5 Safety Tips for the Gym
Working out in the gym is a great way to stay in shape and have fun. However, the fun can turn sour very quickly if you do not know how to work out safely. The gym is full of equipment and situations where you could get hurt if you are not being careful. You can make being at the gym as safe as a Sunday picnic if you follow simple safety precautions. Here is a look at five tips you can use to stay safe in the gym.
1. Warm up and Cool Down
If you are going to only follow just one of these tips, please make it this one to lower your risk of injury at the gym. You need to make sure that your body is warmed up properly with at least five minutes of stretching to prevent injury. Many people warm up but fail to cool down properly.
The cooldown is just as important as your warmup. The best way to cool down is to slowly decrease intensity the last five minutes of a workout. Then follow that with some stretches. Doing a proper cooldown will help your recovery process and limit your chances of injury.
2. Stay Hydrated
It is crucial that you stay hydrated properly when you exercise. This starts well before you ever step foot in the gym. You should start making sure you are hydrated the night before you go to the gym. Keep drinking plenty of water throughout the day leading up to your workout. When you are at the gym, you need to keep hydrating. You should drink eight ounces of water every 15 minutes while you are working out.
3. Strength Training Safety
More and more people are realizing that strength training is an important component of fitness. You need to make sure that you get in some strength training at the gym, but the weight room is the most dangerous area in the gym. That is obvious just by the clanging sounds of iron you hear, which is why many people stay away.
The keys to lifting weights safely are to know what you are doing and to take things slowly. Start by taking a class or hiring a personal trainer to show you the proper form on your lifts. Lifting with poor form is one of the fastest ways to get injured at the gym.
Also, make sure to never lift more than you are capable of. Even if you think you are capable of the weight, you should always use a spotter for safety. Don’t be afraid to ask strangers in the gym to help spot you. Most will be happy to lend you a hand. You can find more strength training safety tips here
from experts at Harvard Medical School.
4. Don’t Skip the Recovery Process
You have to allow your body time to recover if you want to avoid getting injured. This is especially important if you do a hardcore workout. It is best to take a day off from the gym if you worked out really hard the previous day. Not only does this recovery time help keep you from getting injured, but this is the time when your muscles will grow and your body will improve.
In addition, if you are feeling under the weather or especially fatigued, you are better off skipping your workout that day. Research shows that a hard workout will lead to decreased immune function that can last for up to 24 hours
5. Listen to Your Body
Perhaps the best piece of advice for staying safe at the gym is to listen to your body. Your body will tell you when you are doing things that are too much for it. Make sure to differentiate between pains and aches. It is natural to feel achy from working out, but feeling any kind of sharp or searing pain is a sign of injury. If you ever feel pain like this, make sure to visit a doctor to avoid further injury down the road.
It really isn’t that hard to stay safe at the gym. Most of it is just common sense and paying attention. When you exercise safely, it will allow you to keep coming back to the gym. This is the only way to make sure that you keep moving forward and get in better shape.