Like many people, you’ve joined a gym to gain muscle, lose weight or enhance your performance in a particular sport. Whatever the case, you are now exercising regularly and have a consistent regimen you use when working out. But while you’re doing your body a great service to exercise at all, you still have to be cautious of certain hazards in the gym. With that in mind, here are several tips for keeping your workouts safe.
Before you start lifting or using any cardio equipment, it is advisable to warm up for about 10 minutes, according to Harvard Medical School. This gets the blood flowing through your muscles and keeps your joints loose, which can prevent sudden-movement injuries.
Wipe Equipment Down Before Using It
While gyms strive to have everyone wipe equipment down after they work out, it’s also advantageous to do it before commencing a workout. That’s because benches and machines harbor bacteria, fungus and viruses that can make you sick. In fact, a cold virus alone can live on hard surfaces up to a week, according to USA Today, while influenza can survive up to 24 hours. Wiping down equipment will keep you healthy so you don’t miss any workouts.
Use Correct Form
Using correct form when performing curls or military presses can help you prevent injuries. In fact, it’s much better to drop the amount of weight you’re using to ensure correct lifting than to train heavier with bad form. If you are unsure how to perform a certain exercise, ask a trainer to demonstrate the movement.
Get A Spotter When Necessary
If you aren’t training with a workout partner, ask someone to spot you when you need assistance. If you’re maxing out on the bench press, for example, a spotter can prevent you from getting stuck at the bottom of the movement. Then, you’d have to roll the heavy bar off you or drop it to one side to extricate yourself from the awkward position. This can cause serious injuries.
Carry a water bottle to the gym and take periodic drinks when you’re working out. This can prevent dehydration. A rule of thumb is to drink about 17 to 20 ounces of water a couple hours before your workout, according to the University of Michigan Medical School, and seven to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes while exercising.
Don’t Overdo It
If you’re just starting an exercise routine, don’t overdo it the first time out. In fact, never exercise faster or heavier than you can handle. It’s a good way to pull muscles or injure joints.
Listen to Your Body
If certain muscles are a little tight or sore on a particular day, avoid any movements that trigger pain, according to Huffington Post. Substitute a smoother machine movement or skip that body part all together.
Working out can be both fun and rewarding. And if you adhere to these basic principles of safety, you’ll keep yourself healthy. It’ll also make for a longer workout career.