spa, which is around the corner from where she lives with her husband Graham, 43, and son Thomas, 24.
Karen, whose other daughter Emmy, 19, is at Coventry University, added: “I joined Malvern Splash in December but it wasn’t until February that I started to do the dancing.
“I just suddenly decided to dance on it. I’ve been a dancer most of my life, I did ballet from the age of five and Latin and ballroom when I was in my 30s.
“I started dancing on the treadmill and just kept experimenting and I really enjoyed it. I did a bit of Latin, a bit of salsa and a bit of disco. I found it quite easy and fun.
“I just danced to whatever was on at the gym. I varied the speed of the treadmill and did different dances depending on what the song was.
“It never occurred to me I was doing anything outrageously different.
“I went to the Malvern Spa to ask them about it and they said it sounds amazing, we would be more than happy.
“They invited me to do a demo and they loved it and said it’s fine for me to do at their gym.”
A spokesperson from the Malvern Splash management company Everyone Active blamed health and safety for the ban.
They said: “The primary concern is the safety of our customers whilst they are using our facilities.
“In this particular instance we felt that the manoeuvre being performed by Mrs Lowen on the treadmill was putting her at risk of injury so we offered her alternative space in which to perform her activities.
“After declining this offer, we had no choice but to ask Mrs Lowen to stop engaging in this activity whilst on the treadmill.
“We always try to accommodate the different activities that our members want to perform in our leisure centre but feel that, on this occasion, the activity was putting the member at risk of injury and so had to intervene.”
* Treadmill dancing is a growing method of exercising in the US but is largely unknown in Britain
The trend gained popularity in 2006 when American rock band OK Go release a video of them dancing on treadmills to go with the hit ‘Here It Goes Again’.
The video – which was filmed in one take – became a massive hit on YouTube with over 52 million views and won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.