Safety In The Gym

For many years now experts have predicted a greater work/life balance with more leisure time and less time in the office. It is difficult to say with any great confidence whether this has actually occurred but fitness is a more prominent part of many people’s lives today. You will often see businesses offering employees cut price gym memberships as part of their employment packages. So, while we are all being encouraged to improve our fitness, which means spending more time at the gym for many people, safety must be paramount.

We will now take a look at simple ways in which you can improve your health and fitness while minimising injuries at the gym.

Medical Checkups

As we get older it can be difficult to appreciate the change we experience in fitness levels, stamina and adrenaline. Obviously, this is not across the board but as we grow older there is a need to appreciate medical conditions which can creep up on us unannounced. We are talking about issues such as diabetes and heart disease which can not only have a material impact upon your everyday life but also your fitness regime.

Many gyms nowadays will require evidence of an annual medical checkup or some kind of confirmation from your doctor that you are fit and well. This is not discrimination in any way but it ensures that any medical conditions, and general levels of fitness, are taken into account when you exercise in the gym. The whole idea of fitness is to finely tune exercises to your requirements – we are not robots and we do have different fitness levels and fitness requirements.

Warming Up And Cooling Down

Whether you are relatively young, middle-aged or in the twilight years of your life, it is important to warm up and cool down before and after exercise. While many younger people might suggest that a warmup and a cooldown are not required, the evidence says otherwise. If you start a strenuous fitness exercise with “cold muscles” you stand a major risk of serious injury. Just like it is better to warm up a car in the morning before pulling away, it is the same for your body.

You’ll also see that many athletes have a cooldown period which gently reduces the adrenaline rush and physical exercise. This is one of the best ways to cool your body, gradually reducing exercise in a controlled manner.

Gradually Increase Your Training

Just as Rome was not built in a day, it is impossible to build a perfect fitness body in a day. If you push your body too far too quickly this will significantly increase the risk of injury. However, if you gradually extend your exercise routine then your body will adapt to the increased level of exercise.

If you focus on strength training it is advisable to start with relatively light weights and low reps. As you become more confident, increase the reps before you increase the weight because this will maximise your body’s strength. When it comes to cardiovascular exercise you should start off at relatively low speeds and then gradually extend your exercise time before you increase your speed. Again, this allows your body to ready itself for higher speeds and greater exertion over time.

Technique Is Everything

Many of us have been there; there is a new fitness machine in the gym and everybody wants to try it. Nobody bothers to look at the instructions, nobody bothers to think about technique and unfortunately some people will get injured. If you start with a good technique from day one, whatever the exercise, then you will reduce the chances of injury. For example, if you run on a treadmill with a bad posture then eventually you will begin to feel the aches and pains. If you lift weights and can feel a distinct strain in your lower back, you could cause yourself some serious damage.

We often underestimate the importance of posture and positioning when doing exercises – until it is too late. So, never be ashamed to take advice off a gym instructor or a personal trainer. It could save you some serious pain in the future!

Personal Trainers

The use of personal trainers is commonplace nowadays whether at the gym, looking to exercise at home or in the open air. Seen by some people as a “waste of money” many fail to appreciate the benefits of a personal trainer both in terms of creating a suitable fitness program and ensuring your safety. There are obviously many websites and phone apps to assist with exercise in the gym but nothing beats somebody watching over you, helping and assisting as well as correcting your errors.

The market for personal trainers is very competitive which has led to a reduction in hourly rates over the years. If you’re really serious about improving your health and fitness then a personal trainer could be one of the best investments you will ever make.

Keeping The Gym Tidy

You would hope that all commercial gyms would be clean and tidy at all times but there will be occasions where the owners/assistants will not have had time to clear up spillages or remove clutter. It is therefore highly advisable to ensure that the immediate vicinity in which you are exercising is clean and tidy. A simple trip, slip or fall in a gym can prove extremely dangerous and in some cases potentially life-threatening.

If a gym owner has been negligent leading to a gym member, visitor or staff member being injured then there may be a case to lodge a gym injury compensation claim.

If you prefer to work out at home then again it is essential that you ensure the area is clear of clutter and danger whether using a treadmill, lifting dumbbells or perhaps you have some heavier fitness machinery. Don’t take any chances – you wouldn’t go to work in a dangerous environment.

Help With Heavy Lifting

Lifting heavy weights is always a challenge and you can almost feel the competitive nature when you walk into a busy gym. Therefore, when lifting heavy weights in a gym it is essential that you have a “spotter” with you who will be able to assist if you drop, slip or have any issues with the weights. We don’t need to paint you a picture of the potential dangers of lifting heavy weights without assistance. It is not nice!

It can also prove helpful to have someone on hand to encourage you and push you within safe limits. Once you have done your bit, you can sit back and switch roles giving them encouragement while helping to maintain a safe environment. The rest will also do you some good!

Working Out With A Gym Partner

If you ask many people about the challenges of fitness both within a gym and externally, motivation can be a problem. Running one, two or 3 miles may prove little of a challenge for you but sometimes the boredom can get you. It can be the same in the gym, going from machine to machine with minimal communication between other gym users can make the time drag.

So, it is advisable to consider a gym partner, somebody with a similar level of fitness and similar goals to you. You can push each other, within safe boundaries, and encourage each other which helps create that competitive edge, getting the adrenaline flowing and the blood pumping. However, don’t make it too competitive!

Read All Health And Safety Guides

If you were to get injured in a gym, or using equipment at home, as a consequence of negligence then there is every chance you could pursue a personal injury claim. It may be that you received the wrong advice from a gym assistant, the equipment you bought to use at home is faulty or the health and safety guides were non-existent. However, the likelihood is that all equipment in a commercial gym will have a user guide and all equipment you buy for use in the home will come with instructions.

If there are user guides and safety instructions with equipment and you fail to abide by these, resulting in an injury, your chances of a successful compensation claim could be significantly reduced. In reality many of us will simply jump on a piece of equipment and start using it without any reference to user guides and safety instructions. This is foolish, especially with heavy equipment in the gym, and can lead to some serious injuries. The health and safety guides are there for a reason!

Report Faults As Soon As Possible

When using a commercial gym if you see some equipment is faulty or perhaps there are issues with the floor, for example, you should make the gym assistants aware as soon as possible. The speedy reporting of faults will likely lead to equipment being withdrawn until it has been fixed. However, at the end of the day, how would you feel if somebody spotted a faulty piece of machinery but failed to report this and you were injured using it at a later date?

Common Sense

While we can walk you through the various health and safety aspects of a commercial gym, or using exercise equipment in the home, much of it comes down to good old-fashioned common sense. You would likely be able to claim compensation for injuries received as a consequence of negligence by the equipment manufacturer and/or a commercial gym. However, equipment is regularly tested and repairs carried out as speedily as possible to avoid such events.

Don’t push yourself too hard, no pain no gain is a myth, and ensure that you at least read the instructions before using equipment for the first time. Unfortunately, many of us are not born experts when it comes to gym equipment, even though we may think differently!

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