It’s that time of year when New Year resolutions often involve starting or reviving an exercise program. One very easy way to derail this is to end up getting hurt so here are some tips for injury prevention in the gym.
Listen to your body. There’s a balance between pushing yourself and overdoing things. It’s better to start out doing less and working up rather than doing more and ending up injured. You do want to challenge yourself but it may take some time to figure out what is a challenge vs. what’s too much. Give yourself the time.
Not all exercises are good for everyone. Stay mindful of your body. I’m don’t like to see people doing high impact workouts where you’re jumping around a lot. It puts a long of pressure on your joints and cause damage in the long run. If you have an area that’s been injured, get advice from a qualified person, like a chiropractor, about how to best work that region.
Avoid locking out your joints. A locked joint is one that is in its end range of motion. If you let your arms hang down, there is still some flex in your elbows. If you totally straighten your arm your elbow is now locked. A locked joint is particularly vulnerable because it has no give. So if you’re doing an exercise like a leg press, avoid fully straightening your legs. Same goes for a chest press, avoid fully straightening your arms.
Machine Adjustments. While not everyone uses machines, if you do it is important that it is adjusted correctly. Some machines and weight benches will be too big for a smaller person. If you’re unsure, working with a trainer could be beneficial.
What else should you do at the gym. Using machines isn’t the only way to work-out. Free weights have a lot of benefit. Standing up while doing an exercise will recruit more muscles, particularly core muscles. The more muscles used, the larger the impact. Using body movements without weights can also be good, again with the caution of doing low impact movements. Cardio is another topic for another blog.
Body alignment. If your body is moving properly to begin with, the chances for injury go way down. Seeing a chiropractor can help get you started in the right direction as well as giving advice about what would be good to do and better avoided.
So don’t let injury occur and stop you from actually achieving your goals. Begin in a reasonable way, have your body in the best shape to start, seek good advice and ultimately see the benefits.