Avoiding Injury | Hidden Dangers in the Gym
[Article kindly provided by a Guest]
Canandaigua Chiropractic agrees with everything said in this article, which is provided by a guest blogger. ~ As the sun finally emerges this spring you realize you can no longer put off that exercise routine you have been thinking about by claiming it is too cold to exercise. Soon it will be summer and you will have no excuse for hiding indoors with your favorite book watching the rain fall.
As a smart and enthusiastic person you realize that healthy eating needs to come with a healthy lifestyle as well. Determined to get in shape you know that your house offers too many distractions so you head to the gym to get in shape. Yet, if you are not careful you could end up with an injury. Here are a few tips for staying safe in the gym.
Two of the most common causes for injuries in gyms are over-training and training incorrectly. Chances are you have not written a book about exercise, and even if you have, you probably do not know everything about the exercises you are about to do. The form and technique for doing each exercise properly is just as important as doing the exercise in the first place.
Take the time to make sure you have the correct form and you can save yourself needless pain. So, if you have just started going to a new gym, or it has just been some time since your last visit, it is probably sensible to sign up for an introductory session. Not only does this allow you to meet the staff and brush up on your form it introduces you to all that new complicated gym equipment.
You may already know what type of shoes to wear and how to do many of the simple exercises, but there are always new machines. Not every machine will work the way you expect it to and learning the quirks before you start saves you time, possible embarrassment, and potential injury. Say you had not taken the time to familiarize yourself with the new gym equipment and just hopped onto the treadmill.
At the end of your run, tired and getting wobbly you might have realized you did not know where the stop button was on this treadmill. You could be forced to push a bunch of buttons in hopes of stopping or jumping off the treadmill risking a sprained ankle or a head injury. This would have been a truly unfortunate start to your exercise program. Luckily you can avoid this trouble and injury with a simple introductory course to your gym.
Confusing gym equipment aside, you are always at risk of over-training. It is easy to bring a bit too much enthusiasm into your new routine. In the excitement of getting started or possibly just with wishful thinking you can overestimate the level of weights you should be lifting. Always start low and work higher. You can always add more weight if it is too easy for you.
But you do not want to overreach from the start and risk a muscle strain or tear. Stretching also helps to ease your muscles into the exercises you are about to do. Remember fitness is about a new lifestyle and it takes time. You cannot achieve your goals overnight and it is not a competition either with other gym-goers or yourself. Listen to your body and muscles. If an exercise hurts do not continue doing it. Paying attention to your body and not over-training can help you avoid unnecessary injuries.
Paying attention to the proper technique for your exercises, and especially new and unfamiliar ones will help prevent injuries. Many injuries are caused by improper form for simple exercises. Squats and lunges, for instance, are easy to do but you must remember to keep your knees from passing over your toes. This will save your knees from stress and damage.
If you take each exercise slowly paying attention to form you will have less chance of sustaining an injury. For free weights you need to make sure you start with a very low weight. Form is much more important for free weight exercises and more difficult to do properly with heavy weights. For instance, if you cannot do a lateral or front raise without locking out your elbows, then your weights are too heavy. Deciding to push through anyway will not make you stronger it puts you at risk for muscle tears.
Make sure that your schedule does not ruin your form. Even if you do not have much time you still need to stretch properly. If you are stressed, or in a rush, you need to consciously slow down to do the exercises properly. Do fewer repetitions rather than more in less time to leave early. You will only hurt your joints and risk muscle strain that will keep you away from your exercise routine for weeks.
Check the qualifications of the gym’s staff as well as their instructors. An introductory session would be the perfect time to do this. Well qualified staff members will be able to give you tips on form and ways to prevent injury. You can also check for staff members trained in first aid. You never know when you might need to help the person next to you or run to find the right staff member at the gym. Asking the important questions is one easy way to help keep you safe and injury free during your gym experience.
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