For most, light exercise or workouts are completely safe. But did you know that in 2012 it was reported that 459,978 people were injured while working out or using exercise equipment? While this may be a rare occurrence, it is important for both beginners and experienced gym rats to know how to keep themselves safe while using equipment at the gym, or exercising at home. Here are a few safety tips:
10 Minute Warm Up & Cool Down
Before and after each workout, you need to stretch appropriately. Getting your muscles loose and warmed up is important to ensure you don’t strain or pull a muscle. You have probably experienced a pulled muscle once or twice in your lifetime, and you know it’s not very fun to recover from. While pulled muscles don’t always need medical attention, they are annoying nonetheless and you want to avoid it as much as possible.
Correctly warming up and cooling down can help relieve soreness and get your muscles ready for an intense or light workout.
For someone who isn’t used to working out on a regular basis, or someone coming back after a longtime of not exercising, start slowly. Don’t overexert your body on the first workout, instead gradually build up your tolerance until you’re more comfortable with a more intense workout. This is important for anyone, even people who workout every single day. Pushing your body to the limit in the first 10 minutes of your workout won’t speed things up, if anything, your body will tire out quicker and it could leave you with some seriously sore muscles the next day.
‘Overuse injuries’ are a thing, and they most commonly happen after training too often or too hard. A few of these injuries include stress fractures, inflamed tendons and ligaments, sore or stiff muscles and joints.
Listen to Your Body
If you’re not feeling well for any reason, you might want to skip your workout for that day. Especially if you’re nauseous, fatigued or feeling lightheaded. Overexerting your body when it’s not 100% is a major cause for injury. If your body feels like it needs a rest, it probably does! Don’t just ignore the signs, listen to what your body is saying to you and give it a rest for a day or two.
Drinking plenty of water is essential before, during and after a workout. You need to keep plenty of fluids in your body to ensure you don’t get dehydrated. If the weather is hot or you’re engaging in a more intense workout than normal, try utilizing fluids that replace electrolytes. This not only keeps you hydrated, but also can help with fatigue. We’ve all heard a hundred times how important it is to stay hydrated, but your body really does need some kind of rejuvenation after working out or exercising.
Choose Correct Apparel
During the hot summer months, you should wear clothing that keeps your body cool. Dri fit shirts, shorts and of course appropriate shoes. Correct foot apparel is especially important for safety reasons. Be sure your footwear has plenty of cushion and traction on the bottom. It is recommended to replace your shoes every 6-12 months, depending on how often you workout. Avoid loose, long or baggy clothing to ensure it doesn’t get caught in anything or trip you up.
These are just a few important safety tips for you to remember while going about your workout. Be sure to read the instructions on any piece of exercise equipment before using. This can help ensure a smooth and safe workout.