Your friends are complete health buffs. They spend most of their days searching for healthy restaurants around the country, looking for the latest diets to try out and strive to eat a healthy balanced meal every day. And now that a new gym has opened around your area, they have persuaded you to come with them and try working out regularly. They won’t stop talking about the benefits exercising at the gym can give you that’s why eventually, you agreed to hit the gym with them. However, you’re hesitant about one thing – this is the first time you’ll be hitting the gym, and you’re scared of being injured while being there. You think that compared to your friends, you’re a newbie in this kind of lifestyle and one wrong move can mean disaster for your health.
Having these worries when you’re about to work out at the gym is normal. This place is basically full of bulky machines, heavy bars, and classes which you’re not even familiar with. But you shouldn’t use that worry and fear to never work out because on the other side of the coin, there are ways you can prevent injuries when you’re hitting the gym for the first time. And you can start by doing the following:
- Talk to your doctor: Even if you’re healthy as a horse, you should always consult your doctor before you start any exercise program. Talking to your doctor before hitting the gym can determine if you’re fit enough or not to exercise and what certain modifications you should have in your routines. Keep in mind that an exercise program is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Your exercise program should be customized based on your limitations and ongoing medical conditions.
- Choose your workout wisely: You should not choose a workout just because your friends have been doing it for months – you can’t expect to jump in to pro mode the moment you step in the gym, right? You should choose a workout which is approved by your doctor, without your health being compromised in the process. If you have arthritis or osteoporosis, don’t choose to enroll yourself in high-impact exercises as doing this might cause more harm than good to your health. Instead, you can do non-impact exercises like using an elliptical exercise machine as this will give your aerobic conditioning without putting too much stress on your joints.
- Learn the proper technique: Never try out any exercises before learning the correct form of such routine in the first place. Sure, lifting a barbell might seem too easy but dropping and picking it up in the wrong way can drastically affect your back. You should take the time to learn techniques on how to properly use the machines and equipment in the gym. Don’t try to work with everything that’s in the gym without even knowing the basics. Stick to a machine which you know how to operate and use properly.
- Get the right gear: Yes, it can be costly on your part but wearing the right gear when you’re at the gym can greatly lessen your risks of being injured. You can start by buying a sturdy pair of sneakers that can provide good arch support and have a cushioned heel to absorb any shock. You should also wear loose, comfortable attire to give you more room to breathe and move. If you see yourself being hooked to the gym after a couple of months, you can eventually invest in more gear such gym gloves and a good pair of headphones.
- Start gradually: Keep in mind that you’re still new to working out so jumping into a new exercise program isn’t really necessary. Don’t start off a contest with your friends as they are already more familiar with the ins and outs of working out at the gym, and their bodies have been able to adjust to the load. As a beginner, you should always start slow. For example, if you’re cycling, you can set the control to the lowest speed and tension and pedal for a few minutes. You can gradually increase the speed and intensity of the bike once you feel that you’re ready for it.
- Warm up: The colder your muscles are, the higher your chances of sustaining injuries in the gym. This is the reason why you should always have a proper warm-up as this can improve blood flow in the working muscles while reducing stiffness and the risk of injury. Your warm-up should be active which means that you should walk or do dynamic stretches such as arm and leg lifts for a minimum of five minutes. You should avoid passive stretches, ones which requires you to assume a position and hold it as this can lead to muscle tears.
- Stay hydrated: Water is vital to the body especially when you’re working out since your body loses the essential fluids you need to get you through the entire exercise program. You’re heavily sweating when you’re working out so you should be able to replace all the fluids that your body is secreting. Before you exercise, you should drink a glass of water and take a few sips for every 15 minutes throughout your routine. Don’t wait after your routine to drink water; you should always have water breaks in between sets.
- Cool down: Once your workout routines are done for the day, don’t immediately run off to the locker room to shower or to change clothes. Before doing those things, you should be able to cool down first. You can finish your workout with a slow walk on a treadmill or a gentle stretch around the gym for a maximum of ten minutes to cool down and maintain flexibility.
- Vary your workout: Everybody begins to love to a certain kind of workout over time. And even if you’ve fallen in love with your yoga sessions, you should alternate it with other programs such as dancing or high-intensity training. The variety will be good for your health as these will work on different muscle groups, prevent boredom and giving your body ample time to recover between sessions. When you’re solely focusing on your legs day in and day out, chances are, muscles in that area will tear and might cause agonizing pain to you.
- Know when to stop: When you’re in pain doing certain routines, stop. Don’t push yourself to the limits as this is one of the most common reasons why you’d end up being injured at the gym. No one is putting pressure on you to do expert routines and workout so you should know when to stop. When your back is aching from lifting a barbell too heavy for your weight, don’t force yourself to do it. You should know what your body can and can’t do.
Fearing for your safety and health is typical when you’re signing yourself up for something new. You might be thinking that doing one thing can lead to serious health risks, instead of benefiting you in the long run. And it’s okay to feel this way, you just have to make sure that the fear doesn’t get the best of you but should instead serve as motivation for you to be smart about everything that you do especially when you’re inside the gym. Along with your carefulness and the tips presented in this article, you can almost guarantee that you’ll be having fun while staying fit during your first time at the gym with your friends! If you do find you’ve had an injury at the gym and it was caused by someone else or faulty equipment, it’s best to seek advice from a lawyer, like the ones here. Good luck with your fitness goals.
About Author – Pauline Griggs
Pauline Griggs is an experienced law and automotive writer currently writing on another large project. Her know-how on the law for more than 10 years has allowed her to insert nuggets of useful wisdom for her readers. Pauline is not just a lawyer, she is also an artist. She loves painting nature when she has free time.