Getting in shape can be a difficult task. It takes hard work and commitment in order to see results. One of the most popular ways people try to get healthy is by going to a gym. Under the right circumstances, this can be incredibly beneficial. However, a gym can also be a dangerous place if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you simply go in and start using the equipment without understanding it, or knowing what kind of workout you need, you could end up hurting yourself or others. Here are a few tips for gym safety to get familiar with before you begin your journey to better health.
The Initial Checkup
The first thing you should do before going to the gym is to get a complete physical from your doctor. Let them know that you’re planning to begin a workout regimen, and find out what activities they’d recommend for you.
It’s also important to find out if you have any medical conditions or other problems that would preclude you from doing certain exercises. If you have diabetes, heart problems, asthma, or any number of other health issues, the doctor may advise certain limitations to prevent injury or illness. Continue going for checkups every year, for as long as you visit the gym, to make sure you’re improving your health rather than endangering it.
Warm-up and Cool-down
Have a specific set of stretches that you go through before you start your regular workout routine. If you forget to warm up, your body won’t be prepared for the sudden physical exertion. You can end up pulling a muscle or otherwise injuring yourself. Likewise, if you’re on the treadmill or similar cardio-based machine, start at a slow, easy pace for a few minutes before going up to your regular speed.
The same applies at the end of your workout. Cool down gradually and let your heart rate return to normal, rather than just coming to a sudden stop after vigorous exertion.
Weight and Machine Safety
There are a lot of different machines at the gym that are all operated in different ways. It can be a little daunting if you’re just starting out and don’t know what they’re supposed to do. Don’t just climb onto one of these contraptions and try to figure it out. Ask a staff member to show you. Have them demonstrate the machine and explain exactly what it’s supposed to help and where you’re supposed to feel it. That way, you can be aware if you’re doing something wrong, or using muscles you shouldn’t be.
It’s also essential to be aware of what you’re capable of and understand your limitations. Whether you’re using a machine or simply lifting weights, don’t try to take on too much at once. Before using anything, always check to see how much weight is on it, and readjust it to meet your own needs. Start small and build up gradually over time. Increase the number of reps you’re doing with your current weight level before trying to add more.
Working with a Partner
It’s always better and safer to work out with someone else. If you’re working with weights, you should have a spotter, to keep you from dropping them on yourself or otherwise becoming overwhelmed. But any form of exercise can be safer if you have someone else with you.
You can also help each other make sure you’re breathing correctly, drinking enough fluids, etc. and alert one another to any potential dangers you see. If you’re just starting out, it can be especially helpful to bring someone along who’s more experienced and can make sure you remain motivated and on the right track.
If you have the means, you might even think about hiring a personal trainer. Not only can they make sure you’re always working out safely and using the equipment correctly, they can help you design a workout routine that specifically meets your needs and can help you reach your goals.
Whether you have a paid membership at a fully equipped fitness center, or just use the tiny gym in your apartment complex on weekends, your foremost concern is to be safe. By exercising proper gym safety at all times, you can ensure a healthier and rewarding experience.