Regardless of how fit you might be, you can still get injured working out. Even something as simple as walking can lead to an injury. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the risk. Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent an injury at the gym.
All workouts should begin with a short warm-up to prepare the body for exercise. Warming up gradually increase your heart rate and helps loosen up stiff joints and muscles. The simplest way to warm-up is to jog or run in place for 5 minutes. You can also jump rope or utilize a cardio machine, such as a treadmill or exercise bike.
Stretching your muscles helps increase their flexibility and lessens the chance that you will pull a muscle when you are working out. The best time to stretch is right after your warm-up, so many people incorporate stretching as part of their warm-up routine. Make sure that you don’t bounce the stretch or push to the point that you are in a lot of pain. Stretching works in small amounts over time.
When beginning a new exercise program, ease into it slowly. Pushing yourself too hard at first can result in an injury that could keep you out of the gym for weeks or even months. As your fitness level increases, you’ll be able to increase the duration and intensity of each exercise, as well as the frequency of your workouts.
Perform the Exercises Correctly
Be sure you understand how an exercise is performed before attempting to do it. Many exercise machines at gyms have a diagram showing how they’re supposed to be used. If it still seems unclear, ask a trainer.
The best course of action is to get a trainer from the very beginning. A good trainer will help you develop good habits from day one, including helping you develop good warm-up and stretching routines. They will also teach you proper form, so you won’t get injured performing your exercises in a sloppy manner.
Check Your Equipment
Before you start using any equipment, make sure that you do a brief check to make sure that it is working properly. While using the equipment, if it gets stuck or something seems to be wrong, stop using it, get off the machine, and report it to the staff. Make sure they fix it or mark it as broken so other people don’t use it. The gym has a responsibility to protect their customers and a malfunctioning or broken machine can cause a lot of damage. You can receive compensation for your injuries and any complications that it causes, but it’s better to avoid that situation in the first place.
Vary Your Workouts
Keep in mind that it is possible to overwork your muscles and it’s best to schedule your workouts with care. Avoid working the same muscles two days in a row with similar movements. A basic example of how to vary your routine would be to do your cardio work on one day, with weights the following day, then swimming on the third day.
If your goals are more focused on resistance training, try a basic split with upper body on one day and lower body the next. There’s nothing wrong with lifting weights on consecutive days, provided you’re not beating up the same muscles that should be resting.
Listen to Your Body
Most importantly, you should always listen to your body. While you should already be incorporating rest days into your schedule, they should not be written in stone. If you’re in more pain than usual, you could very well have an injury. It’s better to take an extra day off than to push yourself and make it worse.
While there’s no way to guarantee that you’ll never get injured, the tips above can make a world of difference. Also remember that if you’re over 50 or new to working out, it’s best to see a doctor before you start. Even the best safety tips can’t help you if you’re not healthy enough for a particular type of program.