7 Steps to Stay Safe at the Gym

freeweights  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gyms across the country are going to be packed

this week.  It's exciting to see everyones new

enthusiasm and commitment to fitness and health.

However, it is also discouraging to know that for

many this dedication will not last.

 

If you are new to the gym, or haven't paid a visit

in awhile, this is for you. A little know how in the

gym will make you feel more comfortable and

confident.  A few training tips will also make you

less likely to injure yourself.

 

Safety should be your number one concern if you

are in this for the long haul.  Aches, pains, and

injury are one of the leading causes of gym drop

out.

 

So, here are 7 tips to play it safe at the gym

this new year.

 

1. Dress For Success

 

Show up to the gym ready to move safely and

freely.  Most importantly, well fitting athletic

shoes designed for the exercise you will participate

in.

 

Check the soles of your shoes frequently for wear,

as good tread is important to preventing trips and

slips.  Never wear open toe shoes, flip flops, or

sandals to the gym.

 

2. Always Warm Up

 

Despite your motivation to hit it hard, it's a good

idea to slowly ease into each work out.

Dynamically move each muscle group you plan

to exercise to get blood flowing and loosen up the

muscles.

 

Despite how ready you are to run out the door at

the end of your work out, it is just as important to

cool your body down.  This is the time for long

slow stretches that will improve your flexibility

and decrease your chance of injury.

 

3. Progress Slowly

 

You may be eager to see progress or reach your

goals, but it is best to start slow and work your

way up.  Increase your stamina and length or

your workouts gradually to avoid overuse

injuries.

 

When trying a new exercise, initially work on

your form without any weight.  Slowly add

resistance as you are able to do so while

maintaining good form.

 

4. Stay Hydrated

 

When you exercise, your body sweats to maintain

a safe body temperature. However, the loss of

sweat means you are losing hydration.

 

Drinking water before, during, and after your

workout will prevent you from becoming

dehydrated. In addition, proper hydration will

also improve your performance.

 

5. Move Slow and Controlled

 

When lifting weights, do it with good control.

This is safer for beginners and will improve your

strength.  Jerking and swinging movements

take stress from the muscle and create pulling

forces on the joints and tendons, which can lead

to injury.

 

Slow lifts also allow you to breath properly.  This

is essential, because holding your breath while

lifting a heavy weight can rapidly raise your

blood pressure.

 

6. Get Help

 

Many people pick up lifting techniques and form

by mimicking others in the gym.  A person can

put themselves at risk for serious injury if they

don't get proper instruction on the right and

wrong ways to move their body.

 

If you don't know how to perform an exercise or

use a particular piece of equipment, please do not

attempt to figure it out on your own. Ask an

experienced friend to accompany you to the gym,

hire a trainer, or reach out to your physical

therapist for a personalized program.

 

7. Listen to Your Body

 

Your body is really good about “talking” to you.

We all need to be better listeners.

 

One day your body may tell you it's time to push

a little harder. Another day, it may say it needs

a break and you should stop your work for the

day.  Never hurry to finish because you are tired,

or struggle to lift a heavier weight when your

body says it isn't ready.

 

There is a fine line between pushing to your limits

and pushing past them.  A work out buddy or

trainer can be a good guide when you aren't sure

if it's time to push or pull back.

 

Our physical therapists and personal trainers are

happy to answer any questions you have or work

with you one on one to meet your new fitness

goals.  Request a call HERE today!