The gym is the perfect place to achieve all your fitness goals: to build your muscles, strengthen your bones, lose weight, and lower your risk for chronic diseases. With the available modern equipment and facilities, you will have everything you need to get the right types and number of workouts to have a healthy body.
Getting hurt at a fitness center, therefore, will be the last thing that you want to happen when working out in a commercial or home gym. However, a study shows that several cases of injuries occur in workout facilities every year.
The study further breaks down the primary causes of these injuries in gyms. These are:
- Exercises related to general free weight activities and group workouts or activities
- Crush injuries
- Trips, falls, and awkward landings
Since the likelihood of being hurt at a gym is high, you need to know how to protect yourself from possible injury.
Ensuring safe workouts at the gym
To avoid injury and stay safe and healthy while working out at your favorite commercial fitness center or your home gym, follow the tips below:
1. Get a customized training program
Working out to maintain or improve your health and body isn’t all about exercising on modern gym strength machines and other types of equipment. To be sure you achieve your fitness goals and don’t get hurt while working toward them, follow a training program.
To have the right fitness program, work with a personal trainer or coach. He or she will sit down with you get details about your goals. During this discussion, share any physical difficulties and maladies, including past injuries, you may have.
Taking all these into consideration, your trainer or coach will then select the right exercises and create a comprehensive, personalized workout program for you. It will provide details about the activities you have to do, which equipment to use, and how long to do them so that you can reach your fitness goals without getting hurt.
Aside from helping you select the right exercises, your trainer or coach will also help you move on to the next level of aerobic exertion or workout difficulty safely. You will get plenty of advice that will allow you to progress without getting injured.
2. Work out wearing the right footwear
Although you think last year’s sneakers will go well with your workout outfits and are still comfy to wear, rethink your decision. Different forms of injuries can come from wearing worn-out shoes that do not provide adequate support.
Additionally, certain types of workouts require different kinds of shoes. For instance, running shoes are designed with lithe fabric ideal for straight-line motion. Wearing them when using an elliptical or when taking boxing classes, exercises that require side-to-side bouncing or leg work may cause a rolled ankle.
Before you make going to the gym a routine, visit a specialty store for expert advice on what type of shoes you should wear for your particular fitness program. Or, at the very least, get a pair of cross-trainers – they work well for any kind of workout.
3. Always warm-up before working out
Throwing yourself straight into an intense workout without warming up is an easy way to get injured.
Warming up means doing fast-paced, low-intensity exercises that increase blood flow to the muscles. This pre-workout element elevates the temperature of the involved muscles and, at the same time, decreases blood viscosity and promotes flexibility and mobility.
Because of these, the muscles will be more elastic and pliable, ready for the various physical activities you will be doing. Additionally, they will be less susceptible to injuries such as muscle strains, sprains, and joint injuries.
Take at least five minutes to warm up before your training to help minimize the chance of injury. Don’t forget to add some stretching exercises to increase the elasticity and flexibility of your muscles.
4. Listen to your body
Although you want to achieve your fitness goals in the shortest time possible, do not over-train. If you do, your body’s overall level of strength and conditioning will be affected negatively. Additionally, it will interfere with your muscles’ and nervous system’s ability to recuperate. Because of this, your risk of workout-related injuries will be higher.
To know if you are over-training, listen to your body. If you are experiencing muscle soreness that hasn’t gone away after two or three days, it means that you are working your body way too hard.
Moreover, if you frequently feel a sharp, shooting pain when working out, it means you are already doing your body more harm than good.
In both instances, keep in mind that working through the pain won’t make you stronger; it will get you injured. Step back from working out for a while and allow your body to recover. Consult a health specialist when necessary.
5. Eat well and stay hydrated
Having a healthy diet is crucial to having a healthy, fit body. It is also vital in guaranteeing safe, effective workouts.
The carbohydrates you get from the food and beverages you consume will give you the energy you need to exercise. They will also replenish your body’s glycogen stores to facilitate recovery and prepare it for the next workout.
Additionally, getting enough protein after your workout is also crucial since this nutrient is essential for the repair of the muscles you broke down during exercise.
Make sure you also drink plenty of water before, during, and after working out in the gym to avoid dehydration and feel energized.
6. Schedule regular recovery days
Lastly, aside from taking a break when your body is hurting, you also have to give yourself enough time to recover from your intense workout program even if you are not feeling any soreness.
Giving your body a day or two for recovery will help you see changes that you wouldn’t normally see when working out. Additionally, it will give your muscles enough time to rebuild and grow.
However, you don’t have to simply laze around during these recovery days. During this off-period, focus on getting sufficient hydration, protein, and other nutrients from water and other healthy foods. Get plenty of sleep and do your other self-care rituals as well.
If you want to exercise, do simple, low-intensity ones. Examples of these are mobilization, activation, and muscle release workouts.
Using the right gym fitness equipment will ensure your safety when working out. And whether you exercise at a commercial or home gym, follow the tips above to avoid and minimize injury, and reap the benefits of your workout plan.