You’ve got new shoes, new workout pants, and a shiny new water bottle. You’ve signed on the dotted line and are now officially a member of the gym. Now what? Well, I guess it’s time to step inside and get to it, despite that surge of anxiety that’s swelling up in the pit of your stomach whenever you think about stepping out of the changing rooms.
It’s no wonder you’re worried, as according to a recent survey conducted by Hayward Baker, forty-seven per cent of us Brits have suffered ‘gym-juries’ in our quest to get the perfect body. And, like me, I’m sure that’s one statistic you really don’t want to be a part of!
The most common injury is a sprained ankle in a gym Hayward Baker has found. With back injuries coming in at a close second. 16 per cent have broken a bone after participating in some sort of sport or physical activity. And, rather worryingly, one in ten claims to suffer from chest pain. You can see the full results of the study on the infographic below:
But wait, there is good news. Not everyone has to get injured at the gym. And by following my top tips below, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the body shape you want, while avoiding those nasty gym-juries at the same time. I hope you find them useful.
01. Always warm-up before exercising
You might have noticed on the infographic above that thirty-eight per cent of people who took the survey said they never warm-up before exercising. And boy, does that mean they’re setting themselves up to fail! Warming-up gently prepares the body for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation. This will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. And stretching the muscles prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries. So whether you’re going to be having a kickabout on the football field, or are taking part in a cardio session at the gym, it’s super important to remember to warm-up to decrease the chance of getting yourself an unwanted injury.
02. Learn how to use gym equipment properly
These days, when you sign up to the gym, you’ll usually be given an induction session where you learn how to use all the different pieces of equipment properly. But many people still won’t tell the person giving the lesson if they don’t understand something they’ve been told. And this could lead to them injuring themselves further down the line. So, if there’s something you don’t quite grasp during your induction session, please don’t be frightened to speak up and say so. I’m sure the vast majority of instructors out there would rather go over what they’ve already told you than see you get hurt from trying to figure things out alone.
03. Take your time
In this day and age we all seem to have busy lifestyles, and for many of us, it can be hard enough to find time to hit the gym, let alone give it the concentration it requires. What makes this worse is that we Brits tend to want everything yesterday – especially when it comes to getting that beach body! However, when it comes to working out at the gym, it’s much better to take your time and do things properly than to rush in and end up with multiple gym-juries. Don’t feel the need to try and keep up with everyone else around you. Instead, try to understand that fitness is a lifelong pursuit. The rewards will come gradually, not all at once.
04. Stay hydrated
Super obvious, right? You’ll get hot and sweaty while working out at the gym, and you need water to replenish what you’ve sweated out. Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints, and helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you don’t stay hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level, and you may end up feeling tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other more serious symptoms.
05. Get yourself a gym buddy
Not only will having a gym buddy keep you motivated, but they can also check your form to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for a major injury and step in before it’s too late.
06. Be aware of your surroundings
If you’re like me, you’ll probably like to be ‘in the zone’ when working out. This means your earbuds will be in, your eyes will be focused straight ahead, and you’ll be concentrating on getting the work done. However, not paying attention to what’s going on all around you can be bad news. You don’t want to stub your toe on an errant dumbbell or get kicked in the head by a hanging knee-up because you were too focused on making a beeline for your favourite piece of equipment. Keep your eyes open!
07. Always use a towel
And last but not least is a tip that’s more about general hygiene than preventing an injury. Gyms are notorious places for picking up other people’s germs, and studies have found that both weights and cardio equipment can be transmitters of viruses. So I highly recommend always having a towel with you to put on any equipment you use (and to wipe yourself down with if you’re dripping with sweat) to protect yourself from said germs. These days most gyms have it as a requirement of entry anyway, but you do still see the occasional person making the gym less safe for others.
And there you have it, my top tips for avoiding gym-juries while working out. But if you still manage to get injured, despite taking my advice, make sure you go and check out Hayward Baker’s free to use injury compensation calculator. It will give you a good estimate of how much compensation you could be entitled to following a gym-jury or accident in a leisure facility.
Do you have any other tips to add to my list of ways to avoid gym-juries?
If so, let me know in the comments below.